When I began teaching, I was afraid of poetry. My last memory of poetry was in high school. The professor read a poem, and then wanted to know what the poem meant. I didn’t raise my hand, but he called on me to tell what I thought. My heart was pounding, my brain froze, and my mouth whispered something that I can’t even remember. I only recall the class remained quiet for an eternity, no one responded or nodded, and another student was called to give an opinion.
In Came the Fear of Teaching Poetry.
So… when it was time to teach poetry, I put it off, put it off, and put it off. Then the week before testing I panicked. Reviewing my long-range plans I realized that I had successfully avoided teaching poetry until I was out of time.
I snuck into the library late one afternoon when no one was there and started pulling poetry books. As I pulled a Shel Silverstein book off the shelf, I started reciting aloud the one poem I once loved “Crowded Tub.” I’d spent so many years hating poetry that I forgot how much fun poetry was. Flipping the pages I found other poems I had loved.
I gathered my pile of books, checked them out, and my students and I spent the next week falling in love with poetry. I realized that I had made a HUGE mistake by not teaching poetry. First my students LOVED the poems. Second, the ones who HATED reading, loved reading poems. And third, we could cover tons of standards in a short poem.
My hatred of poetry quickly subsided, and poetry was no longer put off the last minute. From then on, I began teaching poetry the first day of school.
Tips on Helping You Overcome Your Fear of Poetry
Since then I have worked to helping others find fun and engaging ways to teach poetry. You can check out the POETRY PAGE of this website or hop over to this article How to Teach Poetry (Even if You Hate it!).
Want to save this article? Pin the image below. Happy teaching!