|The Slice of Life Story Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at |
Two Writing Teachers
during the month of March and on Tuesdays.
Today I'm thinking about my students and the daily grind of working in a classroom. So much of what we do each day seems like routine, but when I think about the big picture--or even try to imagine it--I'm inspired. I'd like to work this draft into a poetry slam piece. It needs work, but here's a rough cut for today's slice.
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Even when I might think they are not. My students are working to maintain the facade of teenage normalcy that brooks no disrespect or calls no attention. My students will survive. They bounce back from illness and injury. My students will break arms and legs and noggins and orbital bones. They will have diabetes and heart disease and spinal surgery. They are resilient. They will survive divorce or criminal charges or verbal abuse or rape or drunk drivers or a loved one's murder. My students will mourn classmates and grandparents and friends and step fathers. My students will learn how to put on the facade. They will fake it until they make it. My students work hard at passing. Passing for fine for okay for normal for with-it for safe for unforgettable.
My students will go on to higher education or the military. They will graduate from college or community college or specialty training programs in five years or less. My students will learn about refrigeration or plumbing or mechanical engineering or waste management or set design. My students will defend our nation from terrorists and drug dealers and child pornographers. My students will issue speeding tickets and conduct roadside sobriety tests. My students will go on to advanced degrees or law school or medical school or seminary. Or not. My students will draw blood. My students will frame their diplomas and certificates or tuck them onto top shelves in coat closets or corner book cases. My students will have proof of their educations. They will be well papered.
Will they be prepared? Will they read? Will they read for enjoyment and edification? Will they critically consume: blog posts, tumblr feeds and loan applications? Will they use their knowledge of figurative language? Will they write or post or tweet in the language appropriate to the purpose? Having witnessed the obesity epidemic will they make healthy food choices? Will they exercise? Having lost their homes to foreclosure and seen the collapse of the housing market will they save their money and spend it wisely? Will my students refinance? Will my students understand supply and demand or interest and penalties Will they know how health insurance can make or break a family's financial future?
My students will work, ready or not. They will become sales people, doctors, lawyers, pharmaceutical reps, teachers, economists, chefs, cyber warriors, speech writers, marketing strategists, poets, servers and even Internetainerpreneurs. My students will paint the masterpieces that hang in the museums of the future. They will write the books that win awards, produce the films that bring home the Oscars, and broker the peace that bridges Noble divides.
My students will talk to Presidents and astronauts. They will tweet chairmen, and celebrities. My students will found communities, develop neighborhoods or networks and encourage hangouts.
My students will fall in love. They will marry someone of the opposite or the same sex. They will exchange rings and vows and promises or tattoos. They will connect and cherish and cohabitate. My students will have in-laws. They will care for the elderly and their own parents, step parents, grand parents, aunts, uncles or family friends. My students will a child or children of their own. They will have families and extended families. My students will have grandchildren!
I can't even imagine all that my students will do. But I can wonder... how what I teach today will affect their tomorrow.
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I need an ending or a better ending, but this is a piece I can work with at poetry club in the next couple of weeks. It's the kind of thinking I've written about before here. We're in the third quarter and enthusiasm sometimes wanes. Dealing with that--students disengaged, students not performing, students' apathey-- on a day to day basis is something I work at both in the classroom and in my mind. Sara Holbrook's poem "Whooping it Up at the MTV Saloon" from Isn't She Ladylike helps me focus on the positive and imagine the hopeful futures of my students. Her poetry has saved me more than once.