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I Just Want to Teach

I Just Want to Teach

Nova Scotian Teacher Song,

an open letter in song, to the Liberal Government of Nova Scotia from

Trevor Dimoff, NSTU music teacher

This song is from my perspective as a teacher, but it is for every teacher.


I originally thought to release this song anonymously…

I don’t feel safe speaking up. Ever teacher knows how vulnerable we are to threats and accusations, and how difficult it is to respond to complaints in a professional manner when someone else feels unconstrained by courtesy or manners… Either you ignore it and continue on, or you attempt to address it,


I consulted with NSTU staff before releasing “I Just Want to Teach” and they asked me to perform the song at a teachers’ rally at the Provincial Legislature on December 5th. Hearing several hundred teachers singing the refrain “I Just Want to Teach” back to me convinced me to release the song.


If you don’t live in Nova Scotia, you might not know that Nova Scotia public school teachers have rejected two tentative contracts, in 2015 and 2016 and this fall, 96% of teachers voted for strike action. I hesitate to describe it further, because if you haven’t been following along… you wouldn’t believe half of what has been going on….


“I Just Want to Teach” begins with the chorus, my personal expectations for a settlement: sustainable education and respectful dialogue. As a career where many teachers continue to retirement, it is troubling when the value of my annual salary is eroding every year until I retire. A “cost of living raise” is the minimum starting point for a sustainable education system.


The first verse is my response to the negative popular culture stereotype of “lazy teacher who gets paid plenty enough.” The second verse includes what I teach, besides curriculum, for successful students… and why teachers aren’t fooled. In the bridge I discuss the rights of both teachers and students that have been set aside.



Read the complete lyrics below:






Click to hear another protest song



I Just Want to Teach

by Trevor Dimoff, 2016



It isn’t much to ask, as a teacher I expect:

Cost of living raise, treat me with respect.

Can’t improve my classroom with PR campaigns.

In my professional opinion: you haven’t made the grade!

Education minister, your attention please:

I Just Want to Teach!

I Just Want to Teach!


Verse 1:

Dear education minister, where do I begin?

I’m a teacher, I’ve watched the system break down from within.

I get homework every day, I give it to myself.

Some call it teacher’s guilt, but I call it overwork.

Education minister, a little help please:

I Just Want to Teach!

I Just Want to Teach!




Verse 2:

I stand up to bullies, protect the weak.  

Arbitrate disputes and then take the heat.

I teach Community, Inclusion, Diversity;

Higher order thinking, and how to know the truth!

Miss Education Minister, if you please,

I Just Want to Teach!

I Just Want to Teach!





I have the right to assemble, the right to unionize,

The right to strike to protect my charter rights, 

The right to an education, the right to open schools.

Legislate my contract… and I’ll work to the rules….





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Comment below, how can music create positive change?


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© Trevor Dimoff,, 2019