“Every child deserves a champion
An adult who will never abandon them
Who understands the power of connection
And insist that they become
The best they can be. “- Rita Pierson
Twenty poets, storytellers and musicians met at Camille Creek School on the Napa County Office of Education campus on November 11 when Schools Superintendent Barbara Nemko and I invited guests to write and share a original poem about or for a teacher who had inspired them by thanking them for their dedication. Participants also shared creative stories and songs.
Joyce Prescott, Nick Triglia, Matthew Gudenius, Stephanie Hawks, Lenore Hirsch, Suzanne Bruce and Alan Arnopole chose their favorite verses to shape this found poem. Dr. Nemko will send it to all teachers in Napa County. Thank you very much Barbara!
An ode to teachers
What did you see in me that I don’t have
awkward and uncomfortable teenager (J. Prescott)
People also read …
I still hear your deep southern voice reading a story
You gave me the ability to listen. (N. Triglia)
You planted a seed of curiosity
He grew with maturity (M. Gudenius)
Dbirth teacher a never-tamed shrew
Hath also honored a true great lady teacher (M. Gudenius)
A thank you to the teachers who never abandon the students
who could one day become teachers too (N. Triglia)
We sang, we plucked a violin, we beat a drum
your music has wrapped its arms around us (S. Hawks)
You cared to open my eyes to the world (L. Hirsch)
I really learned when you believed in my radiance
You were a candle that consumed you to light me up (Mr. Lyon)
Teaching like a masterpiece seen not because of the pictures
but with feelings more than a diploma on the wall (S. Bruce)
Anyone can be a teacher, we all have gifts to share
All it takes is the intention and willingness to share (Alan Arnopole)
Dr Nemko had so much to offer during the afternoon. She said, “Good teachers plant a seed that grows in the future. A few inspiring words can change the trajectory of a student’s life. She shared with such pride that Camille Creek School is an innovative new program. Children are inspired to follow their dreams. How about learning to be a chef?
Alan Arnopole sang harvest songs that kindled the flame in us. Alan has sung all his life. Listening to the songs he wrote and sung with such passion, I remember the quote from Clay P. Bedford: “You can teach a student a lesson for a day, but if you can teach him to learn by arousing curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.
Jim Lyon, retired resource specialist and administrator, told the story of a student who could not read but could repair the brakes on the Bendix bicycle without a problem. Jim’s message was that we all have special gifts. It is the gifted teacher who helps students find their gifts. Jim saw the boy years later in high school and he was reading at his own pace.
John Hannaford, music and visual arts teacher for 50 years, shared many stories of his long teaching career and also of his inspiration to become a teacher. He said he was inspired by those teachers who truly saw their students as individuals, saw what they needed to grow and gave them a space of choice that brought out their creativity. John’s daughter was present. Whitney Hannaford Hahn shared that she learned when teachers gave her choices. Surprise: I taught him music 30 years ago.
John Prescott shared that his most remembered teacher was Professor Hugh Richmond who was teaching at Cal in 1971. I took Professor Richmond’s Shakespeare Course over 50 years ago, and surprisingly, surprisingly, and by coincidentally, I got it for an Osher Lifetime Learning Course (OLLI). in Berkeley last year.
The now Emeritus Professor had a rich English accent and taught that the words and phrases of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets are forever intertwined in our daily conversations and writings, but unfortunately we ignore his almost constant and omniscient presence. Although I am old now, I can tell you that almost nothing is new that has not been influenced directly or indirectly by the great bard who lived over 450 years ago.
We had a remarkable time together. I leave you with this quote from Dan Rather:
“The dream begins most of the time
With a teacher who believes in you
takes you to the next plateau
Photos: Wacky Wednesday at Northwood Elementary School