Category Archives: on teaching

heavy-hearted lines

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It’s not the guns
I want to talk about now
It’s the moms and dads
The wives and husbands
who sent their children
their partners
off to school or work today Read the rest of this entry

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When everything is going just as it should –

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 But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted. 
 What happened? 
He lived happily ever after.
                                  – Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory

I had a hell of a teaching week last week.  Things were not going in my classroom how I wanted them.  Students were behaving outside of my classroom, and perhaps in it, in ways that disappointed me.  This coupled with the fact that we remain a district with an interim superintendent, a principal who leaves in two weeks, and no contract to speak of, well let’s just say there was some drinking done last weekend.

Also,  my students got the business from me a time or two in the last week.  At the end of one of my self-righteous lectures. . . A student raised her hand, politely, as she was sure I could still bite.
“Ms. B, have you ever thought of recording those rants, they sound a whole lot like poems”. Read the rest of this entry

Sonnet

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I got into education to teach,
to spin stories, weave tales, and inspire.
Not realizing, just how far I would reach,
To meet state mandates and keep check my ire.

They ask teachers and schools to race to the top,
these politicians who have never taught.
Shilling their grand initiatives which flop,
Swear their votes for big business aren’t bought.

So we gather the evidence tentatively,
to shown growth and goals to be met yearly.
Just paper work gathered selectively,
we have nothing better to do, clearly.

But come morning,  still stand before the class,
teach the kiddos, with my own brand of sass.

Open Mic – setlist

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Insanely good night – good poetry – good readers – and I had a good reading.. even while I recognized the terribly solemn. . .there was  good stuff to be found.

originally posted here – 

Because When You’re Six – 

To be honest, I would like to forget, I would prefer not to remember.  I would enjoy not knowing.  I don’t want to be given some CNN, narrated by Wolf Blitzer, version of the event.

And to be honest, there’s no way I could forget feeling by 9:45am that world was bound to be ending.  People fell out of the sky. Men ran not away from, but into fires. And me, I became a grown woman by 10:22.

That day was perfect, blue skies in Boston, as far as you could see.  And while I was downing a coffee to erase a Monday night Jack and Coke bender,  I remember smiling as I rounded the corner on to Huntington ave.

But then  within minutes, in only the time it took to start a computer, every email I sent to someone I knew in NYC said, “are you okay, is everyone you know okay?”

Every phone line was jammed, I woke my brother in my mother’s house, and said “turn on the tv”.

The Harvard docs we intended to send to Atlanta out of Logan that day — – so we were afraid –had come back to our conference room – and I watched grown men with PhD’s shatter.

When released from work, like most of Boston that day, The paper box on the corner held the Globe’s first Extra in fifty years.  “War” is all it spoke.

And the walk out to the bus stop, the free bus ride home, it was as if Boston had been abandoned, because every doc who worked in the medical area that day, had caught a ride to NYC, because they thought there would be more wounded, more survivors.

I walked into a six bedroom house full of all those people, my family by circumstance, not birth.  More home at that minute, than it had ever been before.

And that TV that I said to turn on, stayed on for days, and my heart  hurt for every mother, father, wife, husband, and child.  My heart hurt for my grandfather who was no longer bordering on stupendous.

Dan Rather lost it on Letterman, and I lost it too. Wondered how anyone managed to live through anything like this with all  of their heart intact.

The half a pack-of smokes began to border on a whole, the two beers, became more, and I was dying to be able to wave a magic wand, and stop all those kids from being shipped away to fight a war in some frat boy’s passion play.

Forget, how could I – how could anyone, when four planes managed to rip out the heart of our Constitution, and deliver us an Act so Patriotic, that we began to question the Quakers in Maine.

Not remember, how would I – when it was just people going to work, and doing their jobs,  like I did that day. Except mine was the just the city they flew the planes out of, not into.

So pardon me, if I don’t let the media get one more ad buy from my viewing today. Pardon me, if I sound a little bitter, but, there’s not a person over 13 who can’t tell you where they were that day–

“We had gone to Atkins for a field-trip for Preschool, Ms. B, to get  cider donuts , but we had to come home, and eat our donuts on the bus. That’s what I remember Ms. B”.

Ms. B, I thought it was our Northampton airport that it happened at – though the planes had crashed there, silly huh, Ms. B?”

Not so silly – because when your six, your world gets to be that small.

So if I tell you that my heart still breaks, that I still hold my breath when a plane flies too low, and that I still get tears when I see a fireman in NYC, If I tell you all that, then, will you just let me be,  will you just let me forget.

 

These weeks

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My new year starts now.
Tomorrow, early up, get a run in,
( I mean that is the plan),
pack up the boys,
and walk in with the two crates of work I meant to do this summer.
But let’s be honest,
(if that’s what we’re going to do),
I haven’t touched those suckers since I put them in my bedroom,
sometime near the end of June.
Not sure how long I will last tomorrow.
Be it an hour or six, to set up the rhythm,
maybe I’ll wait to make my coffee till I get there.
So that the room smells of the deeply roasted
french pressed coffee, I require to put my teacher face on.

But I end this year tentative –
After a summer worth talking about.
It is rare for me to not be excited about the fall,
about the crisp settling in-
about the colors changing,
about apples measured in pecks and bushels.
about the prospects of shoes.
I mean, I won’t wear shoes that require socks or stockings till –
perhaps October the first,
so long it has been that I have lived in New England,
and believe that one should expose their manicured toes,
till at least the oaks start to turn.

But no, I am not thrilled for this new year,
this is a bit of dread.
And I’m not sure if it’s because the energetic one
begins his new school-
but then, the small one does too.
Perhaps, it is because, like every summer,
I feel like I haven’t even begun to finish all I meant to do.
Or maybe there is a darker shade of grey,
no not the book I avoided all summer,
(because dammit,I get my smut from a third wave feminist magazine)-
Maybe there is something darker besides the night that grows longer.
Or perhaps, after eight years of grown-up September,
I’m just not ready to let my summer go.

On doing things

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I do things — I mean — you do things too – We all do things –

Today I made ginger syrup and lemon syrup, so I can flavor the soda water I make with my Soda Stream.  And I went to a birthday party, and I kept the kids sane, and I thought about the present I needed to finish making for the kiddo whose birthday party it was. Read the rest of this entry

Homework

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Class starts Monday, and I’m excited. I mean not, go out and buy a new backpack and a first day of school outfit excited, but certainly excited enough to spend Friday night doing my homework excited. And sure, I might pick up a new notebook too.  I haven’t taken a class in four years, and while I’m thinking about the next part of my education, I’m glad to get my feet wet again with a little three-week course. I wonder sometimes, if given all the resources in the world and all the time to do what I would wish, if I wouldn’t just spend the rest of my days being a student. Read the rest of this entry

It takes so little to be kind.

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I revel in cynicism and snarkiness, so deep – it makes people laugh, so much – and then of course, I just feel bad about myself, so bad.  I worked for a really long time to work out my mean girl – One of my first blog posts ever was about just that.  By blog post, I mean MySpace – seriously – yah thatspace.  Pardon me while I dig through the way-back machine.

. . . And while I was telling my kids later in the day about how hateful some of their speech had become, and how disappointed I was, I suddenly felt like the biggest hypocrite.  Because, I too remembered the day I was a mean girl. Read the rest of this entry

Valentine’s Love

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Cross posting a little bit of writing I just did for the school’s paper.  I have never written something for the paper, though I’ve been the adviser for seven years now.  But I have this kiddo, with great taste in music, and a great sense of humor, and thought we should write something together.

Valentine’s Day Playlist – Music for whatever mood you’re in.