With all of the recent school shootings such as Florida and Maryland, I thought it was time to talk about what I do. I work in a school building M-F with kids who are usually none to happy to see me, struggling to find the best ways to communicate in the short time I have with each student.
I’m not a teacher, I’m an in-class tutor. That means I don’t teach class, but I do teach kids. I help kids who are not understanding lessons, or just have a difficult time not getting distracted. A lot of the times, I feel like a parole officer, and if I do get to teach kids during the day, it’s for a very short time, maybe a few minutes. Our system at my school isn’t perfect. There are other schools which have better systems for tutoring kids in need, but our system works for us, despite the hassle.
So how does this relate to Poetry Talking?
Well, April is coming up and for those of you who don’t know, that means National Poetry Month. I’m in two English classes. The problem? Neither one of them was planning anything for Poetry Month!
Why? Well, there is a huge variety of reasons but the main one was testing took up too much time, and they didn’t feel as though they had time to handle poetry. I think that’s a load of bull since poetry doesn’t need to be “dealt with” it just needs to be read, enjoyed, and move on.
Last year, I saw a young man writing poetry and while he called it “rap” that was just because poetry wasn’t considered ‘cool’ because it was totally a poem. People can be excited about poetry, and I know when I teach kids in April, I will be doing things with poetry to encourage understanding!
Poetry can help with so many critical thinking skills. In a single poem we can have at least two types of patterns to identify [rhyme and rhythm] and there are so many figures of speech!
I am happy to say that both classes have read poems once this year, but once is not much. So, this Poetry Month if you’re in the schools, I challenge you to “deal with” poetry just for a few minutes at the beginning or end of class. Read them something cool and fun that they would be interested in! There are emerging poets all the time who write on unique topics, and develop new messages, so poetry is just as likely to be over something as an article or a short story is.
Don’t cut it out of your curriculum just because you don’t think they’ll get it. Assume they’ll get it because it’s already in their day to day lives with every song they sing.