Students read and discussed famous poems about perseverance, resilience, and emancipation. For example, they were introduced to Walt Whitman’s poem, "Oh Me! Oh Life!" and W.E. Henley’s poem, "Invictus".
Students were then asked to create their own original composition in free verse form reflecting on their own struggles and perseverance. As a challenge, they were encouraged to include Henley’s words: “I am the master of my Fate” and “I am the captain of my soul” in a way that credited the original source. Once their poems were finished, each student reflected on their journey of struggle and perseverance.
Student Work Sample
Lost in Thought
Perhaps it is the ending of yet another day
That causes one to realize
To lie awake thinking
Of how fast time flies
Of what will come to be
How people come and go
About what will happen to me
And the events of which I have yet to know
The feeling of being lost
Wishing the clock to slow
So that I have time to catch my breath
Before I need to grow
Stumble into the unknown
On a path chosen by another
Decided upon long ago
When I lose myself in thought
I’ll remind myself that I am in control
For William Ernest Henley once said
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul
Lost in Thought: A Reflection
My poem relates to the core competency of Personal Awareness and Responsibility because it speaks to questioning one’s purpose and the idea of destiny; sometimes I feel as if I am lost in my responsibilities as a student as well as many other roles. It is in times such as these that I feel somewhat insignificant compared to how well other people seem to be faring; I tend to pan out or momentarily give up in these situations. Being aware that my choices are the most important in my life will help me feel more in control of myself. Not only do I feel lost in my responsibilities, but I also feel as if time may be going so fast that I can’t keep up with it. I worry too much about what the future holds and about how frighteningly close university and post-secondary life seems to be. To combat this, I can find ways to channel stress out of my mind so that I don’t worry too much; I think that by taking initiative and more responsibility will make me feel more secure and in control in what I will become as a person.
Many students identified this learning experience as one of their favourites. Students saw this exploration into identity as valuable and important. From a personal awareness perspective, their responses were thoughtful and genuine. The reflections were an invaluable and integral part of this process. Students delved deeply into their own experiences and journeys to construct their own meaningful and original compositions.
I communicate confidently, using forms and strategies that show attention to my audience and purpose
In discussions and conversations, I am focused and help to build and extend understanding. I am an engaged listener; I ask thought-provoking questions when appropriate and integrate new information. I can create a wide range of effective communications that feature powerful images and words, and I identify ways to change my communications to make them effective for different audiences. I use my understanding of the effectiveness of the role and impact of story to engage my audiences in making meaning. I acquire information about complex and specialized topics from various sources, synthesize it, and present it with thoughtful analysis.
I can identify my strengths and limits, find internal motivation, and act on opportunities for self-growth. I take responsibility for making ethical decisions.
I am aware of my personal journey and reflect on my experiences as a way of enhancing my well-being and dealing with challenges. I can advocate for myself in stressful situations. I can take the initiative to inform myself about controversial issues and take ethical positions. I take ownership of my goals, learning, and behaviour. I act on what is best, over time, in terms of my goals and aspirations. I recognize the implications of my choices and consult with others who may be affected by my decisions. I can identify my potential as a leader in the communities I belong to. I sustain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.