I thought that this silly poem needed to be re-posted because school is ending. The need for silliness is absolutely imperative. I also need to throw a few mooses… er… moosei… er… meese? How do you pluralize the word moose?
Life is as Hard as Bowling with a Moose (A Poem)
Life is like Moose Bowling,
In order to knock over all the pins,
You have to learn HOW TO THROW A MOOSE!
As the days count down, I have had to exercise my moose-throwing muscles more and more. Today I have five days left in my teaching career. So many precious kids I have to give up and never see again… So many teachers will tell you that every year the kids are getting worse and worse, and their attitudes are turning more sour, disrespectful, and violent. But those teachers don’t know the secret. You have to throw a moose or two at the problem. Real discipline is hard work. Harder than demanding that kids sit in rows and be silent… heads down and pens scratching away. You have to actually talk to kids and learn who they are… what they feel is important… what their problems are, and what they want you to do about them. You have to be honest, give them a hook or two to draw them into the whole learning thing. You have to actually care.
So, I do. I care. And I let them talk. It’s a moose that has to be tossed.
The comment was made this morning that you have to keep them working right up until the end of the year. Doing no formal lessons in class is actually a lot harder and more risky than continuing to plod through the textbook. But in five more days there are no more classes, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks… school’s out forever. I haven’t done any lessons since two weeks ago. Grades are in the gradebook. I have been showing kids my favorite movies. Especially movies from the eighties. (Truthfully, I have not been well enough to actually teach. My body aches and I can’t breathe very well) I have been talking to kids about those movies… what they think about them, and what they think about life in general. Kids are telling me they are worried about my poor health. They say they are interested in my books and my writing, even though they don’t actually read just for pleasure and will never buy what I write… or even look at this blog. They tell me about their troubles, their hopes and dreams, their most significant relationships, and they tell me that they will miss me next year. Five days… will I make it through without breaking into tears? No, I won’t. I may not even try. That’s one moose too heavy to throw.
But I have no regrets. I have touched more than two thousand five hundred lives (a pretty close estimate… I don’t have a good enough memory to actually count.) They have touched my life in return. No other thing I could have done with my life would ever mean as much. Doctors save lives, but teachers shape real people. So what does it all mean? I mean, really? It means I have thrown a lot of mooses… er… moosei… er… well, you know what I mean. And if my arms are growing weary, then it is for a very good reason.