One Child, One Teacher, One Book, One Pen Can Change the World

I always loved English because whatever human beings are, we are storytellers. It is our stories that give a light to the future.  So says Nikki Giovanni in her prose poem, “In Praise of a Teacher.

Last week’s ‘Words’ had a lot to do with teachers and stories and books and what is happening in our country when it comes to teaching and learning. There was a lot to digest. This week is much lighter fare. A couple things you might be interested in following up on, though  …. Black History Month is in full swing and there is this Very Good News from Haymarket Books.

But last and definitely not least … our next Conversation With Friends happens on Sunday, February 26th at 4pm PST when we’ll be talking with another of my very favorite companions in rascality, Chelsea King.  In addition to serving as Chair of the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board, Chelsea is a gifted writer and communication coach known for her heart-centered conflict mediation work, her recent run for State Senate, co-founding of the Wilsonville Alliance for Inclusive Communities, and the very exciting, soon-to-be-announced Oregon Health & Education Collaborative. Almost young enough to be my granddaughter, this woman is a force to be reckoned with! 

Last week I asked you to take a look at the two essays Chelsea wrote for Oregon Humanities, “A Remedy for Disruption”, about what is happening with school boards and “They Belong to Themself”, a piece in which, as a parent, she reminds us that … we do not possess the intellect, identity, or sexuality of our children. We are only witnesses to their journeys.

So, if you love books and words and schools and libraries, and support the teaching of critical thinking and CRT, and teachers and librarians, and children, regardless of their packaging, you will not want to miss our Conversation With Friends on Sunday, February 26th at 4pm PSTHere’s the link.

And if you need a refresher course in why real teachers who love their work are so important, here’s a poem by Brad Aaron Modlin.

What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade

Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,

how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took
questions on how not to feel lost in the dark

After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s

voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you had forgotten to do something else—

something important—and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted

Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,

and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.

The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.

And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation
look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,

and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person

add up to something.

Published by Sulima Malzin

This 'Aging Rascal & Occasional Writer' invites you to embrace the world through her open window of poetry, art, activism, music, and humor.

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I just wanted to thank you for sharing the song All Will Be Well, last week! I have marinated in it all week while dealing with a cold. I’ve shared it with others,too. It has been a pleasant brain worm for me, and medicine for others.

Thank YOU, dear Barbara! I love your idea of ‘marinating’ in the music & hope your cold is waaay better as a result of it.

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