The Schafer Teaching Fellow at The Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching receives a full-tuition fellowship to attend the Conference. He or she will work closely with both The Frost Place staff and the Conference Director and Associate Director to assist in any capacity necessary to help run a smooth, efficient, and enjoyable conference for all participants.
Here’s Schafer Fellow Alyssa Kelly’s thoughts on poetry and teaching. Do these words resonate with you? Why do you teach poetry? APPLY NOW
I teach poetry because it is an ideal tool for critical thinking, language acquisition, and personal reflection. I teach poetry because it is one of the best ways to engage students in an understanding of mindful expression, revision, attentiveness, and the complexities of the writing process. I teach poetry because, as an educator who seeks to engage even the most reluctant reader, poetry offers rich, sophisticated text in manageable, microscopic chunks. Poetry insists that one slow down – as a reader, speaker, listener, and writer – to notice subtleties often overlooked in other genres. I teach poetry because it covers a multitude of Language Arts skills. I teach poetry because it is the underdog in the English classroom, deserving of our attention; it is built of simple truths that, if overlooked, can spend a lifetime catching up with us. I teach poetry because, as an English teacher in a vocational high school where hands-on learning and the revision process are tangible in a way traditional models lack, poetry affirms my students’ natural inclination to reflect upon a job-well-done. I teach poetry because it authentically invites originality and student voice into the classroom. Simply put, I teach poetry because it works.
The Frost Place acknowledges that teaching is a sacred practice, and the Conference on Poetry & Teaching has inspired me, time and time again, to return to my classroom with confidence in the legitimacy of my poetic endeavors. Because of the CPT’s influence, I begin each class I teach by reading a poem aloud (without expectation or agenda of analysis) – a habit that has shaped every day of my work with students over the last eight years. Because of the CPT’s influence, I was inspired to develop and implement an innovative, year-long poetry curriculum that I continue to build upon and refine. Because of the CPT’s influence, I know I am not alone in my efforts to preserve relevant poetry instruction. The conference truly validates, equips, and builds a learning community for instructors of all disciplines. The CPT holds me accountable, as both a passionate educator and practiced poet, to cultivate the habits of life-long learning I hope to instill in my students. I am a better, more grounded, teacher and writer because of it.