Monday, September 7, 2009


It’s the first day of school, and I can hardly wait
To meet my teachers for the year.
I wonder if they’ve heard what I was like before,
What kind of stories did they hear?

'Cuz I’ve had a lot of problems
With some of my teachers in the past.
But this is gonna be a great year.
At least I hope it is at last!

And when I finally meet my teachers,
When that school bell rings today
I’m gonna ask them just one question
And I wonder what they’ll say...

“Teacher, tell me what you see...
Won’t you tell me what you see?
Teacher, tell me what you see ... in me !”

What You See
Lyrics/Music by Jerry Mills, reprinted with permission
©1993 Jerry Mills / ASCAP
From the CD Urgent Reply

Okay, are you crying? That song always chokes me up. I admit, my iPod is generally populated with Beck and Broadway musicals, but Jerry Mills' meaningful music has made its way into my heart. I met Jerry this past spring at the New York State Reading Association conference where he gave the moving keynote, "Don't Doubt the Dream." He's an incredible speaker, don't miss him if you get the chance, or invite him to your school!

"What You See" is a fresh alternative to Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All," which seems to be the reigning anthem of Chicago Public School teachers (though I still think Whitney might win as a choice for teachers at karaoke bars). I also love the PS 22 version of the Velvet Underground's "I'll Be Your Mirror," and the Langley School Project's Innocence and Despair is as necessary to a teacher's CD collection as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is to...I don't know, whoever listens to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

What songs are on your teacher playlist? And what do you see when you look out upon your classroom?

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