April 30, 2010

Classroom chemistry

I’ve spend almost four months with my spring semester students. We’ve gathered three times each week. We’ve talked about books; we’ve shared food and poetry and personal reflections. We’ve become a community who encourage and support each other. We’ve bonded.

One of my favorite moments of the semester was the first time we wrote a poem together. I’d warned the students that I wanted to try writing a collaborative poem, and some of them had given me scared looks. Slam Poet, who had wowed us all with a poem the week before, grinned and said, “Oh, yeah.”

During the class, we were talking about environmental issues and body image, and the connection between the two. Then suddenly, I felt that the energy in the room was right. I said, “Wait! I think it’s time.” I handed each student an index card and told them to write a line of poetry.

It took only a few minutes – each student wrote a line or two, and then we shuffled the cards together and read them aloud. It took only a few minutes — but the result was amazing. Somehow, during the discussion, our minds had all gotten into sync and the poem was both coherent and meaningful.

“We totally rock,” said Slam Poet. And everyone in the room agreed with her.

That chemistry is one of the things I love about teaching, the magic that happens when you take a random group of humans and put them together in a room with the common goal of learning from each other. That chemistry is also what makes me a little sad every time a semester ends.


Brigindo said...

I know what you mean. I don't often miss my students individually, because most times I continue to see and interact with them, but I do miss them collectively.

Diana Hunt said...

We'd sure like to see that poem; it sounds totally interesting.

Silver Creek Mom said...

WOW...it is amazing what Humans can do when they have a common goal. I would hear that poem. I am lousy at writing anything personal, but I surely can appericate the ones that are able!

chemistry said...

chemistry between people can’t be created or forced, it’s a natural thing. When you feel comfortable with someone, then you have chemistry with him / her. The keyword is “comfortable”. Nice blog, I added u in my link, would u add me too. Thanx.