Friday, August 27, 2010

question for the first day of school

"Who are you?"

I've spent time sitting through the "Students at a Glance" meeting and talking with other teachers about the children who are coming my way this year, but the fact that there are brand-new ones coming in always reminds me that even those we think we know are brand-new to each new year, new teacher, new class.


And yes, I want to know when their birthdays are, and their favorite colors and their pets' names, but even more I want to listen to who they tell me they are OFF the "All About Me" sheet.

Here's a poem to remind all of us teachers that part of the essential beauty of our students is in what they
don't say.


The Hand
by Mary Ruefle


The teacher asks a question.
You know the answer, you suspect
you are the only one in the classroom
who knows the answer, because the person
in question is yourself, and on that
you are the greatest living authority,
but you don’t raise your hand.
You raise the top of your desk
and take out an apple.
You look out the window.
You don’t raise your hand and there is
some essential beauty in your fingers,
which aren’t even drumming, but lie
flat and peaceful.
The teacher repeats the question.
Outside the window, on an overhanging branch,
a robin is ruffling its feathers
and spring is in the air.


I would have liked that to say "fall is in the air," but it is as it is and it's a perfect way to wish all you teachers a Happy First Day of School!

Poetry Friday is at
Book Aunt today with Kate Coombs and a marvelous selection of poetry for and by teens.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Heidi. My oldest daughter is starting kindergarten in a Montgomery County school on Monday. She is very shy (not the type to raise her hand--not even the type to look you in the eye when you ask her a question), so I appreciate your post. I hope all teachers pay attention to what kids "don't" say. Thanks for sharing. And good luck with your new students this year!

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