Distance Learning is the New Poetry for Students and Sometimes Poetry is Big Sighs
By Riley, ACE Poetry Contest Mascot, assisted by Martha Sessums, ACE President, still working on keeping her keyboard clean from pawprints
We’re grounded. That’s what this shelter-in-place feels like.
It’s like I got busted for having fun. Busted for going through the gate that John left open, exploring the hood, hanging out with my dog buddies and chasing a few squirrels. Now I’m stuck at home and my dog buddies aren’t even on Zoom.
But it’s hard for everyone, especially you students that have to stay at home and do distance learning. I’m proud to say that the schools that ACE is involved with have done an amazing job supporting the new school techniques, but it’s hard. Not only is it about curriculum, but about getting connected too.
The Oakland School District (that’s where Oakland International High School (OIHS) is a member) is working hard at supporting students. Sailaja Suresh, Senior Director, School Operations, said, “We’re trying to do what we can to support our students at this time . . . to make sure we can get Chromebooks and hotspots to all our students, in addition to financial assistance. It’s really becoming clearer each day how critical it was for our students to have a physical place to be each day with their community. I sincerely hope we find a way back to some kind of normal in the fall.”
Sharing poetry can be a community that may not be physical – that place to be each day, like school – but can be a personal place where feelings can be shared. It’s okay to share fears, worries, hardships, confusion, high stress. It’s okay to let it out, like I do when I jump up and down and bark. Arf, arf, arf.
It’s also okay to admit that all this change is making it hard to focus. In particular, it can be hard to stay focused on learning. I have it easy. I’m a dog and my lessons were “stay,” “sit,” “come.” Okay, mostly “no” which is still hard for me.
But poetry comes from inside and doesn’t have to rhyme. It’s just showing an intensity of feelings and ideas at your own rhythm. It’s a type of distance learning that you can get really close to.
Today’s poems are from the OIHS 12th Graders. Their teacher had students submit videos a couple of weeks ago expressing their feelings about sheltering in place and created a great video. Students talk about what we are all feeling – that our lives have changed and we are all dealing with it, but in the end we need to help each other and be better people. Check it out. It really is poetry, even the big sighs.
Next week is the last week of National Poetry Month and April 30 is Poem in Your Pocket Day where we share a favorite poem. We can’t share poems in person unless we social distance, but there will be some fun online sites I’ll share. Plus, ACE Poetry Contest Winners will start to be announced, so look for great poetry.
Have a great weekend everyone. And treat yourself to a poem.