from the Great Poems files of author and teacher
Barbara Jean Hicks
I love September. I suppose because I've been in the field of education for so long, September feels more like New Beginnings to me than January does. I have my brand new September-to-August calendar on my desk, already starting to fill up with staff meetings and student/parent meetings and state test dates and deadlines (and school holidays!).
I like to start the new year off by talking to my students about choices. The choices they make on a daily basis will determine how much they will learn--how successful they are. Because I teach for an online school, daily choices regarding time, energy and attention are especially significant for my students.
Thinking about choices reminds me that for every choice we make, there is a choice we don't make. A road we don't take. One of these days I'll write a novel about roads not taken; I've been noodling on it for years. For now, I read Robert Frost's famous poem about roads converging in a yellow wood and try to be intentional about where I'm going--reminding myself that what's important is not which choice I make but the fact that I make a choice rather than allowing myself to be swept along like one of those yellow leaves in an autumn breeze...
PHOTO COURTESY ANN WILSON, http://one-pilgrims-journey.blogspot.com/
Two roads diverged in a
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.