This isn’t how to teach poetry or poems about your teachers. It’s poetry about being a teacher or teaching. Poems about that profession that gives way more than it ever receives. Poems written by teachers, many of whom actually can DO as well as teach. Poetry that shows what those teachers can do and what teaching is like for them.


The Heart of a Teacher: On Staff Meetings, Lice, Field Trips, and What Really Matters

A teacher writes 64 poems about being a school teacher, based on the author’s own teaching experiences along with those who probably stuck it out much longer..

At times funny, other times poignant, Salas' poems offer a perfect way to end the school year, or to begin a new one!

That always sucked: the moment you realized that you needed to start a new school year once again, especially if you’re an author at heart.


Teachers in Autumn

Supposedly written by three life long teachers (not hyphenated). Not teachers of grammar, I suppose, but still teachers who apparently offer “an imaginative examination of three lives in the 20th and 21st centuries.” Sounds exciting, but why all three of them? Do they life long teach in the same school? A school without hyphens, perhaps. After reading the sample, it’s not about teaching all that much, so whatevs.


Leaves of Paper: Poems and Stories About Teaching

This is a legitimate book of poetry and other writing about teaching. 24 poems and vignettes. (That’s two dozen for all the gym teachers out there.) Written by an ELA teacher for the consideration of other teachers. It’s not 64 like The Heart of a Teacher book, but there also aren’t any weak-ass Haikus in it as fillers.


Turning Halls of Yearning Into Halls of Learning: Inspirational poetic commentary about teaching and learning in an urban school setting

Another book that has poetry about teaching, mostly starting with the line, “Do we, can we, love this child?” so you can be sure it’s not going to be about classroom perfection. If you teach in an urban setting, this could be inspirational or depressing. Probably both.


Honestly, there’s not a whole lot more that’s easy to find on Amazon. Most books are about teaching poetry or maybe poems written for elementary school students. It probably says a lot about where we are as a society in regards to reading and writing poetry. It also may say something about how difficult it is to find what you’re looking for when teacher guides are the books that hog search results.

I’m hoping this article and others like it can help direct people looking for that perfect gift for the teachers in their lives. Honestly, teachers want to pick out their own teaching guides or electronic devices. But books are always a good gift. And regift. So go ahead.

Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • Duval or DuVal or du Val?
    I was just on an insurance website that listed DuVal as the county we're in. Some people go by DuWhatever, while others use DuSomething. Still others are du Frenchplace. So, I wonder what the deal is with Duval.

    Duval County is named after William Pope Duval, who was the first governor of Florida. He was an appointed governor, so it's not like the people of the state voted for him, but he did rule over Florida for twelve years. Duval himself went by Duval, as can be seen in his signature:

    Of course, Duval, regardless of how William spelled it, would have been du Val at one point. Just like duPont (as in Jessie Ball duPont), used to be du Pont, though I am sure some people around Duval County call it Dupont.

    One additional tidbit about William Duval's name is that he had three sons, with two of them going by Duval and one going by DuVal. Burr and John were Duval, and Duval County, Texas is named after Burr. Thomas, the obvious attention-seeking middle child, went by DuVal.

    To recap, the person specifically for whom Duval County was named was named Duval, not du Val, duVal, or DuVal. So, unlike St. Johns, which people from Florida changed because...lazy, Duval County is spelled correctly. With ONE u, not three.
  • Recyclable Plastic Bags as Beds
    Plastic bags CAN be recycled, probably even in Georgia. That's where a Girl Scout troop decided to save recyclable plastic bags from the landfill in order to build homeless beds. I'm wondering whether it's a good activity or not. I want it to be, really, but I have my reservations. My wife says it's me being cynical, but I just like to make sure the feel-good stories really make me feel good.

    First off, it seems like a good idea. Reuse or upcycle. Since you can recycle these bags, making beds out of them may not really be the best use, but if the bags were going to be thrown away, then it's cool. I just wonder what happens when the bed has served its purpose as a bed. I would think it could be hosed down and used indefinitely, but I'm not sure. But if the woven bags can still be recycled, then that's pretty sweet. 

    Plastics also leach chemicals. 95% of plastics will leach these chemicals when real-world stresses of sunlight or washing are added to the mix. The chemicals tend to be estrogen-like, so I don't really know if they're going to harm any homeless people, but it is something to consider. I don't know the specifics of which chemicals leach from plastic bags, and some are worse than others. Basically, beds made of plastic would likely be banned for normal human purchase, either as mattresses for homes or as camping beds. Surrounding yourself in a chemical bath while sleeping is probably not a great idea for most of us, but I can still see the allure of not wanting to sleep on the ground.

    In the end, I can't say using plastic bags as beds for the homeless is a bad idea, mostly because I can't think of a better material to be upcycled in this way. I guess you could fill the bags with Spanish Moss (which used to be used in mattresses), and they'd be softer yet much more flammable. 
    Actually, filling the bags with anything, like newspaper, might add to comfort or insulation, but the beds would probably less portable.  Besides, I am sure all of this is really about the thought counting more than the actual item being donated. And the work involved. Girl Scoutstrying to do good.