“Poems… Nah”: When Students Surprise You


The poem above I got as part of a poetry portfolio from a young lady in my first period class this past Wednesday. The portfolio required these students to produce eight poems: a sonnet, two haiku, narrative, dramatic, lyric, free verse, and an acrostic. Upping the difficulty is the requirement that each poem had to employ no less than four poetic/sound or literary devices. (A difficult task in a haiku I assure you.) The poem you see above was not written and put into the portfolio to meet a requirement though; no, it was in addition to–it IS a poem she proudly handed to me and said, “I wrote an extra poem. Just so you know.”


Right? The best part of teaching some days is the surprises students bring to class with them some days. The bigger picture here, and all I’ll say about me sharing this with you all, is we never know what we will teach that students will latch onto, and sometimes we limit those opportunities by having closed criteria and objectives for students to achieve. This young lady reminded me the value in keeping assignments open, rigorous, and student-centered.


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