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Thank you so much for writing this, it made my evening. I've been struggling to find a way to express the ways in which this year has changed me as a teacher. So much of the work -for me at least- hinges on the joy, creativity, and dynamism of a classroom. When the fun is gone, it leaves little left. I've had to winnow my purpose as an educator down to what really matters most this year: making sure they know that there is an adult (who is not a parent or relative) who cares about them, will listen to them, and who makes them feel loved, even from afar. The answer is always love.

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So much this: "...making sure they know that there is an adult (who is not a parent or relative) who cares about them...." Thank you, Belle.

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May 8, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I have taught for 42 years on every level from first grade to the college graduate level. Transforming culture is exactly what a teacher should do. Appreciating what diverse cultures are and respecting them is our highest goal. Also, as one student told me, “Knowledge is good. But wisdom is knowing what to do with the knowledge we have.” And the greatest wisdom of all is knowing how to love unconditionally. A teacher who loves her subject and shows students how to love it and love humanity is the epiphany of pedagogy. You are such a teacher.

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Thank you, Sandy.

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May 8, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Teaching is the hardest profession with the greatest rewards...it’s all about that last poem❤️

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It is. And that was one of many these kids wrote.

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founding

Being authentic, and honest, and open, and willing to listen in order to give space to the speaker. I truly believe you taught the students with these values in mind, and I truly believe you gave space to these children.

That last image and poem, was it written by one of the students??

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Yes, the poem was written by the student in the photo. I caught him practicing it there in a quiet moment before they were doing their reading on stage.

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gonna be thinking about that Freire line for a long time.

the concept of Teacher Appreciation Week strikes me as remarkably stupid. if a person is gonna pretend to appreciate their kid's teacher for a few days in the form of material items, they're failing their kid and the concept of education as much as they're letting the teacher down. appreciation comes in the form of support, both social and financial.

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Perfectly said.

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founding

I have taught adults and kids, and I am not a teacher by *vocation*. I dislike it after a single day/night because I feel I need to get back to my work. But I will say that, as poet laureate, when I visited as many classrooms of kids of all ages (K-12), I found their experience of poetry, learning to write it, read it, hear it, the most rewarding. My invisible hat is off to anyone who makes teaching their life's work.

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May 8, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I am so glad that you did this. Kids will remember. Your experience is such a contrast to what the Idaho legislature has done in this session to devalue education, especially higher education. It has been shocking to me, despite having lived in this state since 1984. Their attacks were based on anecdotes that they wouldn't share. They revile "critical race theory," "inclusion," and "social justice ideology." They rejected federal funding for preschool ($6 million!) So, no, they don't want culture to be transformed. They want to transmit a culture that is white and conservative, centered on a traditional nuclear family that values gun rights and the sex organs visible at birth. They know best. It is very sad.

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Montanans and Idahoans alike are living in dark ages these days, it seems. What a drag.

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May 9, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

This message - the one about loving ourselves and others enough to PAY ATTENTION to and FUND education - is so important. I am appalled by what is happening to education in the Idaho Legislature. Not only is defunding well in progress, but so is mind-numbing censorship and peering over the shoulder of the educators by narrow-minded, heartless bigots. Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts.

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Thank you, Linda.

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May 9, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Hello Chris. Spot on, as usual. Here in France, it is really depressing to see the way teachers are considered and paid (very poorly). A disgrace really. I mean decades ago, a teacher was respected, his/her work valued. Now, it seems people think they know better how their kids should be educated... and the way they talk to the teachers is really disgusting. During lock down, people had to manage their kids education, at-home school, and my, my, how effing hilarious was it to read their posts on social media => they were discovering that teaching kids IS a bloody job. not just looking after the kids when mom and dad are at work.

Also, another problem we have here, at college/university level, is that the teachers (do you say teacher at such level of education? not sure) are a bit smug (some of them, mostly male, no surprise there), there is a distance between them and their students, which I didnt' experience when studying abroad (Ireland).

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You know, we always hope things are done better in places like where you live. Sadly, that is naive. Hopefully we can make changes everywhere. Thanks, as always, for your perspective.

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May 8, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

37 years in the classroom. from high school to community college and grad school teachers. and now, finally, i can be a full-time poet, although i keep teaching: workshops for people w/parkinson's, prison inmates, elementary school kids, individuals who send me poems outta the blue. it IS amazing. i love working w/"beginners" which is to say people who don't write or read poetry much and who think they can't do it, but when they do it's amazing. i once read a pile of critical pedagogy and imagined different kinds of school and universities, but that didn't/won't happen. not in amerika. we made education to benefit a few and keep the rest where they belong. but making deep heart-felt connections changed a lot of people, especially me, and almost always for the better. i take much comfort and consolation in those relationships.

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Wayne: "i take much comfort and consolation in those relationships." Me too, friend.

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May 8, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

What a wonderful experience for you and them. My experiences in the fourth grade set my life's direction. You may have flipped a switch for someone. Thank you.

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Thank you.

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May 8, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Oh Chris. As usual you come right through the page. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Thank you, Victoria.

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May 23, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Hello, sir. Thank you so much for your words. The drubbing and parading part got an audible booyah! from me, even though I was alone. I've been teaching secondary and 'higher' ed since '94, so words like that make me stand up and cheer. And the bit from your friend about Freire is fire. Transformation is what education does. I know it's cliché, but good teaching IS about helping good people become their better selves through whatever medium (physics?) we have. It's kind of a special bonus that this may happen to us when we teach, too. I friggin love that. My students are the catalyst to a better me. I'd be shite w/o them. It sure sounds like you got to do that in Ronan, too. How cool. I loved reading about it. Thanks, -Nigel

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Thank you, Nigel!

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Those kids were lucky to have you, and you were lucky to have them! I ❤️ teachers...

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Ha! If it's not a no-brainer for you, you are a selfish asshole? I'm down wit that. Or if you are a self-interested nice person, you are an asshole by default. Nice work at K. William. Hope the Crested Butte is a beaut! Say high to my cousin Barbie if you see her.

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Thanks for sharing this. I bet you're a great teacher.

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Thanks, Thomas. I try.

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