A couple of days ago an amazing thing happened in my year 8 English class. The kids were doing their poetry Oral Presentations, where they have to pick a poem (either from a list we give them or from anywhere) and analyse it, identifying at least 4 poetic techniques and saying what effect the poet was aiming for in the reader. They start off by reading the poem aloud.
Steph got up to read her poem. She chose Auden’s ‘Stop the Clocks’. She moved to the front of the room, got out her papers and said, “I chose this poem because it reminds me of a person very close to me who died.” Then she started reading.
She got about half way through and then she suddenly lost it. Her voice wavered, her eyes crinkled up and she stopped talking. She looked over at me and said, “I can’t do it.”
Oh no, I thought.
“Yes you can,” I said calmly. The rest of the class fell silent, as they always do whenever anything like this happens. She was looking at me, with tears threatening to fall. She tried to begin again but couldn’t get the words out.
“Just turn around and face the wall,” I said. I was keeping my voice very cool and controlled, but inside I was wondering if she really could go through with it. I so wanted her (and the others) to learn that it’s ok to feel really intense emotions but it’s also possible to push through them and not let them stop you from getting the job done.
She turned around to the wall and got herself back into the zone.
“When you’re ready, turn around, focus on the speech you’re going to deliver and bring it home. You can do this.”
She turned around and delivered one of the best speeches of the day. It was heartfelt, detailed and spot-on with all the criteria she had to fill. When she finished the class gave her a huge round of applause.
As she was going to her seat I said to them, “We just saw a real example of courage and backbone. It would’ve been really easy for Steph to give up and sit back down and not do it. Now, I have no idea who she was thinking of when she wrote this speech, but what she delivered today was an absolute tribute to that person. She did them proud.” The class all clapped like mad again.
Sometimes I just love teaching. Even more than usual.
Tonight I deliver a thermomix to a reader of this blog *hello Ilona!* and on Sunday I deliver another one to another reader *hello Sam!*
Pudgy the chook likes glace cherries. That makes me happy because I don’t. Waste not, want not.
Now I’m off to make some soap, muck out the henhouse and buy a tiara. Bye!