To Dr. Chris Emdin With Love

Dr. Chris believes in connecting with kids.
To him teaching is not about graphs and grids.
It's knowing that each child has a soul and a heart.
It's knowing that each has a capacity for science and art.
Students need to believe school has meaning for them.
That's how Dr. Emdin teaches STEM.
He loves who kids are; he meets them there.
He doesn't care how they talk or what they wear.
He doesn't see them as losers who won't come through
But as the ultimate example of "I can do."
Give them an investment; show them they matter.
All myths and stats about their background shatter.
With love and passion for who they are,
Nothing will stop each from becoming a star.
First, as a teacher, Dr. Chris does no harm.
He consistently works at lowering alarm
That school for their culture has no space,
That school is only "the Man's place."
Instead he allows them their classroom to own,
To make it a place each can call home.
He structures class so they teach each other,
Realizing that one learns best from a sister or brother.
Kids can teach kids as no one else can;
Dr. Chris allows them to teach and lesson plan.
Matter of fact, for him, there is no "them" and "us."
From beginning to end, "we" is a must.
He listens and hears when kids tell him he's wrong;
He changes and fine tunes so he's playing their song.
A testament to the fineness of Dr. Emdin's work,
A testament to the fact that he is STEM's DJ Cool Herc,
Is the story of a girl who hadn't seen her dad for years,
An absence that left its trail of tears.
Suddenly, one day, the girl got a call.
Her dad said, "We're going to Disney; we'll have a ball."
The girl called back and said "Sorry, thank you but no.
The fact is that I really can't go.
That you bothered to call is definitely dope.
But  on Friday I give out microscopes.
I need to be there in chemistry class. 
It's not about whether I fail or pass.
They need me; they count on me; I have to put them first.
They believe in me whether I'm at my best or my worst.
I have a belonging here that is deep and true.
For these folks, I just have to come through."
Dr. Chris Emdin lives his faith.
He really believes a mind is not to waste.
He knows if you love kids and are willing to be real,
There is no end to the joy you easily feel.
When learning together is truly your goal
And it is not about establishing social control,
When you are not simply training workers to obey,
But allowing brilliant minds to find their own way,
The rhetoric changes from "Sit down; stand straight; oh no, again you're late"
To "We all need to collaborate,"
To "I know your music; I love your smiles.
Together we will be able to walk miles."
So, Dr. Chris, thank you for illustrating how it's done.
Thank you for showing us that utopia includes everyone. 

—Ronnie Inda, Madison, WI