A Poem, A Reminder


In grad school I had the great pleasure of meeting the poet Lindamichellebaron, who visited my poetry class one night and performed some of her inspirational work. One of the poems she shared was “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Mind.” I think it is pertinent at this time of year as we head back to our classrooms and inevitably encounter those students who seem hardest to reach.

Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Mind by Lindamichellebaron

Sometimes you just want to say “Hello.”

Maybe they’re home, but you don’t know.

So, you let the phone ring a time or two,

Then what you probably will do is hang it up.

Maybe you’ll “drop another dime”

When you’re able to find the time.

So you hang it up.

 

But when you KNOW someone is home

And you must reach them, now, by phone,

You don’t just ring a time or two.

You ring and ring ‘til you get through.

If no one picks up, “it must be me,

I dialed a two, I meant a three.”

So, you redial and take more care,

Because you know someone is there.

 

Maybe something is wrong with the line.

So, you call the operator this time.

You’re more concerned, you start to think,

“Perhaps the equipment is on the blink.”

So, you call phone repair,

explain to them someone IS there.

There must be something they can do.

It is a MUST that you get through.

 

Well, let me try to make this clear…

Compare the phone call to a classroom,

where a child sits w-a-y back in the rear.

He’s wearing shabby clothes…

has uncombed hair.

He’s so much slower than the rest…

scores so much lower on every test.

Yes, that’s the child I mean.

 

There’s only one way we can find

the potential of THAT child’s mind.

We have to believe… We have to know…

We have to try everything

as though it is urgent that we get through…

Act exactly the way we do

when we’re calling on the phone,

and we KNOW

someone is home.

(This poem can be found in the collection “For the Love of Life: Life Lyrics from an Oral Tradition,” available from Harlin Jacque Publications. Words by Lindamichellebaron.)

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4 responses to “A Poem, A Reminder

  1. Matthew,

    Thanks for sharing this poem, It is so relevant to all of us in the field of education, If we remember Lindamichellebaron’s words we will be much more successful at reaching the children who, for whatever reason, need more supports. It may not be an easy task but we owe this effort to our students and to ourselves.

    As an aside, I have copies ready to share with my student teachers and plan to share some with their cooperating teachers also.

  2. Awesome poem; thanks so much for sharing this, as your timing is perfect. I plan to share this with some wonderful teachers, in the hopes that they, too, will pass it along to their colleagues.

    Again… thanks for sharing!!

  3. Soul filling

  4. Glad you all took something from this. Hearing her perform it in a class of about 20 soon to be teachers was a very moving experience.

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