The gift was a real surprise.
“Open it Ms. Juliette,” V whispered excitedly.
I did not want to guess what it was. As large as an A4 paper, hard to touch, in my mind I knew it was a book but never did I think V would select or suggest a notebook.
Whenever we had a quick write in class, I would get out my notebook and write with my fourth graders. I’m glad I did that, I sometimes read pages of poetry or my episodes to them. I needed my students to realise that I wrote often, if not daily and as a writer I sometimes struggle to begin or find topics to write about.
My course on journalling had a great impact on my teaching, I now have some structure and guidance of what it is about. I am sold into what writing regularly in a note book is and have seen many examples. I now know I am on the right path.
Noticing the interest in my students, and seeing them as writers, I got a few students notebooks and encouraged them to journal as and when they wished. I also made them aware that their notebooks would be personal and they did not need to share them with me. V was gifted one, she adored it, shared some of her writing with me and really cherished her purple flowered notebook. Sometimes she’d hug it and walk quietly beside me with a gratifying smile.
I shared my vulnerability, they also shared theirs. I shared my different genres, they also shared theirs. They added illustrations and sometimes cut pictures related to their topics and wrote reams and reams. There was one occasion when V wrote poems about all the six adults in her grade, using descriptive words, lines and sometimes dialogue, which disclosed exactly who the focus of the piece was.
So, on the last day of school, when the parcel was placed gently on my table and a card pulled directly towards me, I was made to open both the card and the present. This got me quite emotional. Was V expecting that? I remember she came with a friend. They looked directly at my masked face; struggling to read the emotion plastered in my eyes. I was shocked and wide eyed. I tore the wrapping paper off.
Surprised, my open palms cupped my head. I could not shake V’s hands. I was touched by the choice of present. A bound notebook. V knew I would appreciate that, especially because it was covered in an African print and was also unexpected.