Jackie came by during my 8th period today. I had forgotten I’d told her to come by during my off periods so we could talk about her poetry.
There I was, on the phone, knowing she was standing there. It just didn’t click, until I did click and hang up the phone.
“Jackie!! You brought your poems!”
“Yes,” she said, as she peeled off the last page of a 20-page stack. “But I’m not ready to show you this one.”
“I’m not done with it yet.”
We continued to talk and I asked her pointed questions: how could I help her? what would she like me to watch for? what message was she trying to reveal? what mood was she trying to evoke in her reader?
I leafed through the stack as she spoke and read the first line of a short poem: My people. It was the title of poem laced with dialogue, a tribute to her culture. It was written for an aunt who inspired her, a loving message in return for the wisdom and strength she’d given to her niece.
For the next 20 minutes, our conversation touched on starting a Writer’s Notebook (yay!) and writerly habits, to mentor poems and science fiction authors, to short stories and drafts, to world-building and revision.
It was hard to peel away when the bell rang and students began coming into the classroom.
I felt their stares, their curiosity. I can only imagine what they were thinking as they overheard me touching another teacher with my love of writing.