Haiku #11

As an alternative means of capturing my thoughts and reflections, I write haiku about my teaching practice. This is the 11th post in the series.

My students sit for their state test today, the fabled Algebra 2 Regents exam. The pandemic freed me from this calamity for two years, but today, like many things this year, it makes its return. With its reemergence comes the heart-racing build up, anxiety, and obsession on results. There is no bounce back, no retakes. It’s all or nothing. The thirty-seven problems my students will read and respond to in solitude this morning contradicts much of what I work to accomplish as a teacher. This is disheartening.

At the same time, if the length of a school year was mapped onto a football field, the three hours that the Regents exam takes up wouldn’t even amount to a yard. After so many varied experiences with my students, I refuse to give today more attention than it deserves.

This haiku attempts to carry what I’m feeling today.

Return to normal
Alone with thirty-seven
A mere three hours

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Haiku #10

As an alternative means of capturing my thoughts and reflections, I write 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 write 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 write 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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