One of my most favorite Langston Hughes’ poems is Theme for English B. In it, Hughes describes an assignment given to him by an English professor.
“Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you—
Then, it will be true.”
In the poem, he explores race and notes that his written words do not distinguish himself as black. If one were to read the poem, they would not be able to guess whether a black person or white person had written it. But, because of his life experiences, his color tends to come through anyways. Because it’s part of what makes him…well…him.
I love the idea of simply putting pen to paper and writing something that is “true.” So, I asked my students to do the same.
This was a couple weeks ago and I am just now getting to grading them…I know, I know. ANYWAYS, as I’m reading them, I can’t help but be impressed. They came so far in the past year. They even had a different teacher the first two weeks. I didn’t take over until week 3.
And then I got to this poem, in particular. As a teacher, when I’m feeling beaten down and trodden upon by administration, my students remind me the real reason I am here. This little piece, in particular, gave me hope that I did something right.
English III was to me nothing but a regular class that I’m going to pass, but I got a mean, stuck up teacher.
Then, all of a sudden, I get a better, cool teacher.
She listens and actually talks to her students.
The class actually likes her.
English was nothing but a boring, book-reading class, with the exception of going to sleep.
But when the new teacher came, the class was more open minded and fun.
And I was more into the class and talked in the class a lot.
Mrs. Clawson…Mrs. Claw-Dog was her name.
Such a small and silly thing, but such a gift.