My Shenanigans in Classroom Poetry
Years ago, in another life long LONG ago, I taught middle school writing. I would often write along with my students, and sometimes even share some of the pieces. This is one I wrote to use in our Poetry Coffeehouse, The JAVA Hut, which was the culminating activity we did at the end of our poetry unit each year. It was AWESOME! We made T-shirts, ate tons of snacks that I am pretty sure were not healthy for us AT ALL, and every student had to share at least one poem —- even the really quiet and shy ones! There were bongos, beaded curtains, and prizes for the best poems as well as best presentation. Ah, those were the days! My dream is that all teachers everywhere would still embrace such shenanigans with their students, providing a focus on real life-long learning and making a lasting difference in the lives of students, not just an end of year assessment …
“Welcome” (written in 1997)
Give me your tired,
Your huddled masses,
Yearning to breathe free.
This is the message I send to thee.
I welcome you all with open arms
To rescue you from your life’s harm.
I’d like to help if you’d allow,
But you must put your anger down.
Let it go,
Drop your guard.
I see that you’ve been hurt,
But once you’re my student
You become “my child”,
You’ll be treated well,
Your soul’s not on trial.
Just open your mind, let your thoughts soar free
I welcome all
To share YOU
If any of my former students are reading: do you remember this as fondly as I do? I would love to hear what positive things remain in your memories from our time together. Perhaps your remembrances will spark one of my own!