this is just to say

As a teacher, have you ever had a bad day? It seems a bit silly to ask that question, since it happens to all of us–when you have a hard time making transitions between activities, when you stumble over your words, or when your class is just out of control.

I’ve been having a lot of those lately. This year has been much harder than any other, as far as managing students who are very demanding (we’ll leave it at that). Yes, it’s one of those years.  I hope I’m not coming across as complaining! Rather, I think I have learned a lot this year, and will continue to learn more as I struggle to make this a positive and effective year of learning for my students. I value the learning I have had to do–I definitely think that it’s made me a better teacher.

Yesterday, when I finally collapsed behind my desk at the end of the day, all of the frustration surfaced, and the following resulted. Not meant seriously, of course.


This Is Just to Say (s/o to William Carlos Williams)

by Mrs. Sorensen

I have graded
all of your
for this class

and now
you all

Forgive me
or not
it’s your work
after all

daydreaming teacher

On the dreary days at school

when the air is still
and students are sleepy
I wonder
what would make today better?
If a bird flew in the window!
sending students in a craze
feathers and pencils flying.
If I found a fifty dollar bill
on the ledge outside my window!
“Happy weekend”
Ulysses S. Grant would say.
If the plant on the windowsill in the corner
started to grow candy!
as quick as we could pick it.
Chocolate, preferably.
If all the missing books
from my now meager classroom library
magically appeared back on the shelf!
Oh, the stories they would tell.
If I could whistle like Cinderella
my students scurrying like mice
washing the whiteboard clean!
with a song on their lips.
If Mario Batali did the catering
for school lunch.
No PB & J today!
If the cloning project for the science fair
was a success!
and the others of me
insisted on finishing ALL my grading.
See? Teachers can daydream too.
-Whitney Sorensen, April 2011

language fun: dialogue

We were just discussing how to use dialogue to enhance our narratives in my Language Arts class, and I conveniently found this nice piece while digging around in a file for something else. I think I might try having my students do an exercise with writing a short story completely in dialogue–similar to something that Tom Romano suggested in Writing with Passion, Life Stories, Multiple Genres. I love playing with language and structure!

First published in 1950 in the Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, by Ned Guymon:
Conversation Piece
“You didn’t!”
“I did.”
“Just now.”
“You know.”
“I don’t!”
“You do.”
“With whom?”
“With you.”
“She didn’t . . .”
“She did.”
“We didn’t . . .”
“You did.”
“You knew?”
“I knew.”
“How long?”
“Long enough.”
“What now?”
“Why later?”
“Guess again.”
“Tell me!”
“Oh, no!”
“Oh, yes.”
“You can’t!”