Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The white envelope contained the most precious thank you letters I've ever received. I stood and read them and cried. Clearly the students had been asked to write what they'd learned from me, or how my presentation had changed their view of poetry or writing, and with stunning precision and generosity these students dedicated themselves to that task. "My poetry has changed because I write about real life events because I can connect with them." "I learned that you don't have to write about something amazing." "I was the one in the audience that you called on that only had 4 words on his paper, but with your help, I now have many words that I made into a poem." "I used to think poetry was kind of dull and a boring type of writing, but now I think it is really fun." "I liked when you talked about how being a writer can be free and have no rules except for grammar to put down our feelings and emotions." ".. and now I know how to write poems from the perspective of nature. It's given me a new way of writing and I even want to write one for my mom to give to her at Christmas!"
Letter after letter, and then, beyond those letters, the poems that these students had finished after I'd left the room. The poetry of young hearts set free.
Remarkable teachers—those in the classroom day in and day out—instill the remarkable in their students, and were it not for two teachers' urgings, I'm not sure I'd ever have known just what these students heard that day. This is a gift I will always keep, and will, no doubt, always return to.