Possibility through poetry

English teacher opens up new opportunities for her students with a new unit


Ayslin Bowman

English teacher Paige Wyatt guides her students through their poetry unit. The class started the unit the week of Feb. 14.

To English teacher Paige Wyatt, February is a dreadful month. It’s so far away from spring break, it’s cold, it’s dark and everyone’s tired. However, with hopes to make students happier, she is starting an all poetry unit in her class.

“I think it gives me a little bit of something to look forward to,” Wyatt said. “And I hope the students look forward to it as well.”

Wyatt is teaching an all poetry unit in hopes that her students will receive the many benefits poetry has to offer.

In eleventh grade, students are typically taught American Literature in the first semester. As Wyatt moved into the second half of the school year, she decided to tie music and poetry together for a unit. She says that it has a multitude of benefits.

“Also, (poetry) helps with SAT test prep and critical thinking skills,” Wyatt said. “Also, I think it’s a good outlet for students to have to express themselves because there’s really not a whole lot of creativity in academic writing.”

Wyatt is trying to give her students an opportunity to create said writing in her class. She dislikes that students aren’t given enough creativity in their academic writing. She wants her students to have something to show off, something that they can say they made and be proud of.

So, her classes are creating chapbooks, short collections of poems with unifying themes.

“The first fill-in-the-blank poem that they’ve turned in already was pretty good,” Wyatt said. “So, I think they’re going to turn out really interesting and even if students hate poetry, I think that there will still be some good poems that each kid will write.”

A student that has stood out to her with poetry is junior Vanessa Rodriguez.

“I’ve always been into poetry since the beginning of high school… ” Rodriguez said. “I’ve always done it, but I’ve never went out publicly.”

Rodriguez and her classmates are creating both mimic and fill-in-the-blank poems. Wyatt believes that poetry can be intimidating so she is providing templates and assistance for her students.

Once they are finished with the poems, Wyatt hopes to publish student’s poems to a website if requested.

“We’d just create a website and students can submit them,” Wyatt said. “Then, each student can pick one poem that they really liked and were really proud of and I would just put them on there.”

Wyatt has high hopes for this “really fun” unit and hopes that through it, her students can see some relevance in poetry and use it maybe someday in the future.