Amidst the Exigencies

Submitted By:
Cambridge Ridley Lynch, Ed.M. Candidate, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

Modeling an open, interdisciplinary curiosity for our students can sometimes feel overwhelming amidst the exigencies of the ordinary school day. Consider, then, following the @poetryisnotaluxury Instagram account and seeing what inspiration may follow. Named after an Audre Lorde poem, the account often shares timely and easily digestible poems that would be appropriate for a variety of classroom settings. Older students might reflect on Langston Hughes’ “Evil” (“Looks like what drives me crazy/ Don’t have no effect on you?/ But I’m gonna keep on at it/ Till it drives you crazy, too”), and younger students might be encouraged by Emily Dickinson’s “They Might Not Need Me” or Kim Stafford’s “Advice From a Raindrop.” Although published in English translation, the account is careful to represent a range of voices, time periods, and cultures, and many poems would be appropriate for the cover slide of a lesson, regardless of academic discipline. Indeed, whether or not one finds it “useful” for teaching, a daily dose of poetry can help educators tap into the shared joys and pains of being human, and prepare our hearts and minds for the enriching work of the daily grind.

Teaching Practice