NATIONAL POETRY MONTH CONTINUES

I have been seeking to post a poem a day, either on this blog or on Literacy and Me, often drawing from blogging friends who are also poets. Some are funny, some inspiring, and some are. very timely dealing with the coronavirus or our current isolation. Today’s poem is on the lighter side: a limerick.

This is a limerick I found back in the 70s in a student issue of Read Magazine put out by Scholastic. I don’t even know if that valuable teacher resource is available any more, but it was a lifesaver to use with my reluctant readers in both seventh and eighth grade. Here is one that “stuck with me,” and I used once when guest lecturing at a sister university:

“There once was a student named Esser,

Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser.

It soon came to fall,

He knew nothing at all.

And now he’s a college professor!

This is by no means a put down of professors (I am one.). Instead it allows me to make the point that if we are not willing to poke fun at ourselves, we will “suffer the outrageous slings and arrows…” (to mangle Shakespeare) and we will be so stiff and uptight, taking things personally that we will be hurt and sometimes even damaged in the teaching profession. I learned in my first 18 years of teaching that junior high is “Put Down City,” and the students’ favorite target is the teacher. I remember as a young twenty-three year old, ten years older than my students, an eighth grade girl I had become close to (too close to–I didn’t know about the necessity of keeping one’s “professional distance” in those days) had shared crushes and problems at home, etc.  with me before and after class. I thought she liked me, but one day when I came into the class, she said in front of the class, “Mrs. L, does that lipstick glow in the dark?” The class had a good laugh at my expense. This is just an example of how peer pressure can cause students to make fun of even teachers they like.

I am blessed to have GenX’ers and Millennials this semester who are kinder and constantly reinforce my faith in the next stewards of our world. Many have reached out and asked how My Better Half and I have been doing and checking on us in general. It is heartening that I now have the kindness and respect I worked so hard to earn in my 51 years of classroom teaching. Hmmmmmm maybe I need to attempt a poem expressing my feelings about this. LOL

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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