Slam!

Last Friday, 13 computers were stolen from our journalism lab. Last night, the thieves came back to finish the job. The remaining 7 computers were gone, along with 20 cameras, battery chargers, and memory cards. Our entire curriculum…gone.

I spent most of the day Friday, and then again today, thinking only the worst of people. For someone who is often teased for being a bit of a Pollyanna, that kind of negativity is draining and dangerous. When I get like that, I know the only way to feel better is to seek out the best in people.

Some of my students are on a poetry team, and they made it to the second round, which was tonight. So I grabbed a friend and we went.

And I saw the best in people. Students from all over the metro cheering each other on in a slam poetry competition.

When the host, writer Matt Mason, asked “Is the point the points?” the crowd yelled back, “No! The point is the poetry!”

Most of the poets from our school are either current or former students of mine. Quiet students with very reserved demeanors. Yet put them on a stage in front of over a hundred people and ask them to perform their own eloquent poetry? Gregarious. Energetic. Amazing.

It’s been a rough couple of days, days in which I look at the general student body with a degree of suspicion. They have to know something, I think. They have to know who stole all that equipment, I think.

And maybe some of them do. But I want to be back to where I was when I gave every student the benefit of the doubt, when I trusted them and loved them. And tonight, I got some of that back.

Watching those students perform their poetry reminded me why I became a teacher in the first place.

I needed that reminder. I’m glad poetry was part of it.

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