Sunday, October 23, 2016

Danielle Ganley
Mama said there would be days like this....


I may have serendipitously stumbled upon one of the best days of my teaching career three years ago. Not a lights turn green as you roll up to the intersection-coffee is fresh and warm-first parking spot available-kind of good day, but rather one that is nothing short of transformative and magical.  A day that may come so rarely and one that needs to be reflected upon in order to see its true value.  I do fear that even upon reflection, some of that magic will be missed, a comment not heard, a line of poetry unsaid, a student's thoughts not fully captured.  But even with those fears facing me,  I still feel a call to ruminate and reflect on the magic and mystery of it all.  


The day began with a simple email from a student. She asked if I might consider showing a slam poem video on YouTube. The student covered all her bases by suggesting that we could review technique and also explore the classes view on the poet.  The title of the piece was I love learning but hate education.  This was the intro to our poetry unit and the day that will be stamped on my teaching passport forever.  There was something housed in that request, in that video, in that room and in the darkness that spun magic.  Students connected with that video, the message and the medium.  We talked for 80 minutes.  We laughed.  We cried.  Okay, I cried. Just me. But there were tears.  We talked about what we love about learning and what we hate about school.  We connected.  I can close my eyes right now and immediately see the young man who pulled me aside at the end of class and told me he wanted to be a poet.  He said he didn’t know it was a job.  Until this day.  I see the angry girl who never handed a thing in, who never spoke to me, who never showed up…. I saw her hang by the door and shove something in my hands.  Her book of poetry.  She placed her ideas and dreams in my hands with explicit directions to NOT SHOW ANYONE and give it back by noon.  


See? Stuff of dreams.   My kids were connecting and building and dreaming over poetry. The poetry had brought them comfort and connection.  Poetry has always brought me that and we were sharing in the love of words together. Finally, I shared something with my students.  I have always cherished a line of poetry that has brought me great solace over the years. David Whyte's poem entitled "sweet darkness"  has a line that resonates with me,


anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.


Ever so often a moment becomes magical, transformative and reminds you why you were meant to be on the earth. This day reminds that poetry can bring you alive and can be overwhelming large and welcoming.  

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