Teach This Poem, though developed with a classroom in mind, can be easily adapted for remote learning, hybrid learning models, or in-person classes. Please see our suggestions for how to adapt this lesson for remote or blended learning. We have also noted suggestions when applicable and will continue to add to these suggestions online.

Featured Poem

Related Resource

Look closely at the comic “If You Want To Say Thank You, Don’t Say Sorry” by Yao Xiao.

Classroom Activities

The following activities and questions are designed to help your students use their noticing skills to move through the poem and develop their thinking about its meaning with confidence, using what they’ve noticed as evidence for their interpretations. Read more about the framework upon which these activities are based.

  1. Warm-up: Look closely at the comic “If You Want To Say Thank You, Don’t Say Sorry” by Yao Xiao. What do you notice in this comic? What words, phrases or repetitions stand out to you? Why?  

  2. Before Reading the Poem (think-pair-share): Join with a partner and discuss what it might mean to disclose something. Share your answers with the class. 

  3. Reading the Poem: Read the poem “Disclosure” by Camisha L. Jones silently. What do you notice about the poem? Annotate for any words or phrases that stand out to you or any questions you might have.

  4. Listening to the Poem (enlist two volunteers to read the poem aloud): Listen as the poem is read aloud twice, and write down any additional words and phrases that stand out to you. Or, you might opt to listen to the audio of the poet reading the poem. 

  5. Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed in the poem with a small group of students. Based on the details you just shared with your small group, how does the comic you viewed at the beginning of class relate to the poem? What might the significance of the poem’s title be? 

  6. Whole-class Discussion: How does the poem change at the end? What do you make of the last lines: “I  am / here”? Why might the poem end without punctuation? Read the “About This Poem” section. After reading this, what new insights do you have or what else can you say about this poem? 

  7. Extension for Grades 7-8: Read more poems by poets who identify as Deaf or hard of hearing. With a partner, choose a poet to read. Prepare to give a class presentation in which you’ll share a poem by your selected poet and share a brief biography of this poet. 

  8. Extension for Grades 9-12: Research how your own community offers support to the local Deaf or hard of hearing community. What might your community do to enhance accessibility? Write an op-ed to your local newspaper to address this.

More Context for Teachers

In her About This Poem, Camisha L. Jones writes, “A person bumps into me on the street and I instinctively reply, ‘I’m sorry.’ Seconds later, I regret it. I notice the same compulsion towards apology as I navigate the world as a hard of hearing person. What does it mean to feel compelled in this way, to ask forgiveness over and over for interrupting other people’s comfort? Through this poem, I am grappling with what’s happening beneath the surface of those exchanges, the cost of all those apologies, and, ultimately, the unnamed cultural demands of the hearing world.”

Poetry Glossary

This week’s poetic term is repetition, referring to the poetic technique of repeating the same word or phrase multiple times within a poem or work. Browse the glossary.