Tuesday, 3 January 2012

What it Feels Like to be a Learner

A Poem about Roy and his Learning Journey:
From Foe to Friends with Fractions

There once was a boy,
He was both cheeky and coy,
And his name was Roy.

At summers end he returned to school,
Dragging his feet like a heavily-laden mule.

On that Monday his teacher was away,
She was at a professional development day.

Said Roy: "Yay, does that mean we get an extra long holiday?"
And with that the class erupted in a cheerful affray.

In came a relief teacher ready and all,
To teach this rowdy grade thee and four.

As the first lesson began Roy became excited,
learning about fractions was something he invited.

For that last year Roy had crowned himself class king,
In multiplication, division and every other mathematical thing.

But as the lesson went on Roy grew more and more confused,
All the other students appeared fine which made him all the more bemused.

Anxiety set in and his forehead began to sweat,
Such difficulty with maths was something he just didn't get.

Again, looking around, everyone else was doing great,
Roy shook his head and tried to refocus with a clear slate.

But the self-doubting thoughts just kept on coming,
Could everyone tell he was sucking?

Maybe maths fell out of my brain during the holidays, Roy thought.
And with that, he became distraught.

Roy withdrew to the corner and refused to do any class work,
Proclaiming it was boring and had been set by a jerk.

The teacher approached him and thoughtfully said,
"Roy, dear boy, there's nothing wrong with your head."

"When I was young, I had trouble with fractions too.
Let's give it another go and see what, together, we can do."

Roy was hesitant but decided to give it one more try,
Mostly because what the teacher had said didn't sound like a lie.

He persisted and error after error came closer to knowing,
His understanding of fractions was growing and growing.

Gradually, he rejuvenated his sense of hope,
And he realised he was in the midst of a steep learning slope.

He was the last to finish but the proudest of all,
In the whole class of grade three and four.

"Roy I'm so proud at the way you stuck at it,
That is why in the end you got it!"

If Roy could remember a song of joy, that's what he would have sung,
But at that very moment the literacy bell rung,
So another learning journey begun.

Like many learners, Roy experienced the following emotions during his learning journey:
My new year's resolution is to enjoy the journey and, in the teaching context, that involves recognising that the most important part of our role is to appreciate the learning journey and its value to our students, in addition to the inevitable focus on the measureable outcomes of our efforts. 

Learning is a journey we all must take.
No one can take it for us.
But they can guide us along the way and enjoy it with us.

What did you think of this poem? Is it reflective of what you have seen of learners in your classroom?

Did I miss any emotions? 


Anonymous said...

your poem is insightful and so skillfully done! I think it captures Roy's emotional journey very well - thank you so much for sharing it.

Anna Kapnoullas said...

Hi Carolyn, thanks so much for your feedback and kind words. Anna