I WANT to share with Other Voices readers the work of my sixth graders at West Baltimore Middle School. When we began studying health during the second semester, we talked about how important it is to have and cultivate a good self-image. My students reflected on what it takes to be mentally healthy and strong, and one day for a homework assignment I asked them to write poems about themselves. What I got back was marvelous, much of it heartfelt and well-written.
These children are regular students, some more academically adept that others. Most important, they are our children. They are worth our every effort. For their sake, we cannot let the schools and the communities fall apart. We cannot let the DTC disruptive minority ruin the pleasure of education for these children. Please listen to what my kids have to say about themselves.
Who Am I?
Who am I? I want to know.
there love in me that I don't show?
Am I too kind, or not kind enough?
I smart, or smart in the wrong stuff?
Am I lean, or not lean enough?
Am I mean, or not mean enough?
I try to decide, but boy is it tough.
Is there fear in me that I do hide?
Or do I cover it with my pride?
I likable; if not, why?
When I find out, I will show
The person I am, for the person I know!
Self-image is the way that
I think about myself.
I think I'm like a book
Just sitting on the shelf.
Some people think I'm boring.
Some people think I'm fun.
Some people think I'm both
Combined as one.
"Who cares what people say?"
I say to myself.
I know I'm just the same
As everybody else.
I am Cool Cat who's nice and neat.
I am the type of person you like to meet.
I am trying to get an education
That is good and sweet.
So I won't end up on the
To young and old, hear me well:
I am Cool Cat trying to excel.
Hey black child, do you know who you are?
Do you know who you really are . . .
Do you know you can be what you want to be
If you try to be what you can be.
Hey black child, do you know where you are going?
Do you know where you are really going . . .
Do you know you can learn what you want to learn
If you try to learn what you can learn.
Hey black child, do you know you are strong?
Do you know you are really strong . . .
Do you know you can do what you want to do
If you try to do what you can do.
Hey black child, be all you can be,
Learn all you can learn,
And tomorrow our nation will be
Healthy and bright.