Jefferson High School teacher uses poetry to educate students - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Jefferson High School teacher uses poetry to educate students

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

Poetry is a way to express yourself through words. Mr. Douglas McArthur teaches that to his students at Jefferson High School. Now they're expressing their feelings through actions, as they honor him with the Teacher of the Week award.

He's better known as the poetry sense, the leader of the Poetry Ninjas, a group of students who read, perform, and watch poetry.

"You just have to show them it's not just stuff you stuff in a text book, it's more than that," says Mr. McArthur, an English teacher at Jefferson. "It's visceral. It's alive. It's meant to be performed."

As a teacher, he thinks outside the classroom as well, even taking his students on a recent trip to Chicago, to see Louder than a Bomb, the largest youth poetry slam, as they call it in the poetry world.

"They came back amazed that this is what poetry is," McArthur says. "They've never seen students their age expressing what they feel, on the stage of the Cadillac Palace Theatre, with 2,000 people watching them do poetry."

Using the same methods in his literature classes to teach novels, he's very thankful for the honor from his students.

"What I do is sort of what I am," McArthur says. "And so I just love to watch my students learn, and the fact that they kind of did this for me, I don't know. It's very impressive."

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