Before I embark on any road trip, I always stop at Casey’s. My car needs fuel to run, I need fuel to drive.
My normal beverage of choice is the black hazelnut coffee mixed with a little toffee cappuccino.
Yesterday I was feeling nostalgic, so I went full cappuccino. I pressed the red button and the sweet rich coffee flavored beverage poured out. Casey’s cappuccinos are the gateway drink to coffee addiction.
I took a sip on the frothy drink and drove over to high school.
As I pulled into the back parking lot, I saw my student full of anxiety, excitement, and three poems she furiously memorized.
I, having learned my lesson from Saturday, put the address to the Iowa State Historical Museum. I waited for the navigation on my car to start and we were off to the state level of Poetry Out Loud.
I first learned about the poetry recitation at ICTE conference this fall. After seeing how much my juniors and seniors loved poetry, I decided to include it in my curriculum. As a class, we closely analyzed the poems and studied the art of poetry recitation. I endured the slam poem from 21 Jump Street more times that I could bare. It is because of this poem that I have mastered the teacher kill look.
After class competitions, and a small school competition, I had the student who would represent us at the state level. I can not attest to how this student acted before this year, but according to every high school teacher this year she has blossomed in confidence.
On the way down to Des Moines we past Ames and her face lit up. Next fall she will start her college career and she shared all of her hopes, dreams, and expectations. This allowed her to put her nerves in back of her mind until we reached the museum.
I entertained her briefly with my parking abilities. I successfully parallel parked my car, meaning I found a spot of the road where there were no cars and just drove into the spot.
We immediately registered and my student took pride in the fact that she did no longer needed parental permission. We wandered around the museum and learned some interesting facts. I learned that Meredith Willson, the composer of “The Music Man”, wrote the Iowa State fight song. He also wrote the University of Iowa fight song, but that fact is significantly less “cool”.
After our first trip around the museum, we ran into a familiar face. The instructional coach at our district, or better said “school mom”, showed up to encourage me and my student.
The contestants were then called to do warm up. They gathered on the stage and did a variety of fun activities and I saw the anxiety of all of the contestants dissolve. When the barrier of anxiety was broken, the contestants socialized and started to make friends.
It was unlike any competition that I have been at. The students were less concerned about beating each other, and more concerned with sharing their hard work.
During the opening of the contest they had all of the teachers stand up. It felt good. The applause ensured me that having my student engage in reciting poetry had merit.
I was impressed by everyone at the contest, but I was most impressed by my student. She was the last to perform her poems, and I eagerly waited for her name to be called.
She confidently walked on the stage and she became each poem. Her voice soared and she captured the audience with grace.
I wanted to jump out of my seat and scream my cheers for her, since we were at a poetry contest I enthusiastically snapped. Or well, snapped as best as I can. I cannot snap properly.
She performed her poems and she skipped up the auditorium stairs to share in her excitement.
We headed to intermission and she saw her parents who had secretly arrived to see her perform. She knew that they would make her more nervous, but still wanted them to see her perform.
Her parents were so proud of her, and she was proud of herself.
As we returned to the auditorium, the director sought out my student and told her how amazing she did and urged her to continue reciting and loving poetry.
My student’s eyes sparkled even brighter.
She did not make the top 8, but she still felt like she won.
On our way home we stopped for noodles, and she told me…
You know Mrs. Moore, I think really love performing poetry. Thank you for taking me.