Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wow, I'm Lucky

I'm sitting in a hotel room outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm sitting in a comfortable chair as I reflect on moving experience. Because of my wife's job--she meets, greets, and takes care of speakers for her company (as well as doing many other things that only an amazingly smart and competent person like her could do)--I got to sit in on a presentation by Jonathan Kozol. Yes, that Jonothan Kozol. Champion of children's dignities and educations. He spent parts of an hour talking about what type of school kids deserve, and I was aware every minute of the presentation that that's exactly the school I teach in--the type of school far too few students have access to.

Teachers and students should interact meaningfully every day--in small groups and one on one. They should share stories, ideas, poems. Here's a poem I wrote this fall and felt lucky enough to share with my students (as they shared their poems with me) a couple weeks ago:

Serious Work Happens on the Flattest of Tables

It is important that the table is flat.
On the table, serious work happens,
and one needs to keep one’s papers in order.
Imagine a classroom

where the tables weren’t flat!
Maybe they all had three legs instead of four!
Papers slipping off desks like sheets of ice
crashing to the floor!
Pencils sticking in the ground like wayward arrows!
What a disaster!
But maybe I prefer a slanted table.

I know what I was trying to get at as I wrote this poem (perhaps not successfully, I don't know), and Mr. Kozol just articulated it poignantly. 


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