Third Grade Poem Day

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Third Grade Poem Day

Third grade was memorable for many reasons. It was the first time I starred in the school play, I won an award for best art project and was selected to be the school’s office monitor for the month. It’s safe to say I was a pretty great student. But somehow, my reputation as a great student changed the moment my dad brought home our very first printer.

It was an exciting time. My family had just bought a desktop computer and I spent hours on Google searching images of puppies and playing “Paint.” The moment my dad plugged in our new printer, my whole computer experience intensified. I wanted to print everything. From coloring templates to word puzzles, I had too much fun using our new printer, and I couldn’t wait to use it for school.

I remember my third-grade teacher, Ms. Katz (who was also my favorite teacher ever), assigned the class to write a poem for Poem in Your Pocket Day. This day was meant for students to write original poems, keep them in their pocket, and if a teacher saw a student in the hallway, the teacher would have students share the poem with them. It was a cute concept, but I had a plan to take it to the next level. I knew that very night, I was going to go home and get the best poem ever from Google, print it out, and impress all my teachers with my incredible poem! Little did I know that taking someone’s work from Google was not going to be celebrated.

I probably could have gotten away with it, if the person I decided to plagiarize from had not been Latina global icon and legend Selena. On top of that, I thought her hit Dreaming of You, which expresses deep romantic feelings and a desire for a love interest, was the perfect poem for my 8-year-old self. When I printed the lyrics from online and recited it, I was certain that I would have the best poem at school.

The next day, Ms.Katz suggested we all share our poems with the class. Everyone had great poems, but I remember gripping my seat because I couldn’t wait to impress my teacher with my masterpiece. When it was finally my turn to present, I was a bit worried when my teacher’s face turned confused as I read the first sentence from my poem. I started with, “Late at night when all the world is sleeping…” and I was instantly stopped.

“You wrote that?” Ms.Katz asked.

“Yes, I did,” I responded with confidence.

“Oh, really … are you sure about that?” she persisted.

“Of course,” I said. At this point, I knew she was on to me.

I remember my knees shaking as she walked toward the classroom telephone to call the principal. But not only did she call the principal, she called all the teachers from the entire third grade to come and listen to my poem.

In just a few minutes, I went from presenting my poem to my class to presenting for a crowd of teachers, students, and the principal. I didn’t make it far into the poem before the principal started singing the lyrics out loud. It’s funny now, but back then it was the most embarrassing moment ever!

The good part was, I learned a valuable lesson, and my teacher was more humored by it than angry. To this day, I’m still not sure why it took me so long to admit that I had not written Dreaming of You, but it did make for a funny story years later!

Tags: Personal Growth

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Written By

Claribel Rivas

Claribel is a social media manager in the Washington D.C. area who incorporates her cultural influences into her creative content. See Full Bio

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