A teacher writes:

“I went to the Thinking in the Deep End blog, as you suggested, and returned to your site resisting the urge to cry. As a recent arrival to the teaching field — as a creative writer/poet and journalist who did so at the ripe age of 48, that is — I am utterly distressed at the test-centric atmosphere of the urban high school where I teach Language Arts. The again, I feel like a giddy young rebel, as I recently decided to guide my students on a creative writing assignment with fewer parameters (read: no detailed rubric abiding strictly by the common core standards) than any of them are used to. It was initially confusing for some — as they are so used to being told which hoops to jump through and when — but ultimately liberating, for student and teacher alike.

“I’ll take the damn disciplinary letter in my file if it need be. I suddenly feel teary eyed once again, thinking of one particular student (a high-functioning student who nonetheless has an IEP) who thanked me for setting his creativity free for the first time, he said, in his schooling. He is a senior in high school, by the way. Though I don’t deserve his praise, he now walks around telling people that I am the best teacher he has ever had. I don’t know if he will become a poet or the next Einstein, but I hope I ripped opened a door to that possibility.”