I am asked, often and with a slightly puzzled expression, "um, and why do you teach?" This picture is why. Yeah, I supposed I touch children's lives and make an impact on the culture
and very future of this glorious country, although I really don't see myself as being that big of a cog in the wheel. But this ... this ... well, let me explain.
A few years ago I looked across my classroom and noticed something askance on one of my posters, the poster for "assonance." Not having my glasses on, I walked over to take a closer look. I saw this:
I started shaking so hard, with my back to the class, staring at this poster, that the boy who did this, the child of one of my very closest and most amazing friends, was a bit worried. Then he realized I was laughing. Laughing so hard I had to sit down and they had to bring me the Kleenex. Without saying a word, I stood up, went and fetched my camera, and took this picture. I also immediately emailed it to his mom.
Some people might see this as disrespectful. A defilement. Rude. I see it as a slice of genius. We hadn't even discussed these poetry terms yet in this kid's class and here he is not only reading it but seeing it differently than anyone else in the room, including me.
This is why I teach. I live for the moments when the light bulb goes on and a student really SEES something, FEELS something, and - most importantly - finds his or her OWN meaning in something, even if I don't agree with it. Hell, especially if I don't agree with it. Learning to think for yourself is WAY more important than knowing how to define assonance.