Being with high schoolers for most of my week, I though I knew what they are: funny, obnoxious, outspoken, shy, narrow-minded, rude, whiny, weird. But I was always blown away when I saw them in a different arena, doing something they loved. I could see glimpses of the people they were going to become. I was especially moved when I watched my students, high schoolers, recite poetry. It made any extra work worth it.
At my job I was asked constantly by students how the material was going to relate to their lives post-school. I was told by students that their parents would complain about the same thing (!(annoying)). And I would explain about higher level thinking skills and important analytical skills that could transferred to many arenas.
But I wish I would have said literature and poetry and learning how to express yourself is important because it makes you a better human. A deeper, richer soul. A person who is more human than consumer. I tired to argue how what I taught was relevant to a career or practical life, but not everything of worth is practical. If being human is just to pay bills and have a nice house that sucks. Poetry makes me feel human.
As I retire momentarily from the classroom, I hope that I was able to teach that somehow to at least a handful of kids.
Today I was falling asleep holding Thatcher and a snippet of a poem crossed my mind. I'm grateful I have that to drift off to sleep sometimes and not only lists of things to do when I wake.