As all students and teachers will have returned to classrooms in New South Wales today, poetry can be an option for ensuring both students and teachers are pampered as they re-engage in classrooms and with each other. In fact, poetry can be used to pamper anyone at any time, particularly in times of uncertainty and even trauma.
Across the week, multiple poems can be shared for sheer joy and reflection. I have put together my Top 7 collections and individual poems for sharing as students embrace the school environment, reflect on remote learning and share their hopes for the future. All poems are available online and can be shared with a range of age groups. As with any text, it is important to read the poems several times to ensure they are appropriate for your school and context before sharing with students.
1. Round and Round by John Kitching is a joyful poem to celebrate the joy of interacting in the school setting particularly social aspects that have been missed during remote learning. Young students will love this and make connections to the Round and Round the Garden nursery rhyme.
2. Zoom Gloom by Ken Nesbitt is a poem focusing on learning through Zoom and how students look forward to the return to school.
3. Back to School 2020 by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is a poem reflecting on the apprehension and relief associated with returning to school during the pandemic. Many students will make connections with the feelings and observations when travelling to school and finally arriving where things don’t seem to have changed so much.
4. Tomfoolery is the home of performance poet Tomos Roberts and includes a collection of relevant poems for current times such as The Great Realisation which is about Covid and hopes for the future. Take a look at the teaching sequence Indulging in Poetry No 2: The Great Realisation for a more in-depth focus.
5. Save the Children have put together a collection of heart-warming poems written by children from countries around the world. They cover reactions to COVID-19, life under lockdown and how the pandemic has changed their lives.
6. During the pandemic Museums Victoria has promoted art as therapy and the power of creative response. The poem, Walking to Clear my Mind by Marina Maggs, is the poet's reflection when first coming out of a lockdown.
7. On Edutopia, Capturing Covid Learning Through Poetry: Things I Learned This Year, (Goldberg and Howard Scott, July 9, 2021) two poems titled, Things I Learned this Year are shared. One is written by teachers and the other by students. These could be useful models for engaging students, or even colleagues, in writing their own poems.
Enjoy the return to school and changes across the country and world in coming months. Most of all stay safe and take care.
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