Saturday, February 25, 2012


“What happens to a dream deferred?  Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?  Or fester like a sore--And then run?  Does it stink like rotten meat?  Or crust and sugar over--like a syrupy sweet?  Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.  Or does it explode?”

            I listened to the sweet voice of Taniqua reading the beautiful poem of Langston Hughes.  She had chosen the theme of “Dreams” for her poetry book, and she was presenting it to the class.  I marveled at her careful illustration of the lost dream drying up, festering, stinking, sagging, and finally exploding.

            Sometimes when you see an exceptional student presentation, you are able to step out of your role of teacher and just become an appreciative audience member lost in the beautiful sights and sounds.  My stressful day was melting away as I soaked in Taniqua’s astonishing presentation.

            “I liked my last poem by Mr. Hughes so much that I memorized it,” Taniqua softly announced.

            This girl just keeps getting better and better, I thought. As Taniqua recited, I found myself closing my eyes and listening. 

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow

            I led the class in vigorously applauding Taniqua as she sat down.

            “Taniqua, your presentation was just amazing.  Such a wonderful job!  Do you mind leaving your copy of “Dream Deferred” up front so we can all enjoy how you illustrated it for a few more days?”

            Taniqua shyly nodded yes.  She was positively beaming with the praise being heaped upon her.  And she deserved it.  I know we’re not supposed to have favorites, but Taniqua was my favorite today.  Every year during the poetry unit, I feel like I’m pulling teeth trying to get middle school kids interested.  I had spent the last 25 minutes listening to sad, pathetic projects.  Taniqua’s presentation was a cool, refreshing breeze.  It’s always my dream to help students fall in love with poetry, and I was enjoying the warm feeling of success today.

            We had 15 minutes left of class.  Just enough time to review for the Unit Test tomorrow.
            Naomi’s hand shot up.  I had worked hard to ignore her bored slouch during Taniqua’s presentation.  She had spent the last 30 minutes yawning and looking out the window.

            “Yes Naomi?”

            “Mrs. Jones, I am so inspired by Taniqua’s poems, I want to think about dreams some more.”

            I eyed her suspiciously.  “Really,” I deadpanned.  “And how do you want to think about them?”

            Naomi stared back evenly at me, a smirky smile playing at the corners of her mouth. Then came the snarky comment.  “I think we should all just sit back and daydream until the bell rings.”

            Aaaaand the dream dries up. 

No comments:

Post a Comment