Poems for Teachers

Poems for Teachers

Newly-qualified teachers in 2018 and 2019 will be welcomed with a gift that lets them know they are not alone, whatever challenges they meet. 

To Learn the Future: Poems for teachers is a pocket-sized book of poems to help teachers' wellbeing. It will be given to all teachers starting their first teaching year in Scotland – and will speak to teachers everywhere.

Image of graduating doctor (c) University of Dundee

To Learn the Future: Poems for teachers is edited by teachers, published not-for-profit by the Scottish Poetry Library, and supported by professional organisations across the Scottish education sector, including significant support from the General Teaching Council of Scotland and the Educational Institute of Scotland, as well as AHDS, NASUWT and SSTA. Copies on sale from 14 August 2018, from the Scottish Poetry Library.

The anthology is English-language, with Scots and Scottish Gaelic represented; there are also poems from North America and Australia, and translations from Polish, Czech, and Farsi-Dari. Experience ranges from trying to understand what it’s like not to understand maths, to being an LGBTQI teacher, to living with one language and identity at home and another at school; from starting teaching to leaving teaching to going back in with renewed energy every day. Renowned poets like Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Roger McGough and Allan Ahlberg are joined by international voices including Miroslav Holub, Wyslawa Szymborska, Billy Collins and Partaw Naderi. The Foreword is by the Scottish Makar, Jackie Kay.

Here’s a reminder of the integrity, passion and commitment that inspires people to become teachers, and the wealth of experience and voices in classrooms and staffrooms. With these poems to hand, for the good days and the tough moments, no teacher is ever alone.

GTCS Teaching Scotland interview about the book

The backstory: Tools of the Trade for graduating doctors

Since 2014, the Scottish Poetry Library has worked with doctors to produce a similar book of poems for all new doctors graduating from Scottish medical schools. ‘I felt that the book motivated me to go into the wards and do a good job for the patients every day,’ wrote one new doctor, ‘but I also got some comfort in the poems that my challenges are not unique and there is a great support network within the profession.’   

He also thought the poems were ‘short enough to enjoy during a hectic period of graduates’ lives or during a coffee break at work’ – and that’s exactly what we want for this book for teachers, offering something both readable and resonant to help reflect on experience and sustain teachers throughout their careers.

Our Partners

To Learn the Future is published not-for-profit by the Scottish Poetry Library, and supported by professional organisations across the Scottish education sector, including significant support from the General Teaching Council of Scotland and the Educational Institute of Scotland, as well as AHDS, NASUWT and SSTA. Their support will help give these books free to all teacher training graduates in Scotland in 2018. 

"In supporting the project, we hope that the little book will not only accompany teachers throughout their careers, but also hope that the content will help maintain and sustain them during the highs and lows, the best of times and the worst of times of one of the best jobs in the world."

Ellen Doherty, Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning, General Teaching Council of Scotland

"Teaching is an exhausting and hectic career; it’s essential to be able to step back and breathe from time to time. This anthology of poems invites you to take 5 every so often by dipping into its contents and enjoying some reflections on the madness and majesty of the profession you have chosen. It’s safe to inhale."

Larry Flanagan, General Secretary, EIS

"This book of poetry is a fitting welcome to all new teachers entering a wonderful and fulfilling profession. Despite the occasional frustrations in teaching the rewards are immense and the insights contained in the poetry will help to sustain them and make a contribution to young people for generations to come.”

Seamus Searson, General Secretary, SSTA

GTCS  |  EIS  |  AHDS  |  NASUWT  |  SSTA