Rough Draft

Life is 
a rough draft
in constant revision

every day 

we add pages
cross out
or delete

replace them 
with better
or verbs
that more accurately 

our evolving


Often neglected,
you are left 
with nothing 
to do
while your twin 
works alone.

You watch 
you wait
your fingers 
until extended
a turn.

when I grant
any freedom
to step up
you surrender 
to the struggle 
too soon.

I accept blame
It’s my fault
I didn’t rouse 
your right
to spur a spirit
of discovery
to develop
your separate skills.

Mandating Mundane

When did common became the goal
And basic standards what we extol
While teachers are given a limited role?

When did everyone have to be on the same page
And students advance according to age
While training them like animals in a cage?

We lowered the bar for all to succeed
Forgetting that people progress at varying speeds
At the expense of individual needs

We’re training soldiers without any captains
If we don’t develop leaders, what could possibly happen?
We need to change direction—this trend we must flatten.

Engagement begins with authentic choice
And developing individual student voice
Innovation begins by breaking this monotonous pattern.

Author’s note: I wrote this on a day that I was lamenting the loss of teacher autonomy. I mourn for the time when we valued creativity and individuality in our schools. Yes, I agree that we would have standards to meet, but what is the cost of meeting those standards? Instead of reaching standards, shouldn’t the goal be to move beyond them?

Check out my other poems here.