In The Teacher’s Way

In the fall of 2012, senior UBC faculty member Carl Leggo in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia since 1990, had supervised more than two hundred doctoral and masters students.  The UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies “Killam Awards For Excellence in Mentoring” document describes his mentoring skills: vColleagues and graduate students describe Leggo as “simply superior at graduate mentoring”.  He is lauded for his “critical compassion”, “wisdom” and unstinting dedication to his mentees’ intellectual development and personal well-being.  Leggo’s students are encouraged to develop innovative approaches to research and publication.  To honour Leggo’s mentorship and his outstanding ability to create effective working relationships with constructive interactions that provides appropriate guidance, feedback, and support and involve encouragement, openness, trust, and mutual respect, Leggo was given the Killam Mentoring Award.

The following 3-minute video posted through the universityofbc channel, was produced where Dr. Carl Leggo speaks briefly about his mentor, Ted Aoki and then reads his poem “The Teacher’s Way”.

The Teacher’s Way

lingering in the spaces of the sentence
(for Ted Aoki)

on the edge of morning
a heron stands still
in the slough near the dike
where I walk daily.
gulls hang in the sky.
a sea lion rests with the river.
an eagle watches from the tallest alder.
the whole world lingers.

this is the teacher’s way

I too wait and watch,
my image upside down
in the smooth river,
all the world
topsy turvy but
still in balance,
learning to be still, even
in a vertiginous world.

this is the teacher’s way

I meet an old woman
who asks, can you tell me
where to find the slough
with chocolate lilies?
they only flower in April, she says.
I have never seen chocolate lilies,
I confess. I look for them.
I am glad she invited me to look.

this is the teacher’s way

on the edge of the day I
dance and laugh all the ducks
in the slough in the air.
our wild line scribbling
writes the earth, writes us
in the prepositions
which connect all
the parts of the sentence.

this is the teacher’s way

spring light fills the aspens alders apples
along the dike where I loiter,
the world conjured in ancient stories,
a space for play where
the past is remembered
for wisdom in the present
and hope for the future, knowing
always the possibilities of verbs.

this is the teacher’s way


Published previously:

Leggo, C. (1998). The teacher¹s way. The ATA Magazine, 78(4), 11.

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