Posted by: ktzefr | April 18, 2017

A Poem for Teachers on a Tuesday…

Purple Wave by Dylan Fawcett

A blank page is full of possibilities…

The three teachers I acknowledged in my book, To Come and Go Like Magic, were not alike, but each was important to me.  My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. McCormick, was strict and impatient at times, but she introduced us to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and Heidi, and she played Carnival of the Animals and Peter and the Wolf and other classics, expanding our world beyond the Appalachian hills.  Mrs. Evans, my sixth grade teacher, was kind and soft spoken.  She encouraged me to write, and I produced two short “plays” that year and a “gossip column” to read aloud at our Friday class meetings.  Miss Irene Hughes was a tiny woman who terrified those who landed in her high school English classes.  She was loved — and hated — by a generation of students who remember her as the most difficult teacher at the school.  She insisted on giving her best and expected the same from her class.  I have only good memories of the two years I spent in her classes — Shakespeare every semester, great poetry, interesting assignments. 

I discovered early on that the best teachers were not the easiest.  More often than not, their classes were the most challenging.  But the best teachers do have some things in common — they love teaching, encourage individual differences, and want their students to succeed.   

Like Mr. Barta in Alexis Rotella’s poem, “Purple.”

Purple

In first grade Mrs. Lohr

said my purple teepee

wasn’t realistic enough,

that purple was no color

for a tent,

that purple was a color

for people who died,

that my drawing wasn’t

good enough

to hang with the others.

I walked back to my seat

counting the swish swish swishes

of my baggy corduroy trousers.

With a black crayon

nightfall came

to my purple tent

in the middle

of an afternoon.

***

In second grade Mr. Barta

said draw anything;

he didn’t care what.

I left my paper blank

and when he came around

to my desk

my heart beat like a tom tom.

He touched my head

with his big hand

and in a soft voice said

the snowfall

how clean

and white

and beautiful.

*****

Remember: Michelangelo saw the angel in the marble and carved until he set it free.

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