Dear student…

That email you sent.
Almost didn’t open it.
Seemed like random spam.

Thank God I did, though:
I hope you remember me…
the little girl who

halfway wrote a book
‘bout five or six years ago…

-How could I forget?

Never finished it
but now I’m writing this one…
-You are still writing!

You can’t know the gift
it was, assisting your craft
as it developed

the pure joy I took
from the spark in your child-eyes 
born of storylove

-that’s YOUR gift, you know.
Your storytelling power.
It’s grown stronger, still.

And your plans, to be
a therapist. A healer.
An author. Oh, child

you have no idea
what your words have done today.
I read them again

and again, amazed
by your remembering me.
I compose my thoughts

to respond to you,
most of all to say that you’re


I wasn’t this child’s regular teacher but the school’s literacy coach, supporting writing workshop across grade levels at the time. Her fourth-grade teacher asked if I could make time to work with her as she had fallen in love with the craft and wanted to write historical fiction. We carved out the time; we made it happen. I blogged about it in 2017: Tripping the write fantastic. That teacher invited the student back a couple of years later to share her writing with a new crop of fourth graders. I blogged about that, too: Still tripping the write fantastic.

In the recent surprise email that sparked the poem I posted today, the student also wrote: “Every now and then I’ll read what you wrote about me on Lit Bits and Pieces, and it always makes me smile and feel inspired.”

That, Dear Student, makes ME smile and feel inspired. ❤ Can’t wait to see where your writing takes you!

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge…for teachers must write to teach writers.

Thanks also to Allison Berryhill who hosted an Open Write on Ethical ELA with prompting “a poem to a student.”

Photo: “Steal Like An Artist – ‘Write the book you want to read’.” Austin KleonCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

24 thoughts on “Dear student…

  1. This is so wonderful! Both that your student is still writing and that she made time to share that with you. I’m glad you read the email, too!


    Liked by 1 person

    • After I responded to the student, Ruth, with some requested feedback, she wrote again to tell me of her plan of revision – which includes research on the 1700s for additional authentic details … her love of the craft is palpable, even through a screen!


  2. What a gift to have been given the time to work with this young writer who had the desire to write historical fiction! Then to have the gift reappear in the writers own words through the email. The power of teaching the power of not only writing but sharing writing shines through brightly in this slice. Thanks for warming my heart this afternoon, Fran!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely story haiku, so lovely, Fran! I hope you will share with this dear former student. I particularly loved these words,
    “the spark in your child-eyes
    born of storylove”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am delighted she continues to write – her concept of story is fabulous and she’s willing to keep working to make it shine (in her words, taking on the “painful process” of revision).


    • Thank you, Glenda. After I responded to the student with some requested feedback, she emailed again to tell me, among other things, how she plans to approach revision: doing more research about the 1700s (her favorite time and setting) for additional authentic details. My heart sings!


    • For the record, dear Kathleen: I responded to the student (she’d asked for feedback) and I’ve since heard from her again on how she plans to begin “the painful process” of revising. She called it “cleaning the draft” – after a choreography term. I loved this!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fran, your mentoring skills have such impact on your students. What a wonderful gift to find sweet words being sent to you by a young storyteller. I feel it has been a long time since we corresponded so tonight I comment you on continuing to be the teachers influencer that you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The email from the student WAS such a lovely gift, Carol – in being remembered, in knowing what the student’s future plans are, to see that she’s still writing and growing as a writer. Her enthusiasm pours forth even from the screen. You are right – it does feel a long time since we corresponded! Thank you for the uplifting words and I hope you and all yours are well.


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