Teachers can invite a poet to their class at no cost to the school. What better way to spark a love of poetry to last a lifetime than a visit from a poet?
How does the Poet In Class program work?
- A teacher logs in to our website (or creates an account and then logs in), searches our network of poets, and submits a visit request.
- Poetry In Voice manages all requests and schedules visits based on proximity and poet availability.
- Prior to a visit, the poet and teacher(s) unpack their expectations and establish logistics.
- After each visit, the teacher(s) and poet complete a brief questionnaire. Poets must confirm through this questionnaire that their visit took place in order to receive their payment.
- If your school would like a visit from a francophone poet, please visit the Poètes à l'école page.
What you need to know before submitting a request
- Visit requests are considered on a first come, first served basis. We recommend that you submit your request in the Fall.
- Poet visits take place between September and June of a given school year.
- Each school is eligible for one free in-person visit (up to three hours) or two virtual visits (one hour each) during that period.
- If your colleagues would like a poet to visit their classes as well, please coordinate with them before submitting your request.
- Once a teacher has filled a request form, other teachers in their school who have an account with us will also receive an email confirming this request.
- If both the teacher and the poet agree to extend the poet’s visit or book an additional visit on another day, any extra time must be paid for by the school.
- Be sure you’re clear on your school's and/or school board’s policies and procedures for authorizing a visit by a guest speaker (e.g. screening procedures, paperwork, etc.). It’s your responsibility to communicate any requirements to the poet during the negotiation of a booking, and the poet must agree to the terms before your booking can be confirmed.
Prior to a visit, the poet and teacher communicate by phone or email to negotiate logistics and expectations. We recommend you address all of the following:
- The location and timing (school address, the poet’s approximate travel time to and from the school, the total time available to work with students (remember that a poet’s visit can last up to three consecutive hours), start time, instructions for entering the school, room number(s), end time)
- The teacher(s) who will be present during the visit (N.B., one teacher must be present at all times)
- The work the poet will be doing with the students (writing workshop(s), a reading with a Q&A period, performance coaching, etc.)
- Information about the students (how many students, what grade(s), any previous poetry studies)
- Any preparation the teacher should do with their students prior to the visit (read the poet’s bio and one of their poems, read a discussion prompt that will kick off the poet’s work with them, etc.). Please note that it is the poet’s responsibility to bring in any materials (including photocopies) that the students will use during the visit.
- Poetry In Voice asks all teachers to screen our short introductory video for students prior to a poet’s arrival. The video puts an exciting, contemporary spin on poetry and previews all of the great resources we have for students on our site.
Prepare for a Virtual Visit
For virtual visits, in addition to the above recommendations, the teachers and poets meet to:
- Identify which platform (Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc.) will be used. Be sure to discuss the following:
- What access and limitations do students have to platforms (YouTube recordings, Meeting/breakout rooms, etc.)?
- Are there any special access needs required (ASL, closed captions, etc.)?
- What are the rules around privacy (recordings, screenshots of students, etc.)?
- Determine the setting: Will students be in a classroom with one large screen, on their own devices joining from home, or a combination? How will the students be able to see you? Will you be able to see the students? How will you interact with each other?
- Create the virtual meeting: Either the teacher or poet must now schedule the meeting using the agreed platform. Remember, your visit date and time have already been agreed to. If a change is made to the date or time, Tessa must be informed, or you will receive incorrect visit reminders from our system. Note: if the teacher creates the visit the poet may not have access to all virtual platform features.
- Exchange cell phone numbers in case there is a problem.
- Do a test before the visit to iron out any issues.