My mother told me many times while I was growing up
“You can be anything–a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut–
Just don’t be a teacher.”

My mother gives good advice, so I tried.
I didn’t get my degree in education, but in English.
I didn’t go to work at a school or a daycare.

I went to Los Angeles instead.
I tried the office job with the boss who didn’t do hers
and expected me to falsify records.

When they needed someone to go to camp
with kids who had never been out of the city,
I packed my bags and got on the bus,
and remembered why I loved working with kids.

Then, despite my mother’s advice,
I quit the job I hated and
I became a teacher.