creativity · education · Humour · poetry · writing

Kindergarten Pie

Take a classroom of five-year-olds –
nimble-footed, names unintelligible –
add a dozen runny noses
and three boo-boos
and one unfortunate ‘accident’.

Introduce a teacher –
holiday hazed and overtired –
mix with a controversial curriculum,
a dash of micromanaging parents,
and splash of report cards due.

Blend cautiously,
taking care that all ingredients remain
in the bowl…er…classroom…

Bake for five days,
cool over the weekend.

(I taught Kindergarten for a day and still have nightmares about it, lol.  To all the primary teachers out there – I am not worthy.  You are amazing.  Poem inspired by a recent dream, and written in the spirit of this week’s challenge:  recipe. Challenge is open all week – would love it if you joined in.)

blogging · creativity · culture · education · poetry · writing

Problematic

“You’re an enigma”
mother would tsk,
ushering me out of the door,
brown bag lunch,
book bag dragging,
to catch a ride across town

a special classroom –
desks pushed together
formed quads, and
walls retracted,
created one large room,
the bustle of activity
a constant

no readers here,
or math sheets,
it was free learning,
cross-curricular,
learned about history
from novels,
math and science
through applications,
wrote poetry,
read Shakespeare,
enacted plays,
and while some went to shop
or home economics,
I tackled Mensa puzzles

we debated
current affairs,
grew a social conscience,
progressed individually

“Men don’t like smart women,”
was all my mother could say,
shaking her head with disgust
at this daughter, who spouted
politics with her father, and
whose career goals,
prepubescent,
aspired beyond the 3 k’s.

(Penned for dVerse, hosted tonight by Amaya Engleking.  I’ve also snuck in Daily Addictions prompt:  enigma.)

adversity · blogging · creativity · education · poetry · relationships · writing

The Boy in 3C

He like to walk across desktops,
bright eyes filled with challenge,
a shock of unkempt blond tuffs
lending a distinctly menacing air.

Had him for three classes a day,
and plentiful as my patience could be,
I must say, I was stretched –
searching for a suitable approach

He was all brawn, you see,
and I, nearing fifty, body frail,
was ill-equipped to deal with blows,
and besides, his ostentatious behaviour

netted me plenty of sympathy,
his classmate no more impressed
than I, my colleagues deeming him
incorrigible – surely, a lost cause.

And yet, I saw in him a wayward self,
glimpses of such anger and pain
as I had known in youth, and I
appealed to my own longing

assigned him helping tasks,
befriended the notorious lad,
inviting another side, appealing
to a scarred vulnerability

Stellar progress we made –
he passing every class, aiming
to remedy his days, and then
we let our guards down

Neither of us prepared for
the downside of success –
he, mired in unworthiness
slipped back into old ways

drank himself into a stupor,
arrived at school wielding
a pellet gun, waving his weapon
at unsuspecting peers, stirring

mass mayhem, and as they
took him away in handcuffs,
he called my name, “I love you”
echoing through the stunned halls.

(Written for Fandango’s Word of the Day: ostentatious, Ragtag Communities: stellar, and Daily Addictions: plentiful.

The boy depicted did manage to complete his school year, with the help of school administration and lessons provided by yours truly.  After high school, he went into social work, a field I think he will thrive in, given his background.  There is always more to the story, and there is always hope.)

blogging · creativity · culture · education · poetry · writing

Rain, Like a Typewriter

Rain tap, tap, taps
on our tin box roof,
like a typewriter

rhythmically transcribing
today’s lesson

“Erect postures,
elbows at ninety degrees,
fingers poised, ready,
and go…fff…ggg…”

the old machines
weighing heavily on my soul
disrupting my sense of self –
aspirations more esteemed
than stenographer, or secretary –
mother’s answer to securing a suitable man

“Target 125 words/minute,
accuracy counts”
keys tangle
stick
ribbon collapsing
whiteout highlighting
my fallibility
I seethe

rail against learning
a skill redundant for a scholar –
math and psychiatry in sight –

Tap, tap, tap
the rain pummels now
thunderous applause
as two crows cackle
hysterical mockery
such shortsightedness

as if teenage minds
can conceive of the future
as if I might have foreseen
the emergence of computers
machinery insinuating
itself into the crux
of human existence

Had to lie, in the end
post-secondary life
demanding accurate skills –
faked it till I made it.

(Inspiration by:
Weekend Writing Prompt #59: typewriter (149 words)
Daily Addiction:  accurate
Ragtag Community’s daily prompt:  target.)

education · Family · life · poetry · recovery

History Lesson

Adolescence holds lessons,
I failed to absorb, the leap
into adulthood premature.

Have a son of my own now,
wish to guide him to solace,
help him to settle into a place

where the sky is prominent,
teach him to live without
walls, proud and confident

but I fear the price is too steep
that he will not manage the cost,
recognize that the legacy lives on

that he too has been thrust into
adulthood, a product of his mother’s
failure – an example poorly set.

education · health · ME/ CFS · poetry

#TimeForUnrest

Anxiety, like fog, closes in
suffocates, I gasp, fight for air –
this disease so pervasive, lungs
spasm, panic multiplies; help!

Tests, drugs – all speculative,
experimental – symptoms persist
absent treatment protocols, a cure;
so much ignorance, uncertainty

Lie down, they say, refer me
to psychology as if immobility
and exhaustion are tricks of mind,
an overactive emotional imagination.

I am sentenced to seclusion, sensory
deprivation, muscles, nerves, immunity
all defunct, cells failing to produce energy –
a lifeless, inert blob, cognition failing.

But I am not alone; millions of others,
also missing, untreated, abandoned –
but not giving up – Can you hear us?
grief oozing from our pours, unwilling

to be further shamed into silence –
our suffering may be invisible, our
voices weak, but the warriors among us
are beginning to speak – please listen!

(ME/CFS is a debilitating disease that affects millions worldwide.  Absence of funding restricts much needed research.  Not enough is known about this disease to help the many bedridden or homebound.  It affects people of all ages, including children.  In Canada, there are no treatment options, and often medical personnel are not educated about the disease, which can lead to harmful interventions.

Jennifer Brea has become the voice of ME/CFS due to her recent documentary, Unrest.  She can also be found on TedTalks, discussing the implications of having a disease not recognized in medical circles.  Unrest is an awarding winning documentary that sheds light on this disease.   It is apparently being shown on PBS Monday, January 8th.  It’s also available through iTunes.

Please watch.  If you or a loved one suffers from this disease, or any other mystery illness, the film may just trigger new understanding.  If you are a medical professional who has not heard of the disease, the documentary is very informative.)

education · life · passion · poetry

Always a Teacher

Set me on the open road,
encourage me to cross borders;
I am hungry for knowledge,
to hear a higher calling.

Cannot tolerate chained-to-
chairs education, imposed
immobility, socratic hierarchy
demanding conformity

spoon-fed compliance –
am too much my father’s
daughter, born rebellious
unable to mold myself
to prescribed slots

would rather initiate
discussion, engage, listen –
let shoes emote, tell their
story, develop compassion

never felt more than a visitor
in institutions, marks adequate
but brain absent, spirit numbed –
more punishment for delinquency
than awakening.

How can we convey the future,
instill optimism in prospects,
when the language of education
is secondary to how students
communicate in real-time?

Minds are energetic, curiosity
a given, youth crave elevation,
opportunity, measure themselves
against a system defined by rows.

How can I cross this barrier
of disability, open the dialogue
to ignite passions, propel learning
to open road scenarios, encourage
minds to cross borders?

(Reposted from December, 2106 in response to The Daily Post prompt:  calling.  Teaching, I’ve always believed to be my calling – loved it passionately, until I had to give it up in 2014 due to ME/CFS)

 

adversity · culture · education · passion · poetry

A Call To Teach

They set up classrooms in malls,
call them “alternative”, cater to
those who have fallen through
proverbial cracks, teens unfit
for institutional learning…

I was wayward once, could not
value education while teenage
angst pushed me overboard –
home life too quixotic for
reasonable expectations of
comportment …

My heart reaches out
to those displaced, for whom
common curriculum does not gel –
I long to meet with them on concrete
benches, over cups of Tim Horton’s
lending a sympathetic ear…

School is not the defining moment
the last stop before our final destination;
it is a stepping stone, one of many paths
that lead to discovery, to definition,
troubled souls crave soothing…

maybe, if I could light a torch
for just one child, build a bridge
of hope, the girl in me would be
quieted, reassured, healed –
validation ensuring a future for all.

(Image: classroom.synonym.com)