Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tom Wayman's "Did I Miss Anything?"

As a teacher, there are several inevitable questions that you come to dread. While these questions usually include "Why are you failing my child?" and "Will this be on the test?" and even "Do we need to write this down?", perhaps the most dreaded question is "Did I miss anything?"

This last question is upsetting on a number of levels. One of the main reasons it annoys me is that it has an obvious answer. If you missed class, of course you missed something. What's more, since most teachers carefully plan their lessons and don't sit around during a given class period reading the newspaper or twiddling their thumbs, chances are you missed something important.

Tom Wayman's poem "Did I Miss Anything?" addresses the responses that some teachers might like to give when students ask that dreaded question. While some might find it overly sarcastic and off-putting, if handled with humor, it is also very fun. I had a teacher who would hand out this poem on the first day of class before discussing his policy for tardiness and absences. Be certain to also check out the FAQ about the poem, where Wayman discusses the rationale behind writing the poem and the poem's meaning.