When I was a little boy,
before I became a teacher,
I pronounced “vegetable” different.
I pronounced it: veh-JEH-tay-bleh.
I didn’t realize my second-grade classmates giggling
were giggling at me. But Mrs. Smith did.
She asked me about my pronunciation.
I told her it was the second E that got me.
The second E got you what, she asked.
Well, the first and third Es are heard, I said,
So that second E should be heard too.
Mrs. Smith then asked me if I had siblings.
I have two sisters, I told her.
Older or younger? She asked.
One older, one younger, I said.
She hugged me.
Don’t worry, she said,
you’ll be heard one day.
I didn’t know what she meant then,
I just knew I wanted to be a teacher.