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Teaching Poetry

April is National Poetry Month (and Library Month!) and this year I kicked off my rockin' poetry unit on April 1st. YAY! In honor of the wonderful student writing I've seen in just two short days, I wrote a poem to capture the joy I feel in knowing I've helped them on their journey of discovery as writers.

On Being an English Teacher

Mostly I feel as if

Teaching were my destiny.

It’s pulled me since I sat my brothers

In bright plastic chairs

(one blue, one red),

handed each a paper and pen,

and ordered them to write.

Now my style is more circumspect.


I guide students down paths

they might not have taken,

lead them to unknown sweet waters

to drink long and deeply.

We linger in places

where we’d be uncomfortable…

if we were alone.

But we travel together.


Each exploration with writing

helps them discover

who they are or might become.

I make writing real,

give them an audience,

teach them the joy of creation.


I still hand out paper and

Supply many pencils, but

the blue chairs in my room are

not always occupied.

They write on the floor, standing, or

gathered in groups.

We roam the building, trek outside,

discovering together.

Their words are stapled on boards,
bound into books, taped to walls,
stuffed into lockers, pressed into palms,
posted to blogs, and read aloud.
They see how they impact, provoke,
change, reach, and touch.
Powerful things, these written words...
Original creations. Just like them.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the beautiful picture!
Apr. 4th, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it...that means so much coming from a skilled poet like you!
Apr. 4th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
Now my style is more circumspect. Great line. And probably good news for your students.
Apr. 6th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
Ha! I'm sure my students are glad I'm a TAD less bossy than I used to be! (That is one of the lines I particularly like, too.)
Apr. 4th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
That is a wonderful poem. Wish I'd had a teacher like you. In my day it was grammar and facts...
Apr. 6th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
Thanks, Patty! I had some of those teachers, too. Fortunately, I had a few who were more progressive and taught me to love the written & spoken word. I am thankful for my career each day!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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