While I was teaching, people kept saying, “Write about this!” I always answered, very truthfully, “I can’t teach and write about teaching at the same time. I have this strange need to sleep every night, and what I write is poems. Short poems.”
Now, though, at a pause in my teaching career, I’m writing this blog to explore my teaching experience and figure out what it all means. The world is full and busy and loud with ideologies about what works in education. I want to revisit some real experiences that worked for real live students, and think about why and how.
I’ve always combined writing and teaching, one way or another.
I’m a member of Every Other Thursday, a long-lasting, both challenging and supportive troupe of Boston area poets. My most recent book, Pebble Leaf Feather Knife, was released by Cherry Grove Editions in 2019, and you can order it at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com. If you follow this link to my page on the Every Other Thursday site, at https://sites.google.com/site/everyotherthursdaypoetry/home/polly-brown
you’ll find more information about books, sample poems from the new book, as well as links to videos and audio recordings. You can also read a very intermittent and quirky blog I’ve written out of my poetry life, at pollybrownpoet.blogspot.com
But this blog is mostly about teaching. From 1988 through 2013, I taught at Touchstone Community School, in Grafton, Massachusetts, working mostly with 10 to 12 year old students, exploring not only reading and writing but also social studies and math and science, and some music and art around the edges. The whole universe! You can read some things I wrote for parents, while I was teaching, at http://pollybrownteacher.blogspot.com
I’ve treasured the ways both students and teachers learn in authentic classrooms, the richness students can create for each other (given the chance), and the ways all the adults involved with learning can collaborate with each other, nourishing respectfulness, joyfulness, exhilarating growth, and playfulness both wacky and sublime.
In the simultaneously wacky and sublime category, my students and I made a number of videos, and you can see some of them at my channel, hersonstone1, on YouTube.
So here I am, thinking it all over, feeling so lucky to have led both these lives, as writer and as teacher. Please join the conversation!
I like your idea of a game surrounding a miniature natural history museum guided by Holling’s comment in “Minn of the Mississippi.” In fact, let me roll with your idea and mention it (with a credit to your insights) in a future entry to my Holling blog, http://hollingcholling.blogspot.com/. Many thanks!