Thursday, April 23, 2015

Do As I Do

Mom has a headache.
What can we do?
     Let's try to help her.
     You can help us, too!

Mom has a headache.
Does she want a snack?
     Mom says, "No thanks."
     So we take the snack back.

Mom has a headache.
Does she want to watch TV?
     Mom says, "Not now."
     Good thing it's a repeat.

Mom has a headache.
Does she want to play a game?
     Mom says, "Maybe later."
     Sounds like more of the same.

Mom has a headache.
Does she want a drink?
     Mom says, "Another time."
     Now we really have to think.

Mom has a headache.
I have a bright idea!
     Let's ask HER what she wants.
     Mom says, "Just c'mere."

Cuddling and napping
     with her favorite pair of kids
          was just exactly what Mom needed
               to cure her aching head!



No, poetry is not my regular genre.  I'm very uncomfortable writing it and even more uncomfortable sharing it.  So why did I share this poem?  Why did I even write it?

Whenever I facilitate a writing workshop, I write alongside the kids in my group.  I think it's important that, as educators, we don't just ask our students to "do as I say", but actually "do as I do".  It gives added value to the activity if we show them that we're taking the time to do it, too.  Too often, I've observed teachers explaining the directions for an activity, then going to their desk and sitting down to monitor the activity.  This has led students to ask questions, such as: "What's the point of this activity?"; "Am I ever going to use this in my real life?"; "Why do we need to know how to do this?"; and the like.  But when we, as adults, also do the same activity, it shows them that we value the skill, we use it in our every day lives, and we find it important to know how to do.  And, the more we practice various skills which we are teaching, the better we'll get.  I don't know about you, but I've always found that it's a whole lot easier teaching something that I know how to do and understand rather than something I just "sort of get", so ultimately, it's a win-win for everyone.

Now I know what you might be thinking.  Not everyone needs to write.  Not everyone needs to know how to write poetry.  It's not something that anyone really needs or uses after they graduate from high school or college.  Sure, maybe a dental hygienist rarely writes a haiku in her day to day life.  I doubt a marine biologist is found penning an acrostic regularly.  I've never visited a grocery store and found the manager working on a sonnet.  It's true that many professions will not utilize a poetry-writing skill on a daily basis.  But does everyone need "basic writing skills" to function in today's society?  I would say so.  Even if you just want to casually communicate with an acquaintance, you're going to find yourself writing.  Maybe it's going to be a short literary piece, limited to 160 characters in a text message, but you will still be writing.  So why not gain the basic skills needed to do so?

As teachers, we don't know which skills are going to be necessary in your future endeavors, but we can help you build a strong foundation in a little bit of a lot of areas so that you can decide to go forth and learn more.  You only get one education, so why not soak it all in while you have the chance and see where the knowledge takes you?  And teachers, take advantage of the time you spend with your students to show them that the skills are important - you just might be making a difference in a student's opinion of the skill at hand.

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