David Nelson | Credit: Courtesy

Looking Ahead

Vieja Valley Elementary teacher David Nelson said that writing poems with his 6th-grade class this year was unexpectedly therapeutic amid the pandemic rules. He followed Amanda Gorman’s footsteps — calling her a “superhero, super poet, and super role model” for this generation — and used her powerful work as a guide for his class to hear, discuss, and read.

Was this a deep dive into poetry?  I wrote my own poem with them, and it was actually cathartic. It felt like therapy to share all the struggles we were feeling. It was so uplifting. I’m just a regular teacher, I teach about a lot of things, but this made me a better poetry teacher.

How has this school year been?  The natural human tendency is to be close to people, and especially for kids who are 11 or 12; it makes them sad to be apart. I’ve taught every grade, and friends and social activities are the most important thing in the 6th grade. In the beginning of the year, we met remotely, then in an a.m./p.m. model, and soon everyone will come five days a week, all day, three feet apart. And graduate from 6th grade together!


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