To culminate the end of poetry month, my students performed a poem of their choice from memory on Tuesday and Wednesday. On the first day of performances a student froze, couldn't remember his poem and, on the verge of tears, asked if he could do it again the next day. Yesterday, he got up to perform his poem again and nailed it. He was confident, his head was high, and he didn't let the previous day's failure defeat him.
The poem this student performed was one by Robert Frost and upon finishing his performance, another student declared amongst the uproarious applause, "That was cool Robert Frost!"
If you've seen Kid President's Pep Talk, then you know why this was such a significant gesture. Both the student's performance and the class's reaction brought tears to my eyes.
If anyone ever doubts why I require my students to perform a poem from memory in front of the entire class, it's moments like these that help argue my case. Every year I always have these kinds of moments that stop me in my tracks and make me see certain students in a new light. April is by far my favorite month to be an English teacher.