Thursday, January 26, 2012

Worth the Burn: A Fairy Tale for Teachers

Today, I was searching on my computer for the order form for selling Smokescreens, a book CMP made a few years ago. You'd be surprised how many things turned up with the words "smokescreens" and "order form" that were not the Smokescreens order form. Anyway, tons of random things came up, from archived articles to old conference programs to old coursework . . . and among them this corny assignment I'd forgotten ever doing.

This is a children's fairy tale I included in a Multi-Genre Paper (ala Tom Romano) for Curriculum and Assessment class back in 2008. If you get heated (forgive the pun) like I do over the utter failure of NCLB, you may well get a chuckle out of my cheesiness here. Four years later, every minute of teaching is still worth the burn.

Worth The Burn

-A Fairy Tale for Teachers-

Long ago, in the land of Learnopolis,

A curious student was born.

She went to her classes with all of the masses,

But always she felt she was torn.

She learned to take tests and recall lots of facts,

But it seemed she could only remember.

She wanted enlightenment, so she set out

For the glow of the magical ember.

O the mountains she climbed! The dragons then slain!

To capture that wondrous flame!

But once she had found it, the havoc it wrought

Made the relative journey seem tame.

She returned to her town with the thoughts and

The hopes and the dreams that she thought she’d inspire,

But alas! When she passed them the ember in class,

Students just set her dreams on a pyre.

Her fiery tales, oh they epically failed

to keep every student enthralled!

And for every young mind that the fire brought to life…

There’d be two other parents to call.

Delightful, the light, though! Her fiery plight

Took its toll on her, all just the same,

She exhausted herself just to keep the fire bright

Not aware of the dangers of Flame.

One day, she was tired as she tended the fire

And her dress caught the lip of the flame,

She went up in sparks, burst of light in the dark,

Rolled around on the ground and exclaimed:

“It’s bright, how it burns!

Someone please put me out!”

As she rolled in the smoldering

ember and doubt.

Firefighters arrived and

Extinguished the flame.

The principal stormed in

And said “Who’s to blame?”

Teacher explained that

She’d just tried her best.

The reply? “NO MORE FIRE!


The teacher went home,

Disheveled, distraught.

How would children survive

unenlightened, untaught?

She examined her scars

And the lessons she’d learned.

No, they were not regretted.

She thought they’d been earned.

For though flames may engulf you

With worry and doubt,

Once you’ve seen the light

The fire can’t be put out.