Proud Teacher Moment…sort of…

Dear Reader,

cropped-books.jpgToday is the day that I both look forward to and loathe. It is the day the AP scores come out. I try not to get wrapped up in it, but it’s difficult for me. You see, I am a perfectionist. And when I strive for something, I expect results. It worked beautifully in high school and college. I was number one in my class…I wanted it, so I worked for it and voilà! I made it happen. Although it may have come as a surprise to those who knew me in other capacities…Let me explain with a brief (and braggy) anecdote: I remember walking into my high school graduation ceremony with my special sash and medallion that signified my class ranking. I ran into one of my schoolmates (we never had academic classes together, but we were in the same drama production my junior year). Anyway, he greeted me with a hug and then asked me why I was wearing the valedictorian sash and medallion. I thought he was being playful, so without batting a lash, I told him I found it in the quad…but he was serious. I had to set him straight, so I told him that I was, indeed, the valedictorian. And this, dear reader, was his dumbfounded response (pun intended), “but you’re a cheerleader, and you’re blonde, and you’re hot.” I winced (trying to make it as much of a smile as I could because he was, in fact, being sincere…offensive, yes, but obtusely complimentary). That tautly pulled smile (more of a grimace really) was the only retort I could give…tis best not to say things we regret to people who are less than intelligent. All that to say, when I want something — I go after it, and usually I can achieve my goal.

When I became an AP teacher several years ago, I wanted to be the best damn AP English teacher to walk the halls of my school. My first year…well, let’s just say it was cropped-open-book-on-top-of-pile-of-books.jpgnot so great; I went back to the drawing board. I went to summer trainings and revamped my entire curriculum. And in the following years, my students began to pass their AP English tests with flying colors! This year was no different! My entire AP English Literature class passed their test!!!!!! (These are my AP seniors…I love them to pieces and still cry a little when I think about not teaching them anymore…they are all going to amazing colleges, so at least I know they are in good hands).  Now, I’m trying to stay humble about all this, which is pretty easy to do since my AP English Language class did not do so well on their test, but today, I am celebrating my successes and forgetting my failures (don’t worry, I’ll go back to the drawing board and revamp things later this summer for AP lang). I have a colleague (a fellow AP teacher) who wisely told me: “I get too much flack when the students don’t pass, and I get too much credit when they do.” I try to keep that perspective, especially on days like this.

In closing, I will tell you what I told my AP students: “The AP exams are 6103.jpegimportant, sure, but they don’t define who you are. It does not determine how smart you are or how successful you will be in life. Remember you are more than your AP score(s) – that is just a number based on one morning of your life; instead, measure your success in the day in, day out moments life offers you. And never stop reading; never stop learning.”

My Best to You,

Jaime

My Diet

I don’t need breakfast, brunch, luncheon
Or supper. Words are my sustenance –
Lean and raw. Eating them up; drinking them in;
Satisfied and satiated in their abundance.
Honestly, I don’t need a thing…
I’m sustained on a steady diet of typing.

Better Davis typewriter

The Rocking

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My heart swells
as I hold you
so tightly
in my arms

This is
Love

I was
told that
I would
understand it
when I got
older, but I
didn’t believe
them

Until now.

Your sweet
little lashes
kiss your
soft doughy
cheeks, and I
pray…

I pray that you
that you will
be safe

I pray that
you will find
happiness

I pray that you
will feel
loved

I pray that you
will find
love

I pray that you
will be
wise

I pray that you
won’t feel
pain

But mostly
I pray that you
close those
relentless
dark eyes
staring back
at me

and

fall

asleep.


The picture is of my daughter when she was only a week old. They say, all babies have blue eyes, but my daughter had gray steely eyes — her eyes have since turned into a rich brown color, which is stunning against her blonde curls and tan skin. I will never forget all those lovely (and sometimes not so lovely) nights rocking her to sleep. I would think she was finally asleep only to look down and see her dark eyes intently staring back at me, so I would pray — just as I pray now for her and others who are dear to me. 

An Open Letter to the Nymph (you know who you are),

Not sure if you are aware, but that poem was for my LOVE
not some sprite who runs around without any clothes on.
If we want to talk about liars, why don’t you go ahead and
tell me your age, or who you were with last night —

What was that? I couldn’t hear you over the symphony of the
birds. The nightingale in particular is sounding lovely these days.
In fact, I can’t get him to shut up. I guess we just
hear what we want to, don’t we?

Winter, yes, the killing frost will come, but I’ve got a nice
little place in the woods by the lake. I build fires
and drink a little hot cider — it’s really enchanting.
You’re right though, the flowers do die, I never really said they wouldn’t.

A honeyed tongue, sounds messy, but if you’re into that sort
of thing I hear the satyrs are game for anything.
Me? Myself? Well, I’m more of the sensitive and romantic type:
you know, the kind who makes more than breakfast in bed.

Best,

The Passionate Shepherd

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to “write a persona poem – a poem in the voice of someone else. Your persona could be a mythological or fictional character, a historical figure, or even an inanimate object.”

Christopher Marlowe’s pastoral poem “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” has inspired many poems, so I wanted in on the action. I wrote back in response to Sir Walter Raleigh’s poem “The Nymph Reply to the Shepherd” in the form of an open letter (that’s poetic free verse, right? So it counts, right?)

Here are the poems that started it all:

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