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Class enjoys teacher-poet

Denver Charter School teacher Amber Daugherty helps her student Bejamin Catoe. Daugherty, who teaches the third grade, spends free time writing poetry.
Jenny Walling / Lincoln Times-News

DENVER — Writing poetry doesn’t always fit easily into a teacher’s hectic lifestyle, but Amber Daugherty has learned how to sneak it in.
The soon to be published third grade teacher at Denver Charter School entered a poetry contest on a whim.
“It was just an off my head type thing,” said Daugherty of her winning poem. “I just expected it to be on the Web site.”
Daugherty entered her poem “A Life Without Boundaries” on the Web site poetry.com while looking up poems to share with her students.
A mere three weeks later she received a letter saying that poetry.com wished to publish her poem in a poetry journal.
Daugherty felt skeptical about the news at first. She assumed the company just wanted money.
“I did some research on it,” Daugherty said. “It’s a legit group.”
She soon shared the good news with her students, many of whom hadn’t realized she was a real, live poet.
“I had never met a poet before,” said David Scoggins, one of Daugherty’s students.
Daugherty, a young woman with short brown hair, didn’t quite fit their image of a poet.
“I think of a guy with crazy hair like Einstein,” said Joey Redmond when describing a poet.
Joey, like many of his classmates, is proud of his poetic teacher.
“I think it’s cool winning prizes for being what you are and doing what you do,” he said.
Inspiration can strike Daugherty when she drives her car or teaches class. She usually writes poetry only for herself and feels hesitant about sharing it.
She has, however, read a few of her poems to her students, some of whom didn’t fully appreciate them.
“Sometimes it’s over their heads,” said Daugherty. “They’re like ‘OK, gross, it’s about a boy.’”
When the students spend class time writing poems they prefer to write about things like puppies.
Daugherty read them Dr. Suess as an example.
“I’ve tried to write a few poems, but it’s really hard to make up poems that rhyme,” said David.
The teacher hasn’t succeeded in creating a love of poetry in all of her students.
Caleb Sadler, one of Daugherty’s students, still doesn’t like poetry.
“You have to read, and I hate reading,” Caleb said.
Poetry, however, beats out books and short stories.
“I like it better because it’s shorter,” Caleb said.
He appears to be in the minority in Daugherty’s class. Many of her students say they love poetry.
“It’s a fun thing to read,” said Kailey Hinds, a student. “You can dream what it looks like and what it means.”
Their teacher, a soon to be published poet, plans on continuing with her writing. She even finds inspiration from her small students.
“Even though they’re in third grade they still go through things,” said Daugherty.
Her next poem may be about loose teeth or an annoying little sister.by Sarah Grano

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