by Lillian Son and Max Shenkin
The following blog posts were written by Lillian (Lilly) Son and Max Shenkin, students at Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego, CA. In the spring of 2017, Lilly and Max enrolled in a blended-learning version of our first-ever course designed for teachers and those interested in pursuing careers in education–Poetry in America for Teachers: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop. (Max, a senior at the time, has since graduated and is now in college. Congratulations, Max!)
Lilly, Max, and their peers completed online coursework and met in-person each week with their on-site facilitator, Khriseten Bellows (read about Khriseten’s experience leading this group HERE). At the end of the course, they worked in groups to design and implement a lesson centered on a single poem they had encountered over the course of the semester. The Poetry in America Team was very impressed with the work they did in the course, and we are excited to share their reflections here. Enjoy!
Do you believe you have the tools to understand the real meaning behind a poem? Could you teach a class on poetry? Well, before taking the class Poetry in America for Teachers: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop, our answer was ‘no’. Although we both enjoyed reading and analysis generally, we were never completely secure in how to approach poetry. The shorter form and structure seemed daunting, intimidating. However, now we not only have the tools needed to understand a poem, but also the skills to present our understanding to others. As students at Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego, we, Max and Lilly, will take you on a journey through our experiences in this course, offered jointly by Harvard University and Poetry in America. Here are two different perspectives from a junior and a senior in high school, who took this course over the Spring Semester.