Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Yesterday, my students gave me gifts all day. I'm doing the Young Writers Institute this summer again and I have 11 year-olds this year. You would think that means they aren't deep and can't write anything stunning, but that would be wrong. These kiddos are so profound! They write realistic fiction and period pieces and poems that shake my soul. Each time they run up to me with their journals, I feel like it's Christmas when I get to read their work.

Yesterday morning, one of my littlest ones, a wee little girl shorter than me, told me she noticed that I liked shoes. She is very perceptive! I have worn a different pair of Old Navy flip flops each day for the past 2 weeks. Anyway, she built me a necklace from a piece of gold elastic and a plastic pair of bedroom slippers. I don't want to ever take it off.

In the afternoon, I climbed up the hill to work with the athletes. I had a long appointment with the anxious kid, the one who used to carry his own stapler with him until I made fun of him. We worked through a long essay about the power of language. He shared intense stories about how language controls him, how the hateful brutality from some of his coaches shakes his bones. It was a tough essay and I was so proud of him for writing it. When he was done, he pulled up a bunch of files and showed me videos of bears he's hunted and fish he's caught.

I feel so amazing when they share with me, when they trust me so much they let me see their private fears and then want me to see their joys, too. I can't describe how electrifying it is to have such an effect on another person. It's an intensely intimate space. I'm so thankful I get to inhabit it.


P said...

You have flip flops in the double digits?

Jane said...

Your insights made me cry a little. Now you know why I have taught for thirty years. I can't wait to get back to it after the long leave.