It has been an honor to have Hana Halloran join us at Studio, and her reading of this original poem on our very last day of the high school session marked one of the most moving moments of the entire experience for us all. I love this photo–take a peek at the expression on each listener’s face. Talk about captivating an audience. I thought I’d share this timely piece, with her permission of course, as a way of celebrating the end of an incredible summer and the beginning of a new year. I’m off to soak up the rest of this week with my kids and my husband. Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for inspiring us, Hana!

Collaborative Learning ~ by Hana Halloran

When I signed your yearbook in 2004

I compared your spirit to Indian lore.

I praised your adjectives and writing skill.

My student, I admired the strength of your will.

Then student – turned – teacher; the lessons began.

You taught me of Mumia and deaths in Iran.

You coached me in football, Metal Gear, and guitar,

The ills of society, The Rage repertoire…

Most shocking of all, you caused a sensation

When ranting against public school education:

“Our school system’s failing,” or so you said,

“No adequate lessons for what lies ahead.

We sit in a building for six hours a day

And learn nothing useful to take on our way.”

“We’re puppets, and when our last period’s done,

We carry home busywork weighing a ton.

Students need choices and long to be thoughtful.

And yes, even your class can sometimes be awful!”

I protested, angry and pained by your words

But you were quite right to express your concerns.

When I signed your yearbook in 2005

I vowed your admonishments would stay alive.

My teacher, the years pass, (six, seven, eight, nine…)

New training is helping me change with the times,

To be “student-centered” collaboratively,

Equipping young minds with the skills that they need.

I will keep things moving with choices each day,

And I dream of a school system where learners say:

“Education’s exciting and homework is fun,”

And you’ll give me an “A” for a job that’s well done.


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