Friday, August 24, 2012

I Teach: A Free Verse Poem By Lucinda Hicks

We send our children to school with the school supplies requested on "The List"

(3) 24 count Crayola crayons- No Roseart brand
1 package of #2 pencils
1 wide ruled spiral notebook

We stuff these supplies into their backpacks
Kiss their foreheads
Brush their hair into place
And send them into a classroom
A classroom where every student writes in the same wide ruled spiral notebook
With the same #2 pencil
Dutifully scrawling the same set of notes, that are written on an aged blackboard by a teacher
When people ask me what I do
My stance widens,
I lift my chin,
And I declare,

"I teach!"  
    I teach.
           I teach.

I teach the art of expression through writing and speech
I teach my students there are no stupid questions,
And bad ideas are good ideas until proven otherwise
I teach the lost arts of, compassion and empathy

I teach.
I teach things that aren't on the ACT

There is no curriculum
There is no standardized testing
There are no IEP's
There are no Honor's classes
There are no textbooks with indexes, and solvents to the odd numbered problems in the back.
There is no separation of ages and genders
There is no supply list.
There is no chalkdust on my hands.

I teach things that societal norms are forcing our children to give up:
The power of speech
The art of communicating a difference of opinion

I teach my students there are no thoughts that should be left alone
They should explore each and every one of them
Race to the edge of it, double back, and then sift through the layers to find the answers

I teach them how to bring words on paper, to life
To make words leap from the two-dimensional plane they reside on, and take flight
Like a bird, through the air

I teach my students how precious words are
The way we say them;The inflection we use

Words are our most powerful resource
I teach them to use their words wisely, because retractions aren't always an option

I teach my students that while life is fleeting, their impression on this world is a permanent one,
And because of that; they should make it count

I teach young women something I learned from Staceyann Chin:
"The most radical thing a young woman can own her body."

I teach my students that their individuality is a priceless gift
I teach them the power that their voices can have on their own
And the additional power they recieve when other voices join them
A chorus of discord; speaking in harmonized parts
Changing the world with their beautiful, yet cacophonous melody
I teach them the squeaky wheel gets the oil
I teach them that regardless of their life situation, great possibilities are hiding around every corner
Just waiting for the right kid to come along, and seize them

When asked what "I do",
I suppose I should respond in a more timid manner
I should duck my head
Remove the tape from my mouth and rope from my hands
And whisper in the smallest voice possible,
 "I teach..."

But...I've never been a big fan of actually doing things the way others think I should.

It is because of this that my chin is lifted, and my stance is wide
It is because of this that I declare,
"I teach!"

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