Thursday, January 14, 2010
Lori at Family Trees May Contain Nuts is hosting another Writer's Challenge! Our topic this month is "Teachers Who Made a Difference in Your Life - Good or Bad". As much as I adore the majority of teachers, I have known some who seemed to delight in stamping out any individuality or creativity that may have flickered in a child's heart. Thankfully, I think that they are few and far between. And I can honestly say that while not all of my teachers were fabulous, I can't think of any who purposefully tried to stamp out that spark.
Mrs. Barcus was my sixth grade teacher. One of our assignments was to find a poem that we really enjoyed and to write about it. At the time, I was totally enamored of Elton John. So I chose the lyrics to "Madman Across the Water" from the album of the same name. I remember how moved I was the first time I heard the song, and I was so excited to write about it. I swear that essay was my Magnum Opus, and I was so proud when I handed it in. I was sure that there were no other 6th graders who could possibly be sophisticated enough to listen to Elton John, much less find the deeper meaning in Bernie Taupin's lyrics!
Imagine my chagrin when the paper was returned to me with a B! Mrs. Barcus said that the paper was well thought out and well written, but she was very disappointed that of all the great poetry in the world I had chosen to write about a "pop song". At the time, I was highly offended and thought that she was just too old fashioned to understand modern music lyrics and the effect that they could have on a person. However, as I grew older, I also grew to appreciate her criticism. At that point I had never really read much poetry. I loved to read, and constantly had my nose buried in a book, but poetry just didn't interest me. I began to check out books of poetry from the library, and while it has never become my favorite subject matter, I did grow to appreciate it. And I discovered some poets that I enjoy to this day, including Robert Frost, Maya Angelou and Edger Allen Poe. Of course I had read Poe, but who knew he was also a poet!
With apologies to Mrs. Barcus, I still find that music and music lyrics contain the poetry that speaks to me most clearly. But I will always be grateful that she pushed that somewhat arrogant 12 year old girl out of her comfort zone and into a world that she had not yet discovered.
Posted by Kat at 4:54 PM