Friday, September 10, 2021

Poetry Friday: Ode to Teachers by Pat Mora

Atticus and Betsy Ray have been back in their classrooms for a month. (Can I still call her Betsy Ray now that she's grown up, married, moved away?) As of last week, I'm back in the Brave Writer classroom, too, currently teaching "Passion for Fiction." And Ramona has been meeting new teachers now that she's started college. 

Obviously, it's time for an ode to teachers. 

This one, from Pat Mora, is so touching. The teacher in this poem is the teacher who made a difference — who listened, encouraged, and said, "Come on!/Join our conversation/let us hear your neon certainties/thorny doubts, tangled angers....”

As Clint Smith once put it, "I’ve said this before, but one of the only reasons I’m a writer is because I had a teacher in 3rd grade who looked at my poem about clouds & said 'You can be a writer when you grow up.' It stayed w/me forever. Teachers, don’t underestimate what your words can do for your students." 

Ode to Teachers 

 I remember
the first day, 
how I looked down, 
hoping you wouldn't see 


The round-up is being hosted today by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect


jama said...

Thanks for sharing Pat's poem (new to me). I've always revered and cherished teachers, but now more than ever -- since they have to battle so many other things in order to do their jobs. Like you, I remember a teacher from grade school who encouraged me with my writing and it's made all the difference.

Jone said...

I love this by Pat Mora. One of my favorites.

Linda B said...

Ah, that last with "I carry your smile/and faith inside like I carry/my dog's face,. . ." I hope I have touched some of my students like that. It is always a hope. I'm in touch with many, all grown up, some just going to college but the older ones already have babies! It is a joy being a teacher. And now, these recent months & years, I am so proud of them for continuing on, doing such hard things "along" with what they've done in other years, being a teacher! Thank you, Karen.

Alan j Wright said...

Karen, I so enjoyed reading the poem by Pat Mora that you shared. An ode indeed. I particularly found these words quite moving- 'Slowly, your faith grew into my courage.'
I will make a point of sharing this with a wider audience. it is particularly relevant right now.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

I hate the masks, but I love being back in the room, close to little children, watching them be thoroughly themselves, sending their own hearts out into the world to test whether they will be loved, accepted. It is my most important job, to send them that message, and their families too.

Thanks for putting this poem in front of me this weekend--and I'd love to know more about teaching for Brave Writer!

Elisabeth said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful (new-to-me) poem! I've bookmarked it to come back to.

Mary Lee said...

There haven't been many moments when I wanted to be back in the classroom, but reading this poem...yeah, I miss it...

Ruth said...

Love! I have the book that's in - I need to dig it out!

Karen Edmisten said...

Jama, welcome back! :) I'm so glad you're here.

Jone, Mora is new to me, and I'll be seeking out more of her poetry.

Linda, I'm sure you touched *many* students in this way over the years!

Alan, I think that's my favorite line, too.

Heidi, thanks for those thoughts. And if you want to see more about what we do at Brave Writer, check out — I've been working there part-time since 2017 and I love being a writing coach.

Elisabeth, thanks for stopping by!

Mary Lee, I imagine there will always be moments of missing the classroom, but you are also in an amazing new stage of life. :)

Ruth, her books are now on to-be-acquired list. :)

Susan T. said...

Wait, what? Ramona has started college? Oh my. Wasn't she just 8 or so yesterday?

Karen Edmisten said...

Yes! Yes, she was just 8! RECENTLY. 😁 Time scares me.