I doubt I’ll ever grow tired of teaching poetry. I’ve mentioned before how much I love working with the 3rd/4th graders each week. It’s the last thread that ties me to my classroom teaching days. It took me years to let go of the idea of being a teacher and each time I am with my young poet friends, I realize I will never not be a teacher. Today confirmed that. Today’s topic, however, wasn’t poetry, it was blogging.
When I heard each of the kids was going to start a blog through kidblog.org, I jumped on the opportunity to talk about blogging. Personally, blogging and poetry are closely connected. In fact, each blog, in a sense, has become an extended weekly poem. As I prepared for my hour of teaching, I decided to start by making a list of where and how I find ideas for my blog. Just as I do for poetry. I looked through my string of blog posts from this year and came up with this list:
• articles or quotes I read (often sent by others)
• a photograph I’ve taken (of frozen drips, the riverbank of my home town, morning cloud formations)
• something a person said to me
• an event that happens every year (Halloween carnival, Solstice Celebration, graduation)
• an unexpected event (finding a snakeskin on my walk, discovering purple cauliflower, two cancer diagnoses)
• things I notice on the playground (hail, a pirate ship, toddlers digging in the dirt)
• school projects (nutrition weeks, trash mural, food drive)
For almost an hour we talked through the list, went on to discuss blogging etiquette and explored how to respond to someone else’s writing. Somewhere in there I mentioned that finding ideas for blogging isn’t really that different from being a poet. I asked, “What do you have to do to be a good blogger or poet?” One of the students replied, “You have to notice things.” That you do. Additionally, there is also a flexibility required with having an idea about where I think a piece might go and then allowing it to take its own direction. For example, I’ve been thinking about presence lately, and was reminded of being in the present moment by the extraordinary cactus bloom in our front yard. I would have missed it if I hadn’t been in my noticing state of mind. I had a plan to write about presence and then along came the talk about blogging.
My final comment to the kids was that I had to go work on my blog. As I started to leave the room, I heard this question: “Hey, Mary, are you going to write your blog about teaching us about blogging?” My noticing mind recognized this as yet another invitation to experience the present moment, not surprisingly offered by one of the noticers with whom I surround myself each and every day.