Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Teacher Appreciation Week
We're smack in the midst of Teacher Appreciation Week. What a lovely week! To celebrate, I would like to publicly offer my sincere thanks to the two teachers most responsible for the path I now find myself on--the Writing Path.
As a kid, I was in love with books. Writing? Not so much. I read tons. I wrote little. Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Whisenhunt inspired me to change that.
Mrs. Hall was my high school English teacher. Though I was homeschooled from ninth through twelfth grades, I took a group English course with several other students from tenth through graduation. I admit to resisting my mother's initial efforts to get me to take the class. But she persisted (and insisted), and so I relented.
I loved Mrs. Hall and her class. In the three years I took English/creative writing from her, I don't recall pulling out a single workbook or textbook. She taught through novels and hands on writing exercises. We students worked on writing a group novel titled CLEMENCY. I can still remember scenes and plot lines from that novel. The class would form a semi-circle around Mrs. Hall as she sat at her computer. There we brainstormed plot and scenes. Later, we would find a quiet place to draft our version of the scene we'd discussed. It was fascinating for me to see firsthand how books were developed and came into being. Through Mrs. Hall's hands-on approach, I gained confidence in my writing abilities, and a love for writing itself.
Though Mrs. Hall had helped me to see that writing was fun, I did not want to be a writer. I wanted to be a marine biologist. When it was time for me to begin college, my cousin and I registered at the same institution, moved into a dorm room together, and I began pursuing a major in biology and a minor in marine science. I could see myself floating on a boat out in the ocean blue. But...it wasn't meant to be.
For several personal reasons, I withdrew from college and took a job at a jewelry store in Birmingham. My cousin stayed behind. Our English professor, Mrs. Whisenhunt, passed a note on to me through my cousin. She was asking me to come back and change my major from biology to english. She believed I had been pursuing the wrong major.
Did I heed her advice? No. I was young, and I was headstrong. I never went back to college.
But her words stuck with me. They stuck with me through marriage, through the birth of my two sons, through the days and weeks and months and years. And now, I am a writer. I have become what I was meant to be. And were it not for two intuitive teachers and their encouragement, I might never have found the right path for me.
So to Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Whisenhunt and all the teachers who work to inspire and nurture and encourage their students, thank you. Words alone cannot express the difference you make in kids' lives each and every day. You may never see firsthand the fruits of your labor, but I promise you, the fruits are there. You hold more power than you know.