Let me preface the story. The art department often buys a few good leather bound sketchbooks every year with our art order. I saw them on my shelves and decided to ask my mentor a few months ago about them. She said, "Often times we give them to students we see who make an extra effort and seem really serious about art".
So here's the story.
Well, here's what happened today. I have a 3rd grade student who brings me the most elaborate and detailed sketches of mainly animals. She must study photos and the animals in real life. She shades them in wonderfully, and is always thrilled to show me. She always insists on giving them to me, but I told her I want her to start keeping them so she can see how much she's improving as she keeps drawing. I asked her today if she had a sketchbook or something she could tape them in...she had a puzzled look....-her response, "Well no, but every once in a while my dad will bring home some old scrap paper from his work". Needless to, her drawings are always on the back of old quote papers from a construction company. :(
Anyway, so I asked her to come in and visit me at recess for a minute so we could talk about her drawings. I showed her the sketchbook and all the empty pages in it that she can fill...her eyes lit up SO bright. She hadn't seen an actual sketchbook before. This one was nice, with a hard back and everything. I told her I would like to give it to her because I know she will keep drawing, and fill up the pages. She said in the sweetest little voice..."are you sure you want to give that...to...me?" Her face made me sad...it made me sad that she was so unsure of my gift, but I told her OF COURSE I wanted to!
She got SO excited and I handed her the sketchbook. I told her that it's something I do for only a few serious students and she's the first I've given out. I really only have one more. She is a bright girl and quickly understood that she would keep it between us...but that she would cherish this gift more than ever.
It was really...really...amazing. I guess that sounds silly, but some of these kids have nothing-and I was shocked at how taken back she was that someone would give her a real good gift. A sketchbook for crying out loud. Wow.
So, I emailed my mentor (another art teacher) and told her about what happened with my sketchbook story. I felt I owed it to her since she was the one who told me I had the freedom to give it out!
Here is her reply to me:
"That is a lovely, million dollar story! Thanks so much for sharing! Many people make a whole bunch more $$ than teachers, but few have such beautiful interactions!
Thank you for doing so much for this little girl.
She will never forget you!