Thursday, January 11, 2024

January 12, 2024

Happy Poetry Friday! Thank you, Tangles & Tails for hosting our round-up this week.

January can be a tough time of the school year. We arrive at our work in the dark and often leave as it's darkening or already dark. The string of first-semester holidays is behind us. There is serious work to do, serious tests to take, and grindstones to put our noses to.

Gray winter day

Many students are doing great. Some are struggling. This is not unusual. 

This past week I had what I thought was a fun activity for students. One student, in particular, was struggling such that they could not even find a way to put their name on their paper.

At first, I was frustrated. I was kind of taking the behavior personally. I called in a colleague who knows the student well and asked that they chat with the student--hoping it would spark some energy. The chat backfired.


School can be tough. It can feel too hard given the simultaneous internal work of growing up.

Per my usual, this student stuck with me in my thoughts. What could I have done better? What can I do better next time we meet?

This was the frame of mind I was in when I drafted the poem below. I am not in a low place personally. And, I don't want any reader to worry that there is a serious crisis brewing for me or even for the student.

I simply worked out some feelings through poetry. 


I went out into the world
not finding a single reason

to laugh

keep still

learn something new

or even try.

My mind and even my body
feel defeated

before I can begin.

I’m not happy or sad,

not angry, not confused--

just lost in such a way

that I don’t remember

how to care in any big or small way.
This is all to explain my apathy.

Linda M.
draft 1/12/24

World poem #2 is on World's padlet. We are on our way--wheeeee!


  1. Ooh, that's powerful, Linda. A great capture of apathy. "I don’t remember /
    how to care" Thank you, always, for the care you put into your interactions with your students!

  2. I feel this post. Sometimes it takes one students to spark a reminder.

  3. Thank you for this! Sometimes we all feel apathetic (or see others who are struggling to find a way to get motivated). Your poem captures that feeling perfectly!

  4. Such an all encompassing feeling of stuckness ah— time for an ocean breath or walk or… perhaps the diversion of play —play can sometimes help us when we are stuck… Thanks for your powerful poem Linda and hope for movement for all.

  5. There are those times which your poem shows so well, Linda. Sometimes, with all the turmoil in the world, even years ago when I taught, I couldn't see why anyone would be struggling from their warm, safe homes. Best wishes for you to have a healing weekend & for that student, too. A break can ease the conflict. Well done for showing your feelings in such a poignant way!

  6. Linda, it is so easy to be worried about students and try to make sense of what is happening or not. Your poem strikes a cord: "My mind and even my body/feel defeated/before I can begin." Writing helps us understand our feelings. Your cardinal poem is wonderful-simple but meaningful. Have a beautiful weekend. It is a boost to open the blinds to see a beautiful sky.

  7. Such a powerful message, Linda. Poetry can help us work through those times when we feel lost, especially in the dark days of winter. Thank you.

  8. I appreciated you heart felt poem and like and you wouldn't be an effective teacher if you didn't let student's troubles affect you. Sounds like you needed a hug after that day.

  9. Sounds like you put yourself into the student's shoes to write. Lack of motivation is such a huge issue with middle schoolers. I'm sure you did your best and you obviously care!

  10. Linda, I like how your words can be read for both your feelings and for your student's. Isn't that interesting that you both felt something similar?

  11. Man, I feel this this week! Kids have so much going on.

  12. Oh, this hits hard, Linda. You really captured so much with your words. Those beginning lines set the tone for all that follows. Your cardinal poem is a mentor for how to choose a few words brilliantly to create a profound message.

  13. "I simply worked out some feelings through poetry." A brilliant use of poetry. I managed to burrow into a student's apathy this week and I found terror there. What I was asking her to do was so far beyond what she was capable of. Now I know how to be more gentle...if she ever lets me back in.

  14. Oh, Linda, you've captured something that we all have felt, whether in the dizzying years of growing up or in the dizzying years of adulthood.


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!