| Though I look like a very wide barge easing in to harbor in this photo,|
it is a picture of me teaching to start the Fall of 2015
As you will surely remember, I used to work in this program called Creative Writers in the Schools, for which schools would write grants to have me do a residency of up to two weeks and work with students on creative writing. I did my last ones in 2001 as the program lost its funding after that year as we entered the Bush era. I remember being in Edwardsburg for two weeks when you were still in the ICU at Bronson in May of 2000, though by then you were well on the road to recovery and would soon be transferred (in June) to Mary Free Bed in Grand Rapids for rehabilitation.
Recently, I was reminded of my favorite assignment, a take-off on Wallace Stevens' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." It's a simple assignment for practicing poetic language and taking different views of the same subject.
In those classes, with younger kids, I did a lot of fill-in-the-blank type poetry because it was harder for the younger kids to write their own poems from scratch. I had a fill-in-the-blank format for the different ways assignment but reduced it from thirteen to seven to keep it manageable. I created this one as an example to be silly and funny. I always got a ton of laughter and groans of disapproval from students as I read it along with some acting out just for fun. Later in my residency, I would share my "Seven Ways of Looking at Students," which, of course, was super positive and ended with a line about the students themselves: "students at .....insert name of school ..... are the best students in the whole world!!" I would usually do this poem at an assembly rather than in each class individually, sometimes with a magic show, as a special treat to end my time there. It saved me from reading the same poem 20 or more times. Some school systems, like South Haven, had me visit six or more elementary schools.
For a change of pace this week, here's my poem about teachers. Enjoy.
"Seven Ways of Looking at Teachers"
-- A model for CWIS poetry writing exercise
-- By Chris Tower
1. There are 13,000 teachers in the world, and I have collected them all in tiny, purple bottles.
2. In the light of the full moon, the teachers look like vampire bats.
3. In the summer, the teachers transform themselves into children. They play, dance, sing, and complete numerous homework assignments to determine their merits.
4. Every spring, once a year, the 13,000 teachers gather in caves deep below the earth and discuss more efficient ways of torturing students.
5. Once upon a time, the teachers learned of a school without teachers. They swooped to the rescue. They loved and educated the students helping them to be the best students ever.
6. Though the teachers look like vampire bats, when I smile, they look like angels.
7. No one knows that teachers can fly, breathe underwater, lift skyscrapers over their heads, and secretly they tell the President of the United States what to do.
Reflect and connect.
Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.
I miss you so very much, Mom.
Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.
- Days ago = 430 days ago
- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1609.07 - 10:10
NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.