New School Year

At dusk, the lines in my empty classroom begin to blur.
Sharpened pencils sit tips up ready for young people
to link traces of their heart to lined white paper.

Summer’s recipe for cracking wide that reading gap
is forgiven as Septemberโ€™s essentials start piling in:
bulletin boards, journals, and a teacher who dares

to break through fences that separate students
exposing the chains that bind and connect us.
A rose is a rose, and stories change lives.

Operator me, must hook kids into books
and link up discussions between readers
feeding a muse they havenโ€™t yet met.

We build a scaffold for story connected and pulled,
written without fear of judgment or grade
written simply for the joy of linking hearts

to words on page.

Brenda Warren 2012

School starts Wednesday, and I’ve been readying my classroom and my spirit. It will be a great year.

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55 thoughts on “New School Year

  1. Great poem. I wish you plenty of good luck for the new year. But admit it, there’s always one student, you wish you could whack along the head with a book ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  2. I teach college students and this feels very similar. Translating excitement and educating at the same time. Loved how you pulled the words together. “And stories change lives.” Loved that. Good luck with your first day. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Ah, you teach junior high school, the toughest to teach, and kids with issues, though maybe they are more rewarding to teach then the regular junior high school kids.

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    • While I didn’t struggle academically, my impulse control was (and often still is) almost non-existent. My relationship with the prinicipal was strong, but built on visits to his office for disrupting classes. LoL He still liked me, and I knew it. Every student needs someone who they believe likes them. I can relate to my students…and I LIKE them. And yes, it is extremely rewarding when I can reach them.

      Thank you for your support of my work, and my real life job, too. I appreciate you, Willow. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. What lucky students you have. I had asked are you eager for the new school year to begin? Obviously you are a true teacher and definitely eager. I think they are blessed to have a poet for a teacher, but also blessed in general, from your poem. Not only a wonderful teacher but a wonderful poet, and a wonderful poem, and you care to enlighten them.

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  5. I love that you are a teacher! I have been amazed at the amount of people to whom I’m drawn turn out to be teachers. I retired seven years ago; my last years were spent in first grade. I retired still loving what I did. What grade do you teach?

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    • Thank you for your kindness, Norma. I teach 7th and 8th grade students who struggle with reading. My job is to close the gap between them and their grade level peers. It’s not easy, but it is so rewarding. My school is on the right track. I’m proud to work where I do. Please do join us i writing at The Sunday Whirl. We’d love to have you along for the journey.

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  6. What a perfect portrait of that pause before the school year begins. I love the repetition of the word “link” in this context – its really what teaching and learning is all about — linking, connecting. I especially loved “link traces of their heart to lined white paper.”

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  7. Blessings and good luck as you begin another school year! I have great admiration for all teachers. Your job is so important: preparing the young people of today to guide the world tomorrow. Your last stanza is spectacular:
    “We build a scaffold for story connected and pulled,
    written without fear of judgment or grade
    written simply for the joy of linking hearts

    to words on page.”

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  8. Brenda, this is lovely. I especially like the last four lines of this, you have said what I have always felt . Your children are quite fortunate to have such a dedicated teacher. You rock! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Pamela

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    • Thank you, Pamela. I hope your year with children goes (is going) well. If we can get them to write freely, the academic writing isn’t so hard to pull out of them. LoL (in a perfect world?…)

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  9. The excitement of a new school year with a returning group – wonderful. My DIL starts tomorrow, she teaches 4th grade. Definitely an Operator ‘Extraordinaire’ – Indeed we are in general to be lucky to have teachers who love their jobs. Through online – I met a gent who teaches in overseas – he introduce the short poetic form of Elfje (Dutch 11 word verse) to his class and got some of his quiet students to ‘open-up’. It is those little spark moments that really make a difference.

    You were my inspiration double this week…
    http://julesgemsandstuff.blogspot.com/2012/08/sw-71-how-to-serve-man-11-b-10.html

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  10. I chuckled at the idea of teacher as an ‘operator,’ but it IS true. A teacher must do a lot of operating behind the scenes and in front of them to keep kids interested and in tow. Definitely important to break through those fences that separate students & hopefully to help each child meet his muse. A fine write here, Brenda. Have a good school year.

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    • Thank you, Mary, I appreciate your impressions. It’s a big “hopefully,” but several of my students should have “aha” experiences as writers this year. Last year laid the ground work…this year they might manipulate those phrases and clauses more naturally….generalizing into their free writes. Thanks for your wishes for a good year. I have high hopes and expectations this year.

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  11. Ahhhh, the first day of school. I remember I always wanted to wear something new, something darker, and warm, although where I came from the first day of school, could have been the hottest day of the year. The excitment of learning!

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  12. I love this, Brenda. This time of year I still get excited like I did when teaching. I think it never leaves you, the thrill of a new year. I hope it’s a great one. Thanks for Friday night. I had a blast!

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    • Me too, Laurie, even if it did have you seeing double, and triggered ADHD in all of the participants. LOL I appreciate your comments, and your wishes for the upcoming year. Thanks.

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  13. Loving “At dusk, the lines in my empty classroom begin to blur.” Blessings as you share “the muse they have not met.” And thank you for continuing to share your talents with all of us here on the Sunday Whirl.

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  14. Oh, I love that you’re so happy and that you love what you do…teachers like you are who made the difference when I was there. Thank you…

    That aside this stanza:

    “Operator me, must hook kids into books
    and link up discussions between readers
    feeding a muse they havenโ€™t yet met.”

    held the epitome for me!!

    Great wordling!!

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    • Thanks Hannah! Yup…I’d say that’s the epitome. This piece is about free writing. Of all of the writing my students do, their free writing is the most fun to read. And this year, I’m starting with kids I had last year, so the trust is already built. Oh boy, do they tell good stories!

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  15. Without you teachers, where would this world be. I always thought that maybe I might have been a good history teacher but, who knows. Chloe (my 16 y/o) has decided that is what she wishes to be. I’ll do anything to help make it happen. Always thought that teaching kids, when they ‘get’ what you are trying to convey and the light comes on must seem like a bit of magic to the teacher who sees that they haven’t just passed on necessary knowledge but, have shared the magic in that bond between the teaching and the learning. Magic!
    Loved this Brenda!

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    • Go Chloe!! Teaching is definitely an art. This will be my 10th year in the classroom, and I finally feel like I’ve got a bit of a handle on the “art” part of it. I do love the middle school beast. LoL

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  16. I love this. I can really feel the classroom and the anticipation. and the love teachers must have of their work and their subject .

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