Yesterday my students were reading some biographical information about the great American poet Walt Whitman. Eventually, the students are going to set up Whitman and Emily Dickinson on a date and explain how the date would go so they needed to know about his personality, appearance, and style.
To help them visualize the kind of guy he was I tried to get them to show me how he would have walked. They all tittered nervously and started throwing out ideas but no one volunteered to prance across my stage (the front of the classroom). We were having a jolly time laughing at one student who picked an unfortunate time to get up to throw some trash away. Everyone was inspecting and analyzing his clumsy stride when a student raised his hand.
"Don't take this the wrong way," he started hesitantly, which had me raising an eyebrow. "But I think that you're kinda the female version of Whitman." Both eyebrows shot up. "I mean, you walk the way he would have walked. You walk with your head high and with a bouncy, peppy step. And you're a hippie and he was basically a nature-loving hippie." He all but blushed and looked worried.
I grinned and replied, "I'll take that as a compliment and leave it at that."
My heart was warm.
Later that day, I convinced my students to follow Whitman's lead and sound their "barbaric yawps across the rooftops of the world." This meant everyone "yawping" loudly. For those of you who aren't in the know, a yawp is a loud yell or cry.
They aren't calling me "Oh Captain, my captain" yet but I'm getting closer...