Friday, April 16, 2010

Back in touch with reality...

The last few weeks have been pure bliss.

No, not the mind-controlling, freaky-naked-lizard-alien bliss, but actual this-job-is-so-amazing-I-would-do-almost-all-of-it-for-free bliss.

You see, I finally get to teach poetry. Even though it only addresses three questions on the CST, I've managed to justify scheduling three weeks that "accidentally" overran and turned into four weeks.

At the end of every year, the kids fill out a survey, and one of the questions is always "what do you wish we had learned this year?" A large contingent always makes some remark about how they wish we could have spent more time on poetry, and I always agree with them. It's just that the enormous vise-grip that is the state test squeezes the life out of our schedule, and the good parts (you know, poetry) get condensed to as little time as possible.

So, for the last four weeks, we have been exploring lyric, narrative, and free verse poetry. The kids have read, analyzed, performed, and written all three types, and it's been beautiful. They come ready for class. They listen to the information, complete the activities, and read just for the sake of reading. Kids who have gone through puberty since they last finished a homework assignment are bringing me their poetry to read, turning in work early, and happily skipping home with their writing in one hand and passing grade report in the other.

And me? Oh, I'm great! I'm giving myself a birthday present on Monday: the kids are presenting dramatic readings of free verse poetry. Happy Birthday to me!

I'm not going to rant about how testing kills motivation, or how kids will bend over backwards when they are learning something meaningful. Instead, I'm just going to revel in the totally-non-reptilian bliss that is teaching poetry.

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