She left them a very large list of assignments, all of which was due at the end of the hour. Their list included reading and analyzing two poems, and then answering a bunch of questions about each. They also had to write their own "narrative poem with five stanzas, four lines each."
One of the poems they read was, La Belle Dame sans Merci by John Keats. A group of (what could only be called) jocks sat loudly arguing with each other about what the poem was saying. Ultimately, they started complaining to me about how "hard it was." To help them with this, I read the poem aloud to them a couple stanzas at a time, pausing here and there to ask them "okay, what's going on?" When we got to the end of it one student blurted out the following words of keen literary analysis, "Dude! Brotha got played!"
During one class period a student challenged me with, "if writing that poem is so easy, why don't YOU do it?" So, I took up the task.... only to get bored with it after 3 stanzas. I guess the kid won.
Here's what I came up with...
My calendar fills at a changing pace.
My job takes me from place to place.
From week to week I don't know where I'll be;
I rely on sickness to pay my fee.
Tragedy for others is how I make my way,
But at least there's new excitement every day.
Some days I teach math, some days I teach English.
A passion for learning, I try not to extinguish.
Too often students try to be a pain,
And they find it funny to lie about their name.
But I know a trick, some may call it a power...
A simple note to their teacher can make them cower.