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Before Humble, the Poet became both humble and a poet, he was an elementary school teacher. The book Things No One Else Can Teach Us focuses on the important lessons that we learn outside of the four walls of a classroom. The book is divided into seven sections: Fortunately/Unfortunately, Nothing Lasts Forever, Knowing Yourself Makes All the Difference, Don’t Focus on the Pot of Gold- Enjoy the Rainbow, Zoom Out, Zoom In, Limit Your Self-Pity, and There’s No Win or Lose- There’s Only Win or Learn. Each section contains poems and about 4 short stories of moments from the author’s past that have taught him these lessons.
The stories range from the loss of a childhood pet to professional lessons the author learned as he began a career as a rapper. There are a few stories from his time as a teacher as well.
The book is also sprinkled with little quotes that are great just to sit and ponder.
My first thought when reading the book was that I would love to incorporate it into a classroom. The language is unfiltered, so depending on the age and location of a classroom there might be passages that wouldn’t be appropriate but there are a lot of passages that would be powerful read-aloud for a classroom. I also think that this book provides a lot of powerful mentor-author examples of poems and writing about small moments.
The start of a new year is a time that people spend reflecting and I love the message of growth and change in this book. I spent fourteen years as a classroom teacher but then I began to feel like it might be time to transition into a different role. I didn’t know what that role would be. I love education and wanted to continue to work within this world, but I knew that it was time for a change.
I remember I was talking to a colleague about my decision to leave the classroom. I told her that I was nervous but knew that it was time. She told me she had often thought about making a change, but the timing wasn’t right. Within six months of that conversation, she had passed away. If I were writing a book about the things no one else can teach us, it would include that moment. I think about it often. The time we have is our time and I think we should take more risks!
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