Category Archives: poems

For teachers who taught in the pandemic year, 2020-2021

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on photo site, Unsplash

I shared this poem with our team of teachers gathered this week for the Middle Grades Institute, but really, it is for all teachers who taught in this pandemic year.

We cannot begin this, this 28th year of MGI, w/o acknowledging that this year was different than any other year in so many ways. Before we really get into our work this week, we wanted to take a few moments and recognize the monumental efforts you put forth this school year.

Here is a poem for you, for us, teachers who taught in the pandemic year, 2020-2021.

You showed up
with your body
and your mind
and your heart
day in and day out
while most of the world
worked safely at home.

You showed up
when unprotected
and uncertain
that you or your family
would be safe.

When the ground beneath your feet
shifted everyday.
Your feet searching for purchase
and sand pouring between your toes
as you tried to stand up.

You showed up
smiled and greeted
elbow bumped and air high fived
you questioned and encouraged
and you read aloud books
your throat sore
your voice muffled.

You wiped down tables
and markers
you ate lunch in your car
or in the hallway
or in the utility closet.

You did this every day
until many nights
you could only sit on the couch
and stare.

You showed up
making facial expressions
as hard as you could
with just your eyes
and you wore that mask
for 7 hours at a time
while the rest of the world
complained about wearing them
for 5 minutes in the gas station.

You showed up
as families changed
nerves frayed
kids cried or acted out
and you let them know
that you were there with them.
They were not alone.

You advocated and emailed.
You knew who needed food
and who needed help with the first steps
and who might just need to say hi.
You lost sleep and had laughs.

You planned remote, hybrid, in person lessons
with new tools and new skills and deep breaths
and followed up when you didn’t see a student
for days.

Then you STILL went grocery shopping
took care of parents, children, neighbors, partners.
You missed birthdays and vacations and reunions
managing your own disappointments
and helping others with theirs.

You did first shift, second shift, third shift.
While trying to care of the delicate bird
of your mind
keeping fear at bay

sometimes.

You showed up. In all the ways you could.
Every. Single. Day. All Year. Long.
It was monumental and heroic and held up the world.

(I wish you rest and joy and rejuvenation
and family and love and all good things this summer
and may it protect and heal you.)

(And I know the teacher as hero trope is problematic in so many ways, but I couldn’t help it here.)

A Poem, Skiing Under the Lift and Passion Projects with Equity

Welcome to 2019. I know it’s a little late, but’s here’s a poem to welcome you into the year.

So much snow! It has been a tad bit chilly here in Vermont, but the snow has been simply magical, and we are going to get walloped again Saturday night.

Speaking of snow, here is a post I put up on Thrive Global’s Medium publication, called Skiing Under the Lift. I hope you will join me in metaphorically skiing under the lift– living your passions no matter who is watching– a little bit more.

I also just posted this about how to make sure educators are promoting equity in their passion or genius projects, so we don’t simply reproduce the inequity of resources that our students might face. This was so clear in Ann Braden’s new book, The Benefits of Being an Octopus, which features Zoe, a girl living in poverty (like so many of our students) in Vermont.

Hoping your 2019 is off to a good start!

You Do You: a collection of essays about raising strong girls

It’s been a week that was many years long.

via GIPHY

One thing is clear. We have a lot of work to do to dismantle the culture of sexism that we are raising our kids in.  It’s each of our responsibilities to challenge the gender stereotypes, toxic masculinity, and rape culture that persists at the highest levels in our institutions. One way to do this is to provide our kids with books that showcase women and girls sharing their stories, perspectives, voices and experiences. Luckily, we now have a new book that does just THAT, across generations, out just this week. I’m proud to have a poem in this new anthology.

You Do You is the sixth book in the New York Times best selling I Just Want to Pee Alone series, which has tackled a variety of topics since 2012 – including parenthood, relationships, and the cult of female perfection – all with a broad range of voices, from the cynical, to the ugly-cry, to the outright hilarious. Continue reading