By Michelle Boyd Waters

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My seventh grade English class epitomized a perfectly normal, safely-in-the-box experience. I only have one memory from that entire year in class. Even the teacher did not seem to be terribly memorable. She was a bit on the tall side, but not exceptionally so. She had dark hair and a nice face. If you’d asked me who my favorite teachers were, her name would not have made the list. Her personality, her lessons — nothing really stood out to me, other than the one time that she told me she liked my writing and that I should sign up for the yearbook staff the next year. (You had to be in the 8th grade to serve on the staff.) Perhaps I was too busy dealing with the typical middle school, early-teenaged angst that afflicts students around this age. …

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Oklahoma schools have had enough — and it’s not just the teachers. Despite rising student enrollment, crumbling infrastructure, and disappearing budgets, teachers and administrators have forged ahead on a daily basis to care for increasingly traumatized students, to make due with crumbling infrastructure and dwindling budgets, to seek out opportunities to grow in our vital roles as educators. Our students are just as deserving as those in the rest of the country, yet our state ranks at the bottom in the amount of education funding per pupil and for teacher salaries.

These thoughts weighed heavily on my mind last week when the professor in my teaching composition class asked my fellow graduate students and I to write a metered poem. …


Michelle Waters

Oklahoma high school English teacher. Lead learner at

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