Thursday, April 29, 2010

senryu 04/29/10

as the year winds down
the students are "summer ready"--
the teachers more so

©2010-Art Belliveau

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nothing to See?

I should be grading papers and entering grades into the computer, but instead...

Well, I was looking at a post from the webcartoon xkcd. And after seeing it again, I made an education connection to it. Here's the cartoon.

Well, actually, I think there might be more than one connection. Let me go with the first one I thought of: my students. I try very hard to have much for them to do and think about. While I am the first to admit I am not always successful and class is sometimes (perish the thought) boring, I make an effort. So do most of the other teachers I know.

When students are not ready, not willing, and/or not able to go beneath the surface and immerse themselves in a lesson or a subject, they will be bored. They will see nothing but flat ocean all around them, never even guessing at the wonders that await them if they would simply give it a chance.

It is also a connection I have made with my students before about studying a book or poem. Most of what goes on is beneath the surface. Sure, sometimes all you wanna do is water-ski on top, but sometimes snorkeling or scuba diving is much more fun.

And now to a connection that has occurred to me regarding testing and the way the public at large has been encouraged to look at schools. Test scores are the surface. I hope that I teach my students much more richly than simply to prepare them for a test--and usually a multiple choice test at that. I don't know about you, but life rarely throws a multiple choice test at me. I am given live ammo exercises on a daily basis.

The depth of knowledge that my teachers in grade school, high school, college, and grad school--let me not forget the lessons taught by my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents as well--have helped me to be prepared for them. If all I had been prepped for was multiple choice tests, my life would be a much duller and less successful place.

I like the idea that there is so much going on all around us that we rarely see. It gives me incentive to try to see more. It gives me incentive to try to teach my students and my daughter that there is more to see. And to try to give them some of the tools they will need in order to see it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

remember me?

there are times
as a teacher
i feel pride and shame

i am in the local B&N
wandering through the
new books section
just chilling out
when it happens
that former student
comes up to me and asks
"Didn't you used to teach 7th grade?"
i admit it
they remember
my name and
tell me theirs
they remember
my class
they remember
that time i listened to them
when no one else would
the time i helped them find that book
that led them to love reading
the time i praised a poem or essay or story
that led them to love writing

they thank me
as i stammer and blush
embarrassed by
their obvious enthusiasm
and affection
and they say
"I just wanted you to know."

and they walk away
never knowing
i have no memory of them
at all
no idea
who they are
even though i wish i did

and i feel the shame

©2010-Art Belliveau

Thursday, April 1, 2010

teacher's lament

when i hold out my hand
it gets batted away
but still i keep trying
gotta find a way
a way to reach them
so they will believe
i'm trying to help them
i'm not the enemy
but i keep getting cast
as the heavy--the villain
and i'm here to tell you
that part ain't so thrillin'
but when i ease up
try to give them a break
too many see weakness
& go insane till i take
control back real harshly
& then they get mad
"he's always yellin' and mean"
it's so sad
but my job is not
to make them my friends
my job is to teach them
and it just never ends

©2010-Art Belliveau