Saturday, March 19, 2016

I've had to do a crazy amount of speaking, singing, editing, note writing, and project judging over the past couple of days; and as a result I'm now raspy and word-drunk . . . which is to say, I'm not sure what to write to you this morning. So perhaps I will tell you about the strange intersection of former-student news. Teachers, I know you'll recognize the odd sensation that arises when you suddenly discover that something you worked on in the classroom might have mattered to a student you didn't know was taking much interest in what you were doing. Well, I had a version of that three times this week. First, I learned that a former Harmony student, whom I remember best as a Little League first baseman, has decided to become a high school English teacher. Then I got a note from a university professor I don't know, who mentioned that another former Harmony student had written a long and enthusiastic personal narrative about how much she loved learning music and poetry from me in elementary school. And last night, a third former Harmony student sent me this note:
I saw one of your books in our library!!!!!!!! I was looking at some poetry and i just was scanning and then i saw your name and i thought nah that can't be her... and when i looked at the picture in the back my eyes were as wide as dinner plates. i thought it was so awesome
So along with feeling raspy and word-drunk, I'm feeling a bit weepy this morning. As a traveling teacher, I rarely get the opportunity to experience this kind of delayed teaching gratification. But for seven years, I experimented once a week with this clutch of kids in Harmony. I was neither an accomplished teacher nor an accomplished poet, and I made a million mistakes on the job. It seems, though, that a couple of things we did together stuck.

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