Thursday, February 11, 2010


Today was not the usual hectic day at work – several students were absent, perhaps due to the aftermath of the snow storm. It gave me the chance to sit with my students and spend a little more quality and personal time with them. In particular, I spent some time talking about poetry with 'A' who is very quiet and shy. I learned that other than graffiti art, she was also into poetry. She shared with me the different types of poems she learned in middle school. It is impressive that she still remembers the many different types and how easily she composed poem after poem as I sat next to her. I loved how her eyes twinkled and her face beamed as she read her newly-written poems to me.

In Humanities class, after watching a few clips from "When the Levees Broke", we had quite a powerful discussion about race, responsibility and identity. Our students shared pretty profound observations and insights. It is amazing how they can take one topic/task at a higher level. When asked to freewrite about a place they long for, 'R' later shared an evocative poem about longing to be back in his mother's arms. It's safe to say that the class was blown away by his personal poem.

During lunch, one of my advisees presented her autobiography.  It was another opportunity to see a student outside her 'student' persona. Our school's autobiography goal is to help students understand that by reflecting on their personal history, they will better understand how the people, places and events of their past have shaped who they are today and deepen their sense of self. 'N' has surely exhibited that. She also showed me how much strength she has. At such a young age, our students have gone through and are going through so many challenging times, yet, they continue to show up filled with energy and smile to school everyday. I draw strength from them (as much as I say they take so much energy from me after a draining day). Their strength, insight and wisdom are truly remarkable.

Tonight, another student emailed me his written autobiography piece which he will be presenting tomorrow. After reading it, I emailed him back saying that it was one of the best ones I have ever read. It was very descriptive, well-written and genuine. I can't wait for his visual and oral presentation tomorrow. I feel very honored that he asked me to sit in his autobiography committee.

I am grateful for opportunities to get to know my students at a deeper level. I vow to continue to get to know my students at a more personal level. Before "students", "sons", "sisters", and other titles assigned to them, they are "persons" first above anything else – with their own interests, attributes, strengths and quirks. It is truly a great honor to get to know these wonderful people, and indeed, I find it a great pleasure to know each of them.

Yes. Today was quite a good and 'poetic' day indeed.


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