One day a couple of summers ago, while I was out and about, I ran into Stanley Kusunoki and his wife, Claudia Hampston Daly. As we have since we met back in 1996, we talked about our work: writing and teaching. But that day was different. That day, Stan mentioned that he was almost finished with a manuscript of what
he called “teacher poems.” The more he talked, the more excited I felt. Partly because he had been chronicling his years of teaching experience through poetry, but mostly because of the joy I saw on his face and heard in his voice when he talked about his students. Here is a man who truly loves his work and cares deeply about the children in his charge. He believes that all children, no matter their background, are small gems, worthy of being seen, heard and honored….
…180 Days isn’t just about being a classroom teacher. The poems in “Part Two: Application—1” were inspired by workshops given by fellow teaching artists at the annual Young Authors Conference at Bethel College in St. Paul. “Part Three: Application—2” includes poems he wrote to other teachers on special occasions. “Part Four: Application—3” consists of poems written by his students, with the final poem, “Poem for Mr. K.,” written by a student to honor him for her years as his student.
Every section in 180 Days: Reflections and Observations, indeed every poem, moved me deeply. Here is a book whose reflections on teaching is truly a work of art, one that should be read by teachers and parents, past, present and future.
Carolyn Holbrook, 2015