Throughout my time at Kentucky Avenue School, I have had the privilege to teach young children about different means of poetry and different ways to express emotions through words. Each week we looked at a different form of poetry and wrote about things that brought us joy and happiness. Even moments after a bad day or an event that made one of the children upset, they would take a silent moment to themselves, and after, they would draw. Scribbles upon scribbles, the children would draw…, and then they would write about what made them happy as if the moment of sadness was in the distant past.
I believe these children have taught me more than they will ever know in a short span of seven weeks. They have taught me to take that moment to breathe, to step away, and create. For the latest poetry project, I had my students create a tunnel poem where they first drew a picture and then they created four frames where they made layers for their image with a title and three lines written on top of each frame to make a haiku. One student decided to draw a picture of a whale, and as he did, he talked with me about mean people who hunt whales and people who put plastic in the ocean which harms all of the whales. Despite the conversation we were having, he wanted to illustrate the cleanest ocean for his whale, and he told me that his whale was going to fight back. So, he made his whale armor.
His haiku reads, “the whale: so graceful you swim / you glide across the water / you fight whale hunters.”
What impressed me most was how this student took a conversation we were having about the reality of the world, and he crafted a fantastical world where the whale fought back and could protect himself. I hesitate to disclose this experience as childlike innocence, but rather a child’s escapism from the reality of the world. This makes me wonder how, as I observe my high school students every day, how they might be able to escape from the reality of the world or if they have been presented the opportunity to do so. Do they want a chance to escape?
If so, how might I be able to provide an escape within my classroom?
I will continue to ponder the possible answers as I continue forward.
I thank KAS and my students for their continued support with my poetry club as my final poetry session approaches this coming week.