Cheryl Savageau’s poem “First Grade – Standing in the Hall” displays an image of a crying boy standing in the hall who has just been punished by a teacher because he is unable to read what his teacher wants him to read. The letters he reads are undecipherable for him. Those words are a mystery to him because he does not know what those words are trying to say. Although he cannot read them, he knows well that stories come through the books. Like the stories, his grandmother used to tell him. However, her granny is in the hospital, thus, he misses her and wants her to come home soon.
Moreover, he is stupid and hopeless because he is unable to read. Therefore, he is crying standing alone in the hall for a long. He is wishing for the class to end or for the principal to call him or for the bell to ring so that he would find an escape from that punishment. Nevertheless, no one appears. He halts crying and begins to observe around where he sees a spider webbing a cobweb on the windowpane. He throws his glance outside where he witnesses the sun shining bright and its rays creating a spectacular image in the yellow leaves. It seems like the sun is igniting a fire in the leaves of the tree.
In conclusion, the poet, in First Grade – Standing in the Hall, is trying to uncover the truth that each child has different talent and has a different style of learning. Therefore, to assess a child’s talent based on his or her reading skill or what they do not know is inappropriate. Besides, the practice of giving punishment to children if they failed to do what the teacher asks them to do is unethical. Each child is important and genius in his/her own way. The teacher’s responsibility is to make them realize what is inside them. They need to ignite the flame of possibilities and creativities that lie in them. Once they realize what’s inside them, no one can stop them from achieving that.