Friday, November 12, 2010

Poetry Friday


The look on his face
when he shows his dad
the perfect score on his quiz.

The giggle in her voice
as she reads me
the funny part in her book.

The gasps around the circle
when the boy in the story
defeats the dragon by following the rules of magic.

Being called an angel
by a 10 year-old boy who is most certainly not one,
because I've helped him with his multiplication facts.

Hearing the clear, bell-like voices of fourth graders
as they sing the national anthem
to the assembled Veterans and family members.

Sometimes I wonder why I do this all-consuming job. And then I have a day like yesterday.  My poem's five moments are all from one day -- yesterday. In math yesterday, we multiplied 25 x 20 -- my number of years teaching in Ohio times an average number of students in each class. (That's a lot of kids!  A school building full!)  Now take that number times 180 days in each of those years. And multiply all those days with perfect moments...why am I surprised that my heart feels so full?!?

Terri has the roundup today at Rub-A-Dub-Tub.  Happy Friday!


  1. You made me teary, Mary Lee! How wonderful to reap these rewards of all your hard work.

  2. Everyone needs a day like that! I'm glad you had such a day.

  3. Anonymous11:45 AM

    Just beautiful, Mary Lee. You definitely captured ... and shared ... just how full your heart is. What a way to head into the weekend.

  4. Ohh, I love this one. My husband is a teacher, and I know that some days, you really have to rely on moments such as these for sustenance, because it's not an easy job. But the work you do is so important.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. Beautiful moments captured in your poem, ML. Wishing you many more days like that one (and please share them in more poems). :)

  6. Each of the five tercets made me smile, and I love the math you did at the end. Such moments can get so easily lost. Thank you for saving them.

  7. Sustenance. Such a perfect title. This is beautiful. Such important work we do!

  8. Everyone should make a habit of recording moments like yours down. Thank you for sharing your moments here. Congratulations on all those days, years and moments of teaching.

  9. Moments like those are so precious. Thanks for capturing them in your poem. It makes me want to start jotting down notes to myself to have to read on a day that doesn't go quite so well. It brings real focus to why we do what we do.

  10. Mary Lee,

    I remember days like that. There are times when I really miss working with children. I especially miss reading books and sharing poetry with students--AND writing poetry with them.

    Your students are fortunate to have a teacher like you.

    Can't wait to meet you in person next week at NCTE.

  11. Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. The cool thing is, it didn't stop with the things that happened in the poem. Here are two things that happened on Friday that make me glad to be a teacher:

    1. Yesterday, the class needed to earn one star to win the Big Shoe in P.E.. One star is the lowest amount a class can earn for their behavior in P.E. (except maybe if they are really bad and get no stars). I encouraged the class to try to earn THREE stars -- the most -- even though they could get the Big Shoe with the least. And they did it! They did their best and gave it their all. They earned three stars AND the Big Shoe.

    2. Today after recess, I needed to fill out a discipline form on a student in another class. My class gathered, as usual, in a circle of chairs in the meeting area for read aloud. I handed the book to a student to read aloud, went to my desk, and did my work on the computer. The reader was doing a great job and the class was being very considerate about helping when she misread a word or stumbled a bit. I slipped out of the room to take the discipline form to the other teacher, and when I came back, a third grade teacher was wheeling the computer cart out of my room. The reader was still reading and the rest of the class was still listening. The third grade teacher whispered to me that she felt bad interrupting because they were doing such a good job.

    I've told the class how precious it is to me that they are coming together as a group so early in the year. I don't think I've ever had a class that was this TOGETHER by mid-November. Usually I wait until February or March for this magic to happen.

    Every day is not perfect. Sometimes the group or individuals have off days with behavior or with learning. But these two incidents are a part of what makes me glad I'm a teacher.

  12. Wonderful! and so encouraging! If I start doing the math for my years I will be staggered... so many blessings.

  13. Mary Lee, lovely poem and post! I was catching up with my teacher sister yesterday, and she's having a very rough year. I'm hoping she'll have (and recognize) one of these magic days soon. She's overdue for one.

    I especially love the last two stanzas.

    P.S. How funny that my word verification word is "hyper."

  14. What a reminder poem...your students are very lucky to have you. I can count the Mary Lee encouraging moments too, and I'm not even in your class! May this week be full of many more.


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