Prompt: Write a poem consisting entirely of things you would like to say, but never would, to a parent, lover, sibling, child, teacher, roommate, best friend, mayor, president, corporate CEO, etc.
I know just who to send it to. It would only be better if I had become the principal and future boss to this individual. She really did damage my confidence for many years. But no longer!! I have risen above that memory and moved forward with gusto.
I do have some things to say…
TO MY ENGLISH TEACHER
My words you critiqued
Red marks all over the page
Never pleased your eye
Discouraged I left
English my new enemy
Because you were harsh
Now in life I know
Writing brings me joy and fun
Your opinion wrong
I write for me now
Words unfiltered to the page
Genuine and true
A book I may write
Despite your view of my words
I control the pen
All Rights Reserved
From an English teacher: “Duly noted.”
It’s a very hard line to walk between inspiring kids to find a voice, express themselves, in order to use their words to find meaning in the world, and editing their work, trying to coach them to improve their use of excessive adverbs. conventional spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure.
Some kids are so sensitive that any correction is seen as criticism. Others are are able to embrace correction and develop real brilliance. Some appear to be confident when in fact they’re crushed on the inside.
My method (and I’m not sure whether it is successful) is to show my own writing, with my editor’s marks all over it, and Stephen King’s work with his own editorial marks all over it, in order to demonstrate that we all write crap in the first draft. The difference between a good writer and a bad one is often the willingness to learn how to edit. In fact, I have a sign in the front of my classroom that says, “WRITE CRAP! First drafts don’t have to be good, they just have to be written.”
I can only hope that they get that message.
See, I already want to edit that ^ lol.
I should perhaps change the title to say: To MY English Teacher. Maybe she saw potential. I’d like to truly give her the benefit of the doubt. Sadly I spent all my years after high school thinking I wasn’t any good at English because of her very negative feedback. It wasn’t until I started blogging that people began to make positive comments about my writing. In this season of life, I write because it helps me process my life. I do it for me. And (maybe this is not so good), almost everything I post is the first draft!!
I’ll add that I’d love to take some writing classes. This NaPoWriMo Poetry Challenge has been so much fun! I’m going to be sad when it’s over.