The focal point of the school, organizationally and mood-wise, is the principal. School principals, I find, may be helpful or not particularly, or may delegate helpfulness, but seldom trouble the poetry program as long as one is on time and seems confident. There’s little, however, the visiting poet can do about the mood of the whole school. One operates class by class, where the teachers are supremely important. The teacher is the bellwether of the class, of its developed attention. When the teacher writes along with the student, or simply listens alertly, this participation catalyzes the whole room.
On a more practical note, the teacher can exert authority, which the visiting poet doesn’t have, when it’s needed for the proper degree of order. For me, quietness is important when poems are being read aloud, and it’s an eternal little battle to bring classes “down” after the hurly-burly of creation. Essentials are learned in each state, the listening state and the composing