Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Course of Common Core

No longer staying the course,
I must find a way to chart a new course,
Adding what's new in Common Core,
trying to make it something I don't abhor,

Last year's student wrote a note of thanks to me,
for all I did to help her grow and see,
in the memoir she wrote in the fall
and shared at the end of the year,
The first time she told the truth of how she's in that chair,
the story of a sick loved on who fired a shot.
The remembering and writing helped her see it was more than an evil plot.
The process of healing and forgiveness began its course,
and now she has joy and is plotting her own new course.

Memoir writing,
the best way I know to make meaning out of life,
has helped my students
find their voices,
make meaning,
discover themselves,
grow and reflect,
and see the power of the written word.

What I wonder about next year,
looking towards Common Core,
a time of writing
in response to text,
in a formal style,
with no room for narratives in extended writing,
is how can I help my students find their voices,
as they try to make meaning
out of
the loss of a loved one,
the auto accident that killed a child,
the loved one's shot who paralyzed a child,
the fears overcame,
the lessons learned from friends and loved ones battles with cancer?

The power of language,
the meaning of life,
the authenticity of exploring our
through our words.

Is there still room for that?
Will I get a letter of thanks next year like the one  last week
from a student I haven't taught in a year?
A letter that thanks me
for instilling a passion in reading,
for helping the process of healing,
for changing a life,
for helping find forgiveness,
for helping her think about the tough stuff?

Or will I get a letter thanking me
for helping a learner understand
academic writing,
textual evidence,
formal style,

My state units are packaged neat and clean,
I will follow obediently,
but I must find myself
in the midst of change,
if I will help my students
find themselves.


  1. Your post is SO sincere and reflects the concerns of all teachers. Somehow, we need to give students the framework (curriculum) while fueling the desire to learn. It's going to be an importnat challenge.

  2. There has to be room to inspire within the new teaching. Your compassion will come through no matter what you have to teach.


Thanks for reading my writing and sharing your thoughts with me.