Metaphor Lesson

By Robert Hardy

August 21, 2017

Metaphor Lesson

There are three girls in Poetry Club. Tra’niyah, the third grader, walks around the classroom looking at everything through a magnifying glass—the leaves of the plants, the point of her pencil, her fingerprints—remarking on how different everything looks. 

Delilah and Monserrat, the fourth graders, listen to me read Neruda’s poem about his socks, and laugh at the “two crusty firemen”—dos decrépitos bomberos—although they don’t really see how feet can be firemen. They both decide to write poems about their shoes. “You wear them on your feet,” Delilah writes. 

Next they work on acrostics of their names. Monserrat begins with "Marvelis." Delilah can’t think of a word for “I,” and Monserrat suggests Immigrant. Delilah shakes her head. Tra’niyah is still magnifying everything in sight. Now Monserrat writes ROB down the side of the paper. 

"Role motel," she writes. 

I try to imagine my life as a role motel: checking in as a student, a husband, a father, a teacher, a poet—finding a vacancy as I wait for something new. I think of the road that brought me here, toward the end of the day, to this classroom where each child holds a glass to show me the world through wider eyes. 

Monserrat has come down to the B. “Busy with poetry,” she writes.

Comments (6) - Post a Comment
This is a joyful read. The best of teaching.
Tim Bennett at 8:05am EDT - August 21, 2017
Robert, this is not only beautiful, but also beautiful. See how I am struggling to find descriptive words to adequately describe my experience of this? I teach too...and you have captured these moments, in this, ahem, beautiful way, because of how you see your students; your eyes are not deceived by expectations. Lucky, lucky students to have you Yes, I know you feel the inverse. My point exactly. Bravo!
Britton Minor at 9:03am EDT - August 21, 2017
I hope to live up to your description of a role motel, and have vacancy for all.
Peggy Lamb at 9:41am EDT - August 21, 2017
Such a lovely picture of the ways a teacher gives--and receives. We all learn from each other. Thank you for this.
Laura at 10:51am EDT - August 21, 2017
Gorgeous, tender, insightful.
Jenny at 9:39am EDT - September 11, 2017
It's October, and you are still lighting the way for other writers with this gem!
Cathy Casriel at 9:54am EDT - October 24, 2017

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