Poems create a fantastic connection between learners and teachers. As a teacher, shaping with a most delicate of clay, a deaf child’s mind, I am pushed to unleash their potential. I am maturing with them, beautifully. Their faces and hands convey the hidden messages. These previously unheard students have spread their energy across the community; at Kwazulu Natal we hosted a competition called “Zwakala” literally meaning “Be Heard”. In 2007 and again in 2013, all schools for the Deaf competed in poetry, drama and story telling. This is an invitation for people to listen with their “eyes”. Poetry in motion releases stress, overcomes fatigue, and eliminates timidity. Lines and verses create sharing of unique, deep and unseen feelings.
Today, my own lovely daughters write prose and rhymes. They enjoy sharing their poems, winning awards and being published. Being first teacher, I am quite proud and continually inspire them. My youngest daughter, in her Matric year, has a poetry group. They have parents who have become my friends, too. Those parents now relate better to their own kids. Poetry boosts confidence in a child and builds community.
Clearly, I remember my innocent, Deaf learners admitting they thought poetry was only for hearing learners. Today, they love poetry! They proudly beam with joy and excitement as they recite, “My hands are my home”.
I am truly blessed today as one of the Deaf teacher assistants writes poetry and has developed confidence in sharing her intimate, concealed emotions. I feel so truly fortunate to be a “beacon of hope’ to the future generation. Poetry is life giving, powerful, and definitely a great de-stressor! In Matric, my energy was revived and John Keats eternally motivated me in his poem, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”. Let’s keep passion for poetry alive. I love poetry!! Many women know me through playing with words to praise them, an example being WOMAN: Wonderful Worker, Outstanding Organiser, Marvellous Manager, Amazing Advisor, a Nutritionist - building, protecting, energising our Nation. Women get jollier, as I say “My Wareings, once tasted never wasted! My Waltons-breeding success.” Even the downhearted person is lifted through poetic messages, for example, “It’s ok to cry as it is therapeutic.”
This is what happens when a teacher writes poetry: a multitude of awards come from relieving others of their worries, encouraging those who are tired and guiding learners into a greater self-assurance.