I have been writing since I was old enough to know that words tell a story…about four years old. I have such vivid memories of standing in my basement in Chicago, leaning against the washing machine, and scribbling across a notepad because I had a story to tell. Of course, the scribble was just gibberish, but the story was clear in my mind.
My primary school librarian read enchanting stories from picture books. One of my favorites was Sam, Bangs and Moonshine by Evaline Ness. I loved the whimsical tale of the inquisitive girl and her cat, and the father whose love was overshadowed by grief over the loss of his wife…so many powerful emotions interwoven with haunting illustrations. As you can guess, library hour was my favorite time of the week.
In sixth grade, I had a wonderful and engaging teacher who nurtured my writing. She came to school early in the morning and worked tirelessly with me as I completed my first full-length novel. I will never forget this wonderful woman. We corresponded through my college years before losing touch. I will always treasure the boundless encouragement she gave me.
In high school, I had an English teacher who loved books as much as I did. He understood my passion for words, and encouraged me to read books with more depth and to appreciate their beautiful imagery. He also began a writers’ group, and published some poems I wrote in a school anthology. It was thrilling!
Without these dedicated teachers, I may not have pursued my love of writing…and might very well not be where I am today. As I journey through life, I try to ‘pay forward’ the encouragement I received.
Has there ever been a teacher who impacted you with compassion, dedication, or encouragement? If so, how did this teacher help you to get where you are today…and what would you say to him or her if given the opportunity?