View Full Version : Need opinons...

05-12-2004, 10:39 AM
This is seriously bothering my husband and I. Our son wrote a poem for English class. Its supposed to be free-verse, which means just about anything goes. The only thing is that each stanza HAD to start with "I sing"..... so he didn't make that up, it was the only criteria for this free verse poem. The teacher gave him a grade far lower than we think he should have.

I need HONEST opinions... is it good? Lousy? If you were a teacher, what grade would you give it? I won't divulge the grade he got for it, but he is a Junior in highschool and has a written IEP (He's severly dyslexic.)

“Lonely Runner”

I sing by running
The pain screaming in my legs.
My heart beating as fast as a hummingbird’s wings.
Cool air kissing my face.

I sing about track practice.
The countless miles around the county.
The coaches barking at you
As the ticking clock works against your mind and body.

I sing during track meets
Nervous and jumping at the sound of the starter’s gun.
The all out sprint during the first and the last laps of the race.
The cheers of family and friends while I run.

I sing of the VICTORY.
The glistening sweat turned into gold.
The satisfaction of running
Creates inner knowledge that I have done my best.

I don't know much about poetry, but I think it is good. Its passionate and paints a good picture.

I really think this teacher has something against my son. She's given him poor grades before when they weren't warranted and now this.... so PLEASE give me honest opinions on what this poem should have gotten. If you all say B, then B it is, C, D, etc. I just need to know if she's a witch with a vendetta against him! :D


05-12-2004, 10:56 AM
I think its really good and deserves an A or B.

Maybe it was too short? That is the only thing I can even think of.

05-12-2004, 11:14 AM
I think it is well done, but I don't know what the teacher's expectations were. I'd be in front of her in a heartbeat, if I were you!!! You need to find out what he did or didn't do to get a grade that you feel was undeserving.

Good luck.

05-12-2004, 11:47 AM
I feel he should have gotten an A or B nothing less than a B...If I was you I would find her reasons for giving him a lower grade than it deserves....I would go before her If I was in your shoes:D

05-12-2004, 03:14 PM
Thanks. We've met with her several times throughout the school year. To no avail. We've written papers with him that were A/B papers and he got a C. One of the other English teachers in the school helped him write a paper and THAT got a C-!!! :eek:

Thank goodness there's only a few more weks left to the school year. We have a meeting with the guidance counselors soon to make sure his IEP is accurate and they want HER to be in the meeting too. We said, "NO WAY!" Apparently, by law a teacher has to be there to present their opinions of him as a student.

05-12-2004, 03:30 PM
I agree with the others that your son's poem was really good and deserved an A or B.

Have you spoken with the principal about this teacher and how you feel she is unfair to your son in regards to marking his work?
I would definitely want her there for the meeting and bring a copy of the poem with you and get a feel of what others think of it.

05-12-2004, 03:41 PM
I don't think it deserves a bad grade at all. The imagery is very creative, and I agree it is passionate. That teacher sounds kinda harsh.. what did she give him anyways? I think you should talk to her and find out what she graded it on and why it was lower than you expected. It deserves an a in my opinion and for his grade level.. now that I think of it an A+.

I like this part the most..

I sing of the VICTORY.
The glistening sweat turned into gold.
The satisfaction of running
Creates inner knowledge that I have done my best

05-15-2004, 02:10 PM
I'm just a simple soul and know nothing much about poetry, so I am not sure if my opinion is worth all that much but .. I think your son's poem is beautiful! I really, really, do. :)


05-15-2004, 03:36 PM
With a C-, I would have thought there would be an explanation, "John, you knew the poem had to be longer" or "John, didn't you copy this from somewhere"?

I would go to the teacher with this. AND, I would go to the IEP meeting with an advocate from the dyslexia foundation.

05-15-2004, 03:39 PM
Talked to the teacher and found out she took a lot of points off for "not having parallelism" - whatever that is! She needs to find a hobby other than picking on dyslexic kids.:rolleyes:

05-15-2004, 03:42 PM
I think it's really good. A or B

My language Arts teacher is same with me. For some reason she doesn't like me. I've always got C's and D's sometimes F's, and my papers were well written.

But since she is gone (had a baby) our subsitute is nice and Im getting A's and B's now.

Maybe you should set up a meeting with her, and discuss with her about the paper.

05-15-2004, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by Cataholic
I would go to the teacher with this. AND, I would go to the IEP meeting with an advocate from the dyslexia foundation.

Good idea. She's been very combative since September and now wants to be the teacher in charge of his IEP... we don't thnk so. She wasn't following it as it was this year! We've threatended to sue the school district (we won;t but it sure was fun to threaten it! :D ) My husband has a IEP specialist at his school that is working with us and she told us not to sigjn or say anything until she loos over the paperwork and give us the go-ahead.

I just posted what she said he was missing. To me, thats fine to miss one thing, but to slash the grade 20 points for one missing part. Its a free-verse poem for Pete's sake! She's taken points off for him having his name too low on the paper (you know, upper left 1" margin, well he had upper left 1 1/4" margin from top - he had hit enter by mistake, leaving it too low. What does she do? Sit there with a ruler?)

Not to sound like a ninny in front of her, I just let it go, and am wondering myself what on earth paralellism is... for all I know, its in there but not to her discrimitating taste. I really hate this teacher.

05-15-2004, 04:21 PM
I'll try to get my mom to look at this soon. Though it might not be today. I think it's very good and he showed a lot of creativity, too. I don't feel I have enough experience to grade him but if it were up to me, it would be an A. My mom has her Masters Degree and was an English teacher before that. Wait until tomorrow and I'll get her to post something, too. After that, print this out and take it to the school. You need to file a complaint if she's giving him a hard time.
*I saw your note about meeting with a guidance counselor. My mom was that, too!*

05-15-2004, 04:41 PM
Originally posted by catnapper
We've written papers with him that were A/B papers and he got a C. One of the other English teachers in the school helped him write a paper and THAT got a C-!!! :eek:

Maybe the teacher suspects that he *got help* on this poem and took off points for that. Personally I liked this poem very much. It put me right into the position of the runner (and for an old lady like me, that takes something).

05-15-2004, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by Rachel
Maybe the teacher suspects that he *got help* on this poem and took off points for that. Personally I liked this poem very much. It put me right into the position of the runner (and for an old lady like me, that takes something).

We helped him very minimally on this one. Its was 98% his... a word or two were changed and one sentence was restructured, but the imagery and body of it is all him.

I guess I should have given a bit more background. She didn't want our son in her class because of his IEP - that's extra work for her. She doesn't want anything to do with IEP students because she's the "academic" teacher (as oppposed to general english which is basically "see spot... see spot run.") We fought to have him mainstreamed and he's doing well... actually is in an advanced placement history class. We weren't about to take a step backwards and stick him in a basic english course. That won't help him in college. Of course, she's denied not wanting him in her class, but its pretty obious when we talk to other parents in the district and compare his experiences with other students.

Dukedogsmom, thanks, I would appreciate your mom taking a look at it.

05-15-2004, 06:12 PM
I agree with everyone else; I would grade an A or a B.

I would like to see what Valerie's mom has to say about it. Let us know how everything turns out! :)

05-15-2004, 09:23 PM
i think it's good! i'm guessing he's on a track team? so am i. i really like it, do you think he would mind if i printed it out and kept it?:D

05-16-2004, 08:43 AM
Thanks GP Girl! I'm sure he wouldn't mind if you printed it out. Running is his life and its pretty obvious in the poem :)

05-16-2004, 09:50 AM
I read a ton of poery in my "real world" job, all by teens. That one is just fine, whould have gotten an A or B. If you want, I could have our official Poetry Editor give her opinion.

I don't care one bit whether he's dyslexic or not, that didn't effect the poem, and as poetry is subjective if it's free verse, she has no excuse for a low rade on it.

guster girl
05-16-2004, 01:33 PM
I think the poem is really nice. I don't understand, though, why she's taking off for paralellism if it was supposedly free verse. That's odd. I really like the poem, though.

05-16-2004, 01:57 PM
Probably the most important structural device used in Hebrew poetry is parallelism. Many people understand "parallelism" to mean that a second poetic line merely restates or contrasts the point of the previous line in different words. However, in reality, parallelism is more significant than that. Parallelism is that phenomenon whereby two or more successive poetic lines strengthen, reinforce, expand, intensify and develop each other's thought.

"Parallelism focuses the message on itself but its vision is binocular. Like human vision it superimposes two slightly different views of the same object and from their convergence it produces a sense of depth." (Klein, Blomberg & Hubbard)

There are different kinds of parallelism:

A. Parallelism of subordination. The second part is subordinate to the first in some way.

He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations. (Ps. 111:6)

…Sing to the Lord, (statement)
for he is highly exalted. (reason)
The horse and its rider (example)
he has hurled into the sea. (Ex. 15:21)

B. Parallelism of contrast.
Direct opposites that share no common ground.

The Lord detests men of perverse heart
but he delights in those whose ways are blameless. (Prov. 11:20)

C. Parallelism of continuation.
Succeeding parallel lines present a progression of thought.

You who bring good tidings to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
"Here is your God!" (Is. 40:9)

D. Parallelism of comparison. A simile.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; (Ps. 103:13)

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. (Ps. 125:2)

E. Parallelism of specification.
Each succeeding line makes more specific what the opening line states in general terms.

It is I who made the earth (general)
and created mankind upon it. (specific)
My own hands stretched out the heavens; (general)
I marshaled their starry hosts. (specific) (Is. 45:12)

…say, "The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob."
They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock and water gushed out. (Is. 48:20-21)

F. Parallelism of intensification.
Intensification occurs when the second line restates the first in a more pointed, extreme or forceful way.

How could one man chase a thousand,
or two put ten thousand to flight…? (Deut. 32:30)

then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Prov. 3:10)

From http://www.lff.net/otintro/id23.htm

05-16-2004, 01:58 PM
From http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/23_parallel.html

Parallelism is most commonly found in the book of Psalms and Proverbs but is found throughout the whole of the Hebrew Bible. Parallelism is the expression of one idea in two or more different ways.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path". (Psalms 119:105)

The above example of a simple parallel and can be written in this manner;

Your word is;
1. a lamp to my feet
2. a light for my path

Here we see that the words "lamp" and "light" are paralleled as well as the words "my feet" and "my path". Below is another example of this style of poetry.

"My son, my teachings you shall not forget and my commands your heart shall guard." (Proverbs 3:1)

In this verse the words "my teachings" is paralleled with "my commands" and "you shall not forget" is paralleled with "your heart shall guard" and can be written as follows.

My son;
1. my teachings you shall not forget
2. my commands your heart shall guard

Below is Psalm 15:1-3 broken down into its poetic sequences. In this example each thought is represented by the letters A, B, C and D. Each expression of a thought is represented by the numbers 1 and 2.

A1. Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
A2. Who may live on your holy hill?

B1. He whose walk is blameless
B2. and who does what is righteous.

C1. who speaks the truth from his heart
C2. and has no slander on his tongue.

D1. who does his neighbor no wrong
D2. and casts no slur on his fellow man.

Another common form of parallelism is the use of negatives where two opposing ideas are stated as we see in Proverbs 11:19.

A1. Righteousness brings one to life
- A2. Pursuit of evil brings one to his death.

05-16-2004, 02:03 PM
Another one that is easy to read http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/gram_parallelism.html

To get across ideas of equal value or to create snazzy sentences, use parallel sentence structure. Good sentences attempt to form these patterns of parallelism. Sentences without parallelism can sound stilted awkward. For instance, which sentence sounds better below?

(1) King Alfred tried to make the law clear, precise, and equitable.

(2) King Alfred tried to make clear laws that had precision and were equitable.

Most people would argue that sentence #1 somehow "sounds better" than sentence #2. The reason is that sentence #1 uses parallel structure in its adjectives. Sentence #2 doesn't. If we label the parts of speech, the first sentence has this grammatical structure after the word law: [Adjective--Adjective--Adjective]. The second sentence has this grammatical structure after the word laws: [Relative Pronoun--Verb-- Direct Object--Conjunction--Verb--Adjective]. The first sentence has a clear pattern of adjective, adjective, adjective. The second sentence has no pattern at all!

To hear the difference between a parallel and non-parallel sentence, read aloud the sentences below. The red sentences are examples of "bad" or faulty parallelism. The blue sentences use parallel structure.

faulty parallelism: She revels in chocolate, walking under the moonlight, and songs from the 1930s jazz period.
good parallelism: She revels in sweet chocolate eclairs, long moonlit walks, and classic jazz music.
more good parallelism: She loves eating chocolate eclairs, taking moonlit walks, and singing classic jazz.

Do you hear the difference? What causes that distinction between "good" and "bad" sentences? Again, the difference appears in the pattern of grammar. If we dissect the sentence, the faulty sentence on top has a grammatical pattern that looks like this:

"She revels in"

"chocolate," [Object of Preposition,]

"walking under the moonlight," [Gerund--Preposition--Definite Article--Object of Preposition]

"and songs from the 1930s jazz period." [Conjunction--Direct Object--Preposition--Definite Article--Adjective --Adjective--Object of Preposition]

It's all a jumbled mess of different parts of speech being used in different ways. On the other hand, the second sentence has a clear parallel pattern:

"She revels in"

"sweet chocolate eclairs," [Adjective--Adjective--Object]

"long moonlit walks," [Adjective--Adjective--Object]

"and classic jazz music." [Adjective--Adjective--Object]

The same pattern (adjective, adjective object) reoccurs in the same way. It is parallel in its structure, and thus musical and rhythmical to read and to hear spoken aloud. The second example is also parallel, just in a different pattern.

"She revels in"

"eating chocolate eclairs" [Gerund--Adjective--Object of Gerund]

"taking moonlit walks" [Gerund--Adjective--Object of Gerund]

"and singing classic jazz." [Gerund--Adjective--Object of Gerund]

Good writers attempt to form these good sentences. Here are some more examples from grammar books such as Karen Gordon's The Transitive Vampire:

faulty parallelism: I like to eat rich deserts, playing fast card-games, and riddles.
good parallelism: I like eating rich deserts, playing fast card-games, and solving difficult riddles.
more good parallelism: I like to eat rich desserts, to play fast card-games, and to solve difficult riddles.
more good parallelism: I like rich desserts, fast card-games, and difficult riddles.
bad: She is unfathomable, with a head of strawberry blond hair, and has a seductive manner.
good: She is an unfathomable, seductive strawberry blond.
bad: He is cute, wears a pinstriped suit, and has a dashing way about him.
good: He is cute and dashing in his pinstriped suit.
bad: The faun has shyness, with rough hooves, and behaves in a sylvan fashion.
good: The faun is shy, rough-footed, and sylvan.
good: The rough-hoofed faun is shy and sylvan.

Note that faulty parallelism isn't really a grammatical mistake. It's actually a stylistic problem. When editors are marking up a paper for revisions, you may note they place a pair of slanting lines in the margin--like this //. Those two slanting lines (//) indicate the editor has spotted faulty parallelism in that line of text, and the editor wants the author to fix it.

05-16-2004, 02:07 PM
Hrmm, I would do something about this. I would really give her a piece of my mind. In my opinion she is discriminating!

05-16-2004, 02:16 PM

The poetry of the Bible, particularly in the King James Version, which attempts to approximate the Hebrew CADENCES, rests on CADENCE and PARALLELISM. The Psalms and The Song of Solomon are noted examples of free verse.

It sound like teacher is confused herself.

Free verse is that, free concept. You can not force parallelism into free verse poem.

But in history the King James Bible was based on the Hebrew poems which ARE parallelism in structure.

I think your son's teacher needs to spend 5 minutes on the net.

Basically Free verse CAN contain parallelism but it is NOT required.

Unless teach asked for a poem based on the King James Bible, she is in the wrong.(i.e. A combination of free verse but based on hebrew parallelism)

Give her hell, Kim. Show that teacher up for the bully she is !!!!