In Appreciation of Teachers: Share a poem
As the school year draws to a close, is there a teacher who has inspired you?
NPR's poet in residence Kwame Alexander says his mother was his first teacher. He learned from her that "teachers are a guiding hand on our shoulders, and long after we graduate from their classrooms, the good ones — we still feel their touch." He fondly remembers a teacher who dared him to read 100 books in first grade, and when he did, she bought him a t-shirt that showed off his achievement.
For Morning Edition host Rachel Martin, it was a high school teacher who taught her about courage and compassion.
Now we want to hear from you about a teacher who has impacted you in ways big or small.
Send us your appreciation as a poem. It can be any form — a haiku, a free verse, an epistolary, but should start with the words "Teachers make..."
As an example, Alexander cites the words of teacher, author and slam poet Taylor Mali, who responded this way when asked to defend the teaching profession:
"You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math
and hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you've got this,
then you follow this,
and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this.
Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Teachers make a goddamn difference!"
(Excerpt from Taylor Mali's "What Teachers Make." What Learning Leaves. Newtown, CT: Hanover Press, 2002)
Share your poem through the form below. Then Alexander will take lines from some of your pieces and create a community crowdsourced poem that will be read on-air and published online, where contributors will be credited.
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