April is poetry month. I love poetry, even though I've had a troubled past with poetry in school. The words never showed me the same meaning that they showed to everyone else. Instead of celebrating my creativity and original viewpoint, instead of asking me how I came to that conclusion, I was told that I was wrong. This professor told me, "That's not what the poet meant." She wrote it on papers. I felt like I was never able to really get it.
That feeling of ineptitude continues to live deep inside of me, even though my love for poetry is stronger. Sometimes, I feel like a fraud when it comes to poetry. I fear being told how wrong I am. It's like that professor was trying to come between me and poetry, instead of creating a true love for us. I was there and willing to do the work.
This professor taught me a valuable lesson. Building the passion and love for reading and writing is my most important job as a teacher. When students love books and words, they are willing and eager to learn the nuts and bolts of these things. If they are coming from a deficit, always believing that they aren't good enough, the relationship shuts down and valuable learning can't truly happen.
That professor didn't teach me poetry. She showed me the dangers of deficit teaching. I'm grateful that my love for poetry survived and I'm grateful to her for helping mold the teacher I am today.
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.