Haiku #10

As an alternative means of capturing my thoughts and reflections, I’ve been writing haiku about my teaching practice. This is the tenth post in the series.

As a teacher, I cherish every summer, but this one reached another level of appreciation. This one came on the heels of the most chaotic and unpredictable school year ever. A year I was thankful to survive, it left me hurting. By June, my wounds were throbbing. I was a fulfilled educator who had been hollowed out by remote learning. At the end of it all, I wasn’t even a teacher anymore. Like a fish out of water, I gasping for air until the very last day.

And so, I used this summer to simply breathe. To inhale deep and exhale slow, to breathe in ways that would help me heal. My breaths took many forms. Family getaways. Personal escapes. Great books. Reflective PDs. Lazy days at the park. Brisk laughter. Engrossed writing. Forgetting the day of the week.

The air has never felt as sweet or as full of life as it has this summer. The scars from last year will always be there, but I am restored.

It’s seems fitting that on my unofficial last day of summer, I write a haiku to pay tribute to the last two months of my life.

Summer of justice
Giving back what was taken
A teacher once more


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Haiku #9

As an alternative means of capturing my thoughts and reflections, I’ve been writing haiku about my teaching practice. This is the ninth post in the series.

In a brief exchange with a respected colleague on Zoom last week, I was reminded of the bullheaded distance that has fractured my relationships this fall. We had just left another meeting just minutes before and found ourselves in a breakout. Before Covid we saw each other often, but to cross paths now is a rarity. My colleague acknowledged this Zoom recency as a pleasant surprise, but it did nothing for me. These days our meetings are merely scheduled conversations filled with unfeeling To Do Lists. They are absent of just about everything else, which is to say, everything that matters. Our pleasant surprise was nothing more than the usual.

This haiku is my frail attempt to capture this moment and the many others just like it.

A numb agenda
A link straining to be more
We part strangers still



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Haiku #8

As an alternative means of capturing my thoughts and reflections, I’ve been writing haiku about my teaching practice. This is the eighth post in the series.

Over the last few years, the relationship I have with my students has changed a lot. It’s evolved into something more honest, vulnerable, and aware than ever before. This haiku captures a recent exchange I had with a student and is a testimony to my growth in connecting with my kids.

Voice, email, then zoom
One hundred twenty minutes
You becoming you


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Haiku #7

As an alternative means of capturing my thoughts and reflections, I’ve been writing haiku about my teaching practice. This is the seventh post in the series.

A few years ago I was at a book fair and learned about blackout poetry. It’s a form of poetry where the poet takes an article or other piece of writing and removes — or blacks out — a bunch of its text. The words that remain after all of the crossing out is the resulting “blackout poem.”

I’ve never written blackout poetry, but I find the idea fascinating and want to create some not using newspaper or magazine articles, but my blogposts. Since I’ve been into haiku for awhile, why not double up and make my first few blackout poems haiku? My blog, my rules!

To play off the syllabic structure of haiku (5-7-5), I will attempt to write three “blackout haiku” using my 5th, 12th (5+7), and 17th (5+7+5) blog posts. This post features my 5th blog post, which I published on September 14, 2014. It details a classroom economy that I have long since abandoned, but still think is pretty interesting. Here is my blackout of the post:

My resulting “blackout” haiku:

find the little things
earn love, tally how much sums
no tax to mimic

I really appreciated the process, but subtracting that much text to get down to 17 syllables was surprisingly hard. You would think that you would have so much to choose from that’d it be easy! No, no, no. There was lots of combing through, counting, simplifying my ideas, and then recounting. Despite the challenge, the simplicity and structure of haiku is why I’m drawn to it, so I guess that’s why I getting rid of so much text. Food for thought: I was conflicted on whether I wanted the poem to reflect a compact version of the original blogpost or be something independent, which is what it turned out to be. It would have been interesting to go the other route.


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