On Fridays I have the privilege of teaching an amazing group of students from Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Sudan.
Waking yesterday to bright sunshine and blue skies sparked the slightly crazy, last-minute idea to abandon existing plans (which may make it sound like I'm better prepared for my lessons than is often the case) and head out to the park instead.
The dreary grey outside the window this morning confirms it was a good call. The reactions of my students to being out in such a beautiful space, even more so.
Quite apart from a whole host of new vocabulary and expressions being learned, it generated opportunities for conversation and meaningful cultural exchange. Above all, perhaps, it provided the space and freedom to deepen friendships and to laugh together.
We ended the morning drinking tea while we each wrote "A Poem on a Post-It". This beautifully evocative poem (for which I can only take the credit for the final stanza) was the result.
The title of the poem, said with a smile by one student before she read her post-it poem to her peers, is, to me, an expression of their growing confidence as communicators. They laugh and call me an optimist for saying so, but my students are without doubt poets in their own right. They are able to beautifully express deep meaning in a language not their own.
Listen, and I will inspire you
As I explore places,
Confused and excited
Wondering about the meaning.
Chase the signs,
Looking for answers.
In the lake there are nice different things
I saw a duck swim and have two wings
I like the fountain with ripples for a feature
Near this is some evergreen and deciduous nature.
Green, brown mallard.
Water ripples around
To make life nice
Harmony between swans' feathers and water's surface.
As diamonds on the surface.
A lake as the kingdom guarded by ducks and seagulls
There are lots of moorhens as the kings with crowns
Settled on the lake like on their thrones.
We see many types of birds...
Like us from our different countries.
After a while, lonely
It's nice to be in touch with them, so friendly
Try to keep your happiness
Maybe it will last
The frost was cold this morning and my thoughts were too full.
In the autumn open
I looked at the wiggle of the water and we paused for glitter gold reflection.
When we spoke about the word warm,
I felt it.
Life is here and is going on despite all difficulties.
Ducks are swimming in their eternal house.
I am drowning in nature's beauties.
You can touch the soul of nature
Feel love and life.
You can feel life is going on: children, adults, pensioners,
Laughter sparkles in the sunlight
Hidden here among deep roots
Is the freedom
(Written by Group 5 at Cannon Hill Park, November 2017)