I wrote a short story
That wasn’t really mine
I heard it told by mother
And remembered ev’ry line
It was a school assignment
Waited ’til it was due
Instead, I hung out in the park
And even at the zoo
But then came time to turn it in
And I didn’t have anything written
With a blank page I commenced with my crime
Scribbled those words Mom told many times
I made some creative adjustments
Like changing names of key players
Altered other details until I was done
And placed it with the stack of papers
My teacher was prompt in scoring our stories
The very next day came news of how we had done
She handed back papers with bold grades facing up
But turned my story over with front facing down
“This story is great;
I remember it well.
It’s just like the one
My mother would tell…”
I stayed in for lunch and afternoon recess
To make penance for cheating and pay for my guilt
I wrote a new story about honor and trust
To repair the bad credit that needed rebuilt
I tried to steal someone’s short story
And pass it off as mine
But in my feeble defense
I was only nine.
Check out my other poetry here.
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.
Note: I wrote this for a different blog in August 2019. It was one of my most popular posts, I decided to post it here so it wouldn’t be lost.
I’m two weeks into the new school year, and we have completed loads of activities with my students to assess what needs to be done to make sure that those trusted to my classroom grow at acceptable levels. One startling reality I face each year is this: an increasing number of students insist they don’t read.
Each fall I search for better ways to encourage reading, and each fall I find one or two strategies that reach a few extra students. I’m faced with the reality, however, that the best way to encourage reading is by changing what children see and do in their own homes. So, I ask myself, what can I do to encourage reading is an activity that is encouraged and honored in the homes my students return to after a day at school?
“To learn to read is to light a fire” — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
I can’t control what happens in other people’s homes, but I can share what my parents did to develop a love of reading.
Helping students become confident independent readers is key for increased success at school, and parents are the main influence in developing confident young readers. I’m sure I will revisit this topic again and share other ways my parents raised six children who all love to read. In the meantime, please drop a comment about your own experiences reading in the home.