This year I am making an effort to write beside my students in class as often as I can. Thanks, Penny Kittle for showing me the importance of this idea. I want to share my writing with them, make my process visible, take their critiques, and join the community. In my poetry class of 11th and 12th graders, we started our year with list poems. I stole Sarah Kay’s idea of “10 Things I Know to be True” after we watched her wonderful Ted Talk. Here is the poem I wrote on the whiteboard in class.
10 Things I Know to be True
1. Teaching is about welcoming each person into the room.
2. Yesterday, someone at this school thought this was my first year here.
He didn’t know my name.
3. Some teachers like to squash “trouble-makers” the first day.
They might be wiser than me.
4. When I drive to school in the morning, I often sit in my car until the song finishes.
5. I try not to break speed limits, but ONLY because I can’t afford a ticket.
6. A man once told me he will gladly pay $100 for his right to go 90.
7. He was never a “trouble-maker.”
8. I have no problem waiting for someone to merge in front of me. Letting them in. Good “car-ma”?
9. Teaching is about knowing what’s difficult and why, even if it’s easy for you.
10. Teaching is about letting them in.