The Slice of Life March Writing Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers – 31 days of a writing community.
Poetry Friday is hosted by Michelle@Today’s Little Ditty
Late yesterday evening, a teacher I had mentored some years ago called me to catch up on news: she loved teaching the new grade level was was assigned in September and anxious about at first, she was thinking of starting a blog and writing more, and (this was the part she had really called to talk about) she couldn’t believe how much she was delighting in teaching. She was sometimes surprised by this delight, she said, given that she had had such self doubt way back in the days that she first knew me, when she was just launching a teaching life of her own.
In those days, she reminisced, every day was a struggle. Every day was a new invitation to admit to defeat. Every day felt like an admonition to stop teaching and find a new line of work. We laughed about those days, and the emails we’d send back and forth: her doubts and fears, my feeble attempts at reassurance and advice. We traded ideas about reading and writing workshop (she teaches fourth grade now, I still teach sixth grade), and new books to read. By the time we’d signed off, my heart was filled with the joy that had travelled across the many thousands of miles between us: I always knew Sarah was born to be a teacher, now Sarah knew this, and believed this, too.
Teaching requires juggling so many disparate skills, it is difficult work. Even after one has been at it for many years, few of us can say that every day is a perfect day…in fact, it’s those imperfect days that tend to teach us the most. Never the less, the longer we teach and the more we lean in to the heart and soul of our teaching lives, the better we learn to deal with even the imperfect with grace. This is what I heard in Sarah’s voice – hard won self confidence in her craft, and the grace with which to navigate the bumps and turns in the road.
This Poetry Friday, I share the poem below, which speaks (I think) to arriving at grace in the craft of teaching:
We talked about the fact… by Robert Lax
We talked about the fact that
it wasn’t the danger,
it wasn’t the skill,
it wasn’t the applause
that made the act what it was.
It was principally the grace;
the bringing into being,
for a moment,
the beautiful thing,
the entrechat on horseback.
of course, has something to do
with it. It is pleasant
to know you can do anything
so difficult. It is good when you
have mastered it, and you are
really in competition with yourself.
“When we make a mistake in
the ring we are very angry. The
audience doesn’t know, but we
But it is a pleasure
to do anything
and do it