Reflection on the Kindergarten Teacher and Why Poets Write


****Warning! This post contains spoilers for the Kindergarten Teacher!!!!!*******

A couple of weeks ago my friends and I watched the Kindergarten Teacher because we heard it was about poetry and were excited to see where the movie went with this topic. As we watched the movie, we found that the protagonist became increasingly obsessed with one of her students, who she believed was incredibly gifted at poetry. At the same time as this discovery, we learn that she also is interested in poetry, and even attended a weekly poetry class in the hope of improving her craft. While her poetry was never really complimented amongst others she sees the young student’s potential and decides that she needs to nurture this boy, in a way that would further harness his talent. While she still writes some poetry at this time, she is much more interested in what the boy has to say, even to the point of substituting his work as her own in class to see how her teacher would rate it. While all of this is happening, we can clearly see that this obsession is unhealthy and that it is taking the teacher away from many elements of her established life, losing attentiveness over her family and career, and in many situations prioritizing the boy’s poetry over those previous responsibilities.

What I found most interesting is the aspect of her losing touch of her life in order to pursue the boy’s poetic genius. I thought it was especially interesting that to her, abandoning the responsibilities in her life would improve her worth as an artist. For her, this detachment was something that could lead to being better in touch with poetry. In my experience, gaining better attachment to what is going on in my life in delving deeper into my relationships with others and myself, help improve my poetry. I think if I was to completely detach myself from aspects of my life, and try to write poetry without those aspects it would be incredibly hard (unless I wrote about the process of trying to detach from everything) and even if I did produce something I don’t think it would feel very organic to my writing style. I believe that writing is another way of interacting with the world rather than trying to isolate a craft from anything I would consider normal in my life.

Even though this is my main motivation for writing, I would love to know what other people think about the reason they write. Also if someone writes out of a detachment of their surrounds I would love to know about that as well!

2 Replies to “Reflection on the Kindergarten Teacher and Why Poets Write”

  1. Dear Danielle,

    I’ve experienced both sides of the coin in the past. In high school, I think I tried to be reckless because I thought that it would give me more interesting experiences (and implicitly, that I would have more to write about). My recklessness, however, was not conducive to my relationships in my life being healthy. I definitely had a lot to write about, but it differs in subject, quality, and tone from what I write about now, which is often based on intimacy and comfort.

    So while I would say that I didn’t have less to write about when I detached from relationships in my life, it’s definitely different than what I write now, and I prefer to be where I am these days.

  2. I saw this movie advertised on Netflix and I was a little queasy about it, as I am currently observing a kindergarten teacher in the Rochester City School District as part of my practicum. There is a lot that future teachers learn about child development, about ethics, and about our conduct around children: those topics are something we sign legal papers on, something that could get us thrown out of the School of Education or fired from our jobs. So looking at the “about” section of the movie made me nervous for that reason!

    I totally agree with your point about writing, and I think that it’s the most healthy way to look at writing and to process the world. From the way you talk about the kindergarten teacher, her obsession with the kindergartener comes from a need to gain attention for herself as a person, not as someone who is constantly toiling and considering the needs of others, or living an ordinary life without any excitement or scandal. This is something I am afraid of sometimes as a teacher, that I will lose my sense of personhood outside the classroom, and only be recognized for my giving nature and not my complete personality.

    I write partly to say things I want to express but cannot in my daily life, or things I cannot say as a teacher. I write partly to experiment with the many meanings of language, to tinker with language and turn it on it’s head. I write partly because it’s an innate drive. This drive ticks within me despite all the factors in my life telling me I shouldn’t. I’m currently learning the balance between detached and not detached, because sometimes if I write a poem at either extreme, I think it sounds bad and not representative of what I want to achieve in my writing. I’ve written an essay in the comment section, but let me know if anything’s unclear!

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