Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November 3: Education, Mr. N., Robert Hass, "Selected Haiku by Issa," Off the Top of My Head

She sometimes gave a talk about what hard work would get someone, and the kids either responded by clapping or they shouted insults, the most common being, "Oh yeah, if education is so good for you, than what are you doing here?"  Because to some of them being there was the worst thing in the world.  And sometimes the kids laughed at her and cursed, or they stared at her blankly and she'd realized that many of them did not speak or understand English.

Annie Ives substitute teaches in New York City.  Often, she faces a classroom filled with hostile inner city kids who simply aren't interested in anything she says, if they understand what she's saying at all.  Annie has ideals, believes she can make a difference in the lives of her students. 

Recently, I have reconnected with one of my favorite middle school teachers, a kind man who taught science.  In the classroom, Mr. N. was funny and inspiring.  He made the natural sciences interesting for a kid who read poetry and idolized Charles Dickens.  To this day, archaeology, astronomy, biology, and geology appear in many of my poems and essays and stories, and I have Mr. N. to thank for that.

So, if you haven't guessed it yet, I am giving thanks for teachers who inspired me as a kid.  In a recent e-mail, I told Mr. N. how important he was in my life.  He wrote back, "In teaching, the rewards aren't always immediate and don't always make the news/TV etc., but they sure make you feel like your life commitment was worthwhile."

I can only hope that, as a teacher, I have touched the lives of my students in the way that Mr. N. touched mine. 

Thank you, Mr. N., for making Saint Marty a better person.

Selected Haiku by Issa

by:  Robert Hass

Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house

New Year's Day—
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.

The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.

Goes out,
comes back—
the love life of a cat.

Mosquito at my ear—
does he think
I'm deaf?

Under the evening moon
the snail
is stripped to the waist.

Even with insects—
some can sing,
some can't.

All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
killing mosquitoes.

Napped half the day;
no one
punished me!

Off the Top of My Head

No comments:

Post a Comment