Written from a teacher’s heart to those of students.
Did you know that you’re wonderful; you’re seen?
My eyes were designed to see in between,
to take in those seized, snagged, by warped mirrors,
whisperingly beaten by those bitter.
I know your ears have heard those lying trickles;
the ones hurled, pointed or spilt, thoughtless.
They harvest your heart like a sickle.
Knowing or not, they marred your sweet softness.
Did you know they’re wrong? Someone told me so.
The one who designed you, certified you,
(like He did for me) chops through lies for you.
He’s the Creator I know who sees, loves,
and He never says, “Well, I guess, kind of.”
He says you’re made perfect, and I must nod,
because as your teacher, I’m simply awed.
You don’t plod, but applaud.
You’re not flawed, but talented abroad.
You’re not odd, but loved by God.
My insides itch to help smash those facades
because love and kindness can’t be outlawed.
I know you know…
You stroll through wide places, reinscribing
what it means to excel and to belong.
I know you know…
You’re sprinkled with gold dust for your life-long;
Love has blinded shame, leaving you shining.
Written November 2019
This poem, and subsequent artist statement was written for a creative assignment while in my Bachelor of Education. I decided to include the latter here to give some extra insight into the poem, for those that may find it interesting. And, well, for one person’s heart on the matter to be heard.
“As the artistic representation for my choice assignment, this poem purposefully and effectively reflects my thoughts and feelings on inclusion in the classroom. I chose the medium of words because I often express myself best through my carefully chosen words, and creative writing is both my passion and area of expertise/education. I titled it, “I Know You Know” because this piece is aimed at being a reminder of something that perhaps a future student of mine will have forgotten temporarily. The ideas conveyed are not necessarily intended to be new (though some specifics may be).
The general idea of the poem is that, as a teacher, I am speaking to a student, asking them, “Do you know that you’re wonderful; you’re seen?” That first line sums up the poem’s main idea. Moving on, I describe negativity in general terms that students have likely lived. (I know that I experienced what was described in the poem to a certain degree, and countless students have, regardless of whether or not they had a particular learning label. I want the poem to be applicable to students of any kind struggling through not feeling like they were good enough, or had been the object of ridicule.)
I go on in the poem to describe the effect of people’s harmful words or actions to these students (the cause of why they have felt as if they do not belong) “whether hurled, pointed, or spilt, thoughtless.” It does not matter whether people meant to hurt them or not – they still did. I chose words to show this that would evoke emotion and convey a clear image. For example, “They harvest your heart like a sickle.” Adults or kids (whichever it may be), with their hurtful actions or words, take something from kids when they make it seem as if they are not enough, or do not belong. That is unacceptable to me, and an issue very dear to my heart. I desperately want my students to know how important it is that they do belong – no matter what.
This is why, during the rest of the poem, I uplift them, encourage them. I do this while speaking of the God of my faith: “He’s the Creator I know who sees, loves, // and He never says, ‘Well, I guess, kind of.’” My faith is all of who I am, and it influences my teaching and living. The insertion of my faith into this work is just another manifestation of that, and in it I convey who I know God to be. I intend to share the unconditional love and kindness that is the core of my faith with my students because they deserve to experience that, and have a teacher and classroom that they feel welcome in, and feel supported in. This is reflective of my core beliefs of teaching.
Lastly, the meter and rhyme system I chose for my poem reflects the beauty of students: it may be different from stanza to stanza, not have much consistency, and completely change scheme and system at some parts, and yet it is beautiful – it achieves the goal with which it is working toward. I think this is exactly like students: they may work in their own ways, at their own pace, with their own understandings, and yet they can all achieve things. They are all beautifully, wonderfully complex, and the workmanship of them is marvellous (Psalm 139:14). My goal with my students is to love them as unconditionally as I know I am loved by God – to cheer for them, to empower them, to remind them of themselves – and I wrote this poem to show that.”