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Teachers are Rainbows in the Clouds

March 22, 2013

Today’s blog post honors a strong woman and educator during Women’s History Month.

I first came to know Maya Angelou as a middle school teacher in 1979. I read her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,  as I was previewing literature for my classroom. What a powerful story! It has been a favorite book since.

Book Description

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age–and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns about love for herself and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. (

After facing so much adversity Dr. Maya Angelou becamebio8

one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.

On her website she is described as Global Renaissance Woman. Read her biography at

Over the years, I came to admire the work of Dr. Angelou. I was in awe once again in 1993 when she shared her poem On the Pulse of Morning to honor the inauguration of President Clinton. (You see I have something in common with both Pres. Clinton and Maya Angelou…all of us grew up in small town or rural Arkansas.)

This past weekend, I was fortunate to attend and present at the ASCD Annual conference in Chicago with my Surviving to Thriving colleagues. One of the highlights of the conference was hearing and seeing Maya Angelou in person. In her inspirational presentation she honored all educators by recounting tales of educators and adults who had made a difference in her life. She lauded teachers who “recognize the possible” in all of their students and described caring educators as “Rainbows in the Clouds.”

I am again reminded of the power we hold as teachers. We do have the power to educate all children and support them in becoming strong men and women in a global society.rainbow I challenge all of you who are teachers and educators to be Rainbows for your students.

Thank you Dr. Angelou, a true Rainbow!

Read more about the conference at Surviving to Thriving LjL


Still I Rise

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Maya Angelou

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 28, 2014 9:56 am

    Reblogged this on From Surviving to Thriving and commented:

    I discovered Maya Angelou as a young teacher and have always admired her strength and courage. I am so happy I had the opportunity to see and hear her last year. We have lost an artist and a kind soul.


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