Friday, June 24, 2022

well hello, precarious

Greetings, Poetry Friday friends. As you may have read elsewhere, it is done: my long career as a classroom teacher is satisfyingly concluded, although not without second thoughts and longing backward glances...and, as my new career(s) are not yet begun, it is a time of uncertainty.  

On the one hand, it's a summer break much as I've always been privileged enough to enjoy, where I can choose or not to work with kids in organized programs. On the other, knowing that it will take time, hard work and (this is always the tough one for me) patience to bring my vision into being, it's a moment unlike any other since, perhaps, 1984, when I made the decision to train as a teacher. 

Except this time I'm creating the path, not Bank Street College of Education. Ambiguity will need not only to be tolerated but cultivated (another area of challenge for an Activator like me). Doubt will have to be entertained. 

Or maybe something will happen suddenly & serendipitously--who knows?

So here's my first poem in 3 weeks, which is a long enough pause to make me wonder "How the heck did I ever write a poem every day for weeks on end, and will I ever be able to do that again?"  It's a definito.



In other news, 105 copies of Tabatha Yeatts's anthology IMPERFECT II--in which many of us find our poems of perspective--have been placed in the hands of every 5th grader at my school.  Here they are, ribboned and tagged and boxed and ready to go to the Promotion Ceremony.  You can read my speech here if you're interested, and know that the kids listened, got carried away during the choral "reading" and randomly thanked me in the hallways during the following days. I unrandomly thank all of you who helped make this project happen, and thanks to my family, too, who joined me in the manual labor!






Finally, thanks to Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting us today, with an alphabetical summary of all that we teachers did all year (and I hope, in my case, for 34 years) and a wish for our summer!


  1. Heidi, this is the most beautiful graduation speech..from looking at each other in the eye to speaking the poem to books to read. What joy you give to learners. Thank you. Thank you SO MUCH.
    I'm in that place of not having written much in the past couple of weeks. How did I do that? Can I get back into it? It feels very strange to think that I once wrote poems. Ha! You give me inspiration.

  2. I love your tooth fairy poem, Heidi! The rest of your post, including your speech, made me tear up. Beautifully done xo

  3. I love that nowadays they have ceremonies for promotions; Back In Ye Olden Days we just went, uncertainly and nervously and excitedly, and, and, and -- we really did have "no proof" but just a lot of thoughts.

    The word "precarious" lends itself beautifully to so many things. Congratulations on your pause; cheers to learning the next steps in the dance.

  4. Beautiful speech (choked me up in a good way) AND perfect definito (you are so masterful with rhymes). Looking forward to witnessing and sharing your new path!

  5. Oh, what a speech, Heidi! You loved and affirmed and challenged these 5th grades to be brave and open and wonderful. Like you are!

  6. You are marvelous is so many ways...your gift of language, kindness, and love abound in this post.

  7. You've managed a superb ending, Heidi, and I imagine that what's next will also be superb. Thanks for that tooth fairy celebration, such a 'thing' for kids!

  8. What a wonderful and touching message in your speech, a speech that should be delivered to our national leaders. Your tooth fairy poem is so funny with your musing about this strange visitor. Good luck to you.

  9. Cheers to you, Heidi, as you head off on your new adventure! I think your speech should be required reading for everyone. It truly baffles me that the idea that others "matter because [they're] alive here on this planet, loving and being loved" is so difficult for some people to accept. Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place!

  10. Wow, Heidi, what an exceptional and loving speech! You gave me goose bumps and almost brought me to tears. How fortunate those fifth graders were to have you speak to them. I loved all of it. I loved your, The Bigger Picture poem, also and then how you summed the speech up giving them three important take aways. I resonate with your Hanging by a Thread poem. Just your title brought back memories of our girls losing their teeth, seeing students wearing their lost tooth necklace, and seeing many toothless grins. I love the questions in the beginning, "lurking worldwide on the roof", the rhyme, and humor. Is that your cute daughter in the video? Congratulations, on your 34 years of teaching! Have a great summer, relax, have fun, and have fun on your new adventures. Thank you for sharing your joy and inspiration. I'm happy I read your post. :)


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!