Scientific method poem

For Day 25 of VerseLove on Ethical ELA, Linda Mitchell inspires teacher-poets with the scientific method. Linda says: “The scientific process reminds me of poetry. For me, poetry is about observing, questioning and predicting–which are vital, although not the total, of the scientific process.” She challenges poets to incorporate part of the scientific method in a poem: Make an observation; ask a question; form a hypothesis or testable explanation; make a prediction based on the hypothesis; test the prediction; and iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

My poem is dedicated to students, with a question I find myself asking too often. I left the area of referral out on purpose; could be behavior, academics…

Graphic Failure

Dear Student, I see you’ve been referred.

Why have you been referred?

Maybe it’s because your teacher
is afraid.

Not of you. Not really. 

You see, in the scheme of things, 
you should be the tip of 
a hypothetical pyramid,
with all the systemic structures
supporting you—in other words,
your needs should drive
everything else

your teacher, see, 
is the next closest layer
to you

and when this pyramid is
upside down
with the ponderous weight
of systems all at the top,
by the time it reaches
your teacher, 
the pressure
is immense
(research tells me this used to be
a form of execution in ancient times,
crushing, i.e., the adding of more
and more stones)

which means that if
this colossal pyramid
is inverted
there you are
the tip at the bottom
the whole system’s 
supposed
raison d’etre
bearing it all
like Atlas

no wonder
you have been referred

it is all too much

Climb (France through my eyes) docoverachieverCC BY 2.0

8 thoughts on “Scientific method poem

    • Sometimes I really do feel like kids are bearing the brunt of everything (the weight of the educational systems) instead of everything existing to support them… they shouldn’t have to be little Atlases. Thank you for your words!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Each time I read this I see more and more truth here – – so much of what we do has become too much, and I also think of kids’ sports. We make so much of things that they lose their joy when fascination becomes expectation with high stakes standards. You show us truth here, Fran.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Fran! This poem took my breath away. Allow me to echo Kim. Your poem showcases the truth.

    I remember — early on in my career — referring kids when they could barely read in fifth grade. I didn’t know what to do. Sometimes it felt like a referral was the only way I could help them when I felt the weight of the world on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This truth becomes even more apparent during “testing season” (I hate that such a season even exists). It does feel like immense, sharp pressure points at this stage of the year–and it’s showing up as behavior issues with many of our students. Deep breathing and pushing that inverted pyramid from both sides to keep it from tipping seems to be all we do these days.

    Liked by 1 person

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