Archive for January, 2009


Monday, January 19th, 2009

every classroom has good students
who complete all of their assignments,
following directions to a tee

oh, how they want to DO THINGS RIGHT
that means more to them than anything else
extra credit sends them into ecstasy:
“Now I can do more things right!”

these are the good little Egyptians
with rows of gold stars after their names

there is another type of good student
who occasionally graces a classroom,
an individual who’s intent on being
thoughtfully engaged in the course work

not to gain brownie points
but actually to learn something

Devin, you were one of these students–
calm, pleasant, and curious–
ready to analyze and discuss meaty texts

after reading a de Montaigne essay,
you asked me if we could (gasp!)
read more of his work in class, and if not,
could I suggest some titles for independent reading . . .

your “blood was up”; you were ready for more
and, dear friends, it was a glorious thing to behold
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

de Montaigne once said, “The great thing
in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”

I would say that Devin came closer
to belonging to himself than just about
any middle school student I knew

I appreciate him so much more now
than I did at the time

unfortunately, he was intellectually
on his own in my classroom,
but he made the most of the situation

finding ways to “govern himself”
(oh, for the Internet back then)
because be couldn’t govern
what was going on around him