Fearless Writing Challenge, Day 34: What I Liked Most About Teaching High School English

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A little bit ago I invited my readers to ask me anything. One of the questions I received was what did you like the most about teaching high school English? 

I was waiting to answer this question because I was looking for something in particular, which I can’t find, of course. (I hate it when you just saw something and then when you go back to look for it, you can’t find it. Grrrrr….)

I was looking for a poem that I had written about one of my students. He was one of several gang members I had in my classes. He was a challenge at times – strolling in late, not doing his work, talking when he was supposed to be reading, missing class.

Nonetheless, we connected. He told me about his life. I listened. I wrote a poem about the things he told me. He gave me permission to read it to the class. A few weeks later, he asked if he could read something to the class.

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A poem he had written about his life.

That’s what I was looking for – his poem. I came across it recently. I know I saved it. I know it is in a file in my office –  I just haven’t found it yet. #Iwill

It didn’t happen just once –  that magical moment when a kid you wouldn’t normally imagine writing poetry does.

Let’s face it, there are kids who are already poets by high school – and aren’t afraid to share. I was a poet by then, though I only shared with a couple of friends.

But when you have, say, a football player who decides to write poems to help him process his grandfather’s death – well, that’s an accomplishment.

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Or the student who decides to read a book – for pleasure – for the first time in his life. Well, that is something amazing.

Igniting a spark in someone, that was the best thing about teaching high school English.

In gratitude,

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PS: You can still ask me ANYTHING! 😉

 

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9 thoughts on “Fearless Writing Challenge, Day 34: What I Liked Most About Teaching High School English

  1. Hunida says:

    Aw, I could imagine that being the best part. I wish I could read both of your poems! Hopefully you’ll find his soon! And thanks for answering my question! I’ve always thought about becoming a teacher. 💗

      • vinegar and vanilla says:

        Every grade has its pros and cons. I’ve worked with kids from 1st grade all the way up to college between coaching and teaching. A lot of people think middle school is the most challenging. If you are interested in teaching I would recommend shadowing teachers at all levels – most likely you will be drawn to one age group more than any of the others – and the one you end up with might be a surprise!

      • vinegar and vanilla says:

        I was surprised to like middle school! Though near the end I thought I might transition into kindergarten, because most of them are still sweet. 😉

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