Wishes and Words: A Collaborative Poem from #NCTE16

This week at NCTE, I had the honor of presenting a session called “Get Writing! A Hands-On Workshop Celebrating the Transformative Power of Writing Communities for Teachers,” along with Jen Vincent, Jo Knowles, Kekla Magoon, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Mike Jung, and Karen Romano Young.  It was inspired by Teachers Write, our free, online summer writing camp that serves teachers & librarians. We had an amazing group of enthusiastic & brave teachers who participated in a pile of writing activities. (And our authors wrote, too!)


One of those quick-writes involved jotting down two ideas to share as part of a collaborative poem. What do you wish for your students? And then: Finish the sentence “I want my words to…” Here’s our poem.

Wishes and Words: A Collaborative Poem from #NCTE16

by the participants of Sunday’s “Get Writing!” session with Jennifer Vincent, Kate Messner, Kekla Magoon, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Jo Knowles, Mike Jung, and Karen Romano Young

I wish for my students to feel safe and calm
in a world that is often out to get them.
I wish for them to have conversations
that help them process their thoughts, feelings, and emotions,
To have confidence in their abilities
and feel empowered in their everyday lives,
To have more academic confidence,
To know their value and feel like they have time to read and write for fun.
To gain a love of reading
and to love it long after they leave my classroom.
I wish for a library full of interesting books
calling to my adolescent readers.

I wish for my students to have learning opportunities
that lead to confident, capable, competent, citizens.
I wish for them to have a feeling of belonging in the world.
Open minds, open ears, kind hearts.
I wish for my students to experience teaching without being constantly evaluated
So they have room to grow.
I wish for them to understand writing is for everyone,
To have compassion, tolerance, and kindness for all.
I wish for compassion
And action.

I wish for my students to ask “Why not?” instead of always asking why.
I wish my students love and joy in life and that curiosity will bring them there.
I wish for my students to believe the world is not against them.
And I’d like that to be true.

I wish my students wisdom.
I wish for them to know that they matter,
To recognize each other’s humanity on a daily basis.
I wish for them not to be faced with the choice
between being safe and doing the right thing,
and when it comes,
I wish for them not to fear.

I wish my students resilience.
I wish for them to internalize the power of their voices,
own their stories,
and share them with the world.

I want my words to bring light to places that are right now in shadows,
To share my story and help others grow.
I want my words to hit someone’s heart,
To make myself whole and help heal others,
To further causes of social justice,
And to tell you that you’re not alone.

I want my words to show my readers we have shared experiences,
To help people understand themselves
and have more empathy for others.
I want my words to encourage kindness,
To make kids stronger, so they value themselves and have courage.
I want my words to find a place in the world.

I wish for my voice, dissenting as it is, to be heard.
I want my words to save lives.

To change the course of history.
I want my words to make people feel happy, nostalgic, and touched.
And loved.
I want my words to encourage others to believe in the impossible.

I want my words to reach.
All across the world.


Thanks to everyone who came out to write with us at NCTE!  If you’d like to get updates on this summer’s Teachers Write, a free, online writing camp for teachers & librarians, please join our Facebook group here. You can also find information about Teachers Write (and access all of our past Teachers Write mini-lessons and writing prompts!) here.