Because I have had a passion, a true passion, for teaching, I still reflect upon my students, our experiences together, what they have given me and what I hope I have given them. I wrote poetry about teaching and students occasionally while still in the classroom because, of course, I write of what I have experienced in life, what I have found important. As I’ve developed as a writer, I have realized that my poetry is rooted in life, real life, my own experiences and the experiences of those I have known. My posts tend be about particular reflections of the moment. I usually then share a poem that I find significant and revelatory of the inspiration of my reflection. Sometimes I also share actual prompts that I have used over years of teaching creative writing and mentoring young writers and even within a writers group. There we all discuss prompts as springboards to creative writing that may go far afield of the prompt. In all these cases the prompt usually does exactly what we hope for, it prompts ideas that will then flow where they will with words we did not know we would find from within us.
I think all of us as writers do write about our passions in life at some point. We are such a diverse group of individuals, within a community of writers, including online, we tend to learn one another’s to a certain extent. One of mine is teaching. I am a teacher. Yes, I have retired from my beloved classroom. But I still work with people, sometimes young people. I am a teacher. I will always in the core of my being be a teacher. It has been one of my greatest joys. I am grateful.
I’ve spoken to several close friends who are teachers, or like me, retired teachers. For me, and for some, we have spoken of a special kind of love we have for students. I call it teacherly love. Not every teacher feels this. It is not parental, familial, or friendship. For me, teaching adolescents was so very special. They are on the cusp of adulthood, but just learning who they are. Sometimes I think I have hints of who they will become. By that age, I could see their potential, their character, their struggles with identity, the issues they wrestled with and probably would continue to wrestle with for some time. I loved them. Not of course, as I love my own children, as I know my own children. But I have loved these students with the singular, indescribable love that a teacher can have, a hope that their journey through life will be good, and a hope that I may have contributed something of value to at least some of them.
Having reflected recently on these things, in two separate posts, I’m sharing two poems I wrote several years ago. Both have been published in a teacher anthology. One is titled Listen, and the other is title In Passing