I suggested they choose something to write about that they really, really love. And then I tried to do the same. As I'd advised my students, I made a list of things I was thankful for, things I really, really love. And I kept coming back to teaching, and my job, and, well, them. Those students.
Here's my first draft. Their first drafts are due tomorrow, so I've only read one so far, and I can't wait to read the rest.
Ode to my Work (first draft)
Work to do,
problems to solve,
a place to belong:
A paycheck is good,
but oh, Work,
you are so much more to me than that.
On days when burning barricades
keep me from you,
how I miss you!
I miss greeting my students,
learning their language,
finding ways to reach them.
I miss the conversation.
I miss the words:
the books we read together,
the mentor texts,
the new vocabulary.
I miss school lunch,
break duty with my whistle hanging around my neck,
meetings with my colleagues,
managing my classroom library.
I miss creating my lesson plans,
planning how I want the time to go.
sometimes it doesn’t go
exactly the way I had in mind,
but that’s the best part,
adapting and adjusting,
explaining it a different way,
figuring out how to make it work.
Figuring out how to make it work, Work,
that’s what I love about you.
I miss stepping into my room,
a room to which I have the key,
a room with my name on the door,
a room I set up,
a room with my handwriting on the board,
my fingerprints everywhere.
I miss the me-shaped space.
Ruth, from thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
When I wrote "I miss the conversation," I meant the literal conversation with my students, but I also meant the Great Conversation, and our little part in it. But of course, that Conversation goes on. I'm inspired by Neruda (by way of Nancie Atwell), and last week my poem about the ovenbird, inspired by the bird itself (by way of Robert Frost) and illustrated by a photo from eBird.com, inspired Michelle Kogan to create this wonderful picture, which she posted on Facebook one day last week as a greeting to all her friends with a birthday that day (and which she graciously granted me permission to post here, also):
Here's this week's roundup, all the way from Switzerland.