March SOLC–Day 4
A huge thank you to Anna, Beth, Betsy, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for all that they do to create a supportive community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
Elementary school students are generous and teachers receive many spontaneous and unexpected gifts, from hand-drawn pictures, heartfelt notes and hugs to a well-traveled hard boiled egg swimming in juice in a leaking plastic bag. Once I had a first grade student very seriously present me with a small spring from inside a pen. “You can hang it on your wall,” he suggested. More recently, it took me awhile to figure out that one of my fourth graders was offering me a gift.
I was walking with my class down the hallway to Library and she chatted away at my side. My attention was distracted by some antics toward the end of the line and I returned my focus in time to hear her say, “So, do you want it, Mrs. Hogan?”
“What?” I asked, at a total loss.
“The sweater, ” she said. Sweater? I must have looked confused, and she attempted to clarify. “Do you remember that jacket you wore when I read to you yesterday?” she asked.
“Um, maybe,” I said. Jacket, what jacket? I don’t wear jackets.
“You know, it was kind of brown and it was soft,” she continued. “It’s kind of like that.” What was she talking about? Do I have a brown jacket? What’s like that?
She looked up at me and asked, “So, will you keep it if I bring it in for you? It’s green.”
I was silent for a moment, thinking furiously, trying to piece a few of these comments together. Do I want it? Sweater? Keep it? Suddenly, I realized what she was talking about. She wanted to bring a sweater from home for me. How generous! How sweet! But what should I say? I certainly couldn’t accept a sweater as a gift!
“Oh, K,” I said, fumbling for words, “That’s so generous of you. You need to keep your sweater though. Someday you might want it for yourself.”
“Oh, no.” she said casually, flipping her long hair over her shoulder, “It’s okay. I don’t like it.”