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?
Mary Preston says
My father was a teacher. With each new promotion he was moved on to a bigger country school. I went to three different primary schools as a result. At each of these schools my father was the teacher in my classroom. At school I called him Sir, at home he was my Daddy.
I can still recall many of the lessons he taught us. He was an excellent teacher.
Being his daughter had an advantage in the classroom, I understood his humour. He was a wit.
Mary Manners says
Thanks so much for sharing, Mary. Your father sounds like a wonderful man!
Not sure about an impact but Mr Moody was my grad 5 teacher and my favourite. He was a favourite because he was fair. He treated us all as equals and didn’t play favourites. He was also passionate about teaching and would spend extra time when needed. Like my handwriting was and is atrocious and he would spend extra time and use aides to help improve it. He had a way that made you want to learn even if he was old school.
Our grade 6 teacher while having favourites and definitely showing that bias did have a passion for reading and would read to us. I remember her reading a couple of Colin Theile book’s “sun on the Stubble” and “February Dragon” She even went into bat for our class when she found out he was visiting to chat to the grade 7’s. As we were the only class in the school actually reading his books he spent around half an our talking to us.
In year 9 we had another English teacher passionate about reading and he encouraged us to keep a list of books read outside the books we had to read. He was also reading books to us and again read a Colin Theile book.
Paula Marie says
I had several wonderful teachers growing up that I felt impacted in me in several ways. I was very blessed!
Mary Manners says
Hi Paula Marie! Thanks so much for sharing. As a former teacher and school principal, your comment warmed my heart!
I had several great teachers in school, and some in college! I would like to find some of them, and thank them, but I’ve totally lost track of them.
Susan P says
I hated reading in school. I found no joy in it. Probably because I never got to go to a library to find something that sparked my interest (we didn’t have time – farm life). But there was my high school english teacher who kept pushing me and encouraging me to just start small. Eventually I loved reading anything I could get my hands on – finally in 12th grade. He never brought up someone’s level of reading or love or hatred towards it. He just encouraged everyone, in every state of their reading life, to keep doing it. He was a smart one!!
Hi Mary! I was blessed and had many wonderful teachers, who made learning fun – so much that I became a teacher. My first and second grade teacher helped me adjust to a new country and learn English. My sixth grade teacher helped learn research. My seventh grade math teacher Mr. Swerbinsky became my counselor and guided me through junior high, high school and community college. After 20 years when I returned to teach at the community college, I was able to thank him for my incredible journey. My senior English teacher broaden my reading horizons to international works. My community college English teacher published my book review in the college paper, which led me to take journalism classes and work on the college newspaper. Several of my English students also became English teachers. “Thank you teachers for making me a life long learner and enjoying to explore new genre, authors, and works.” Best wishes.
Pam Whorwell says
I have always loved reading and used to get in trouble for reading ahead. My second grade teacher encouraged reading. When school was out for the summer I had to have surgery to have a tumor removed and she came to the hospital to visit and brought a big book of Disney stories. I loved reading about Brere Rabbit, Jiminy Cricket, Cinderella, and all of the characters. I don’t know what happened to that book or the teacher, but I so loved the fact that she encouraged my reading habit!
Merrillee Whren says
I wish I’d had teachers like yours. I didn’t have teachers who discouraged me, but they didn’t foster a love of reading and writing either. I always loved school and did well, but I really didn’t like reading when I was young. Those school reading books were boring, boring. My mom introduced me to books, and I read those, but school reading wasn’t interesting to me. Even though we had library time, I never discovered books there I loved. When I was in elementary school, I lived in South Dakota very near where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived. I can’t believe my teachers never introduced us to the Little House books. My real love for reading started when I discovered romances and romantic suspense books. When I became a teacher myself, I discovered all of these wonderful children’s books. I shared them with my students. I had a ready supply of kids novels in my classroom.
Lori Smanski says
In sixth grade I had a teacher: Mr Mitchell. He taught all subjects. He was all of those: compassionate, kind, thoughtful,encouraging, gentle and all around nice person. He loved music (classics) and would put some on when we were supposed to be resting with our heads in our arms after recess in the afternoon. He came to class dressed as the latest person in history that we were learning about. He made learning history fun. That is where I started appreciating and loving to learn about history. If I were to see him, I would so thank him for being a teacher of integrity and sharing his love of music and history with me. I would let him know where all that has taken me and how it went down another generation. I tried to impart this love to our two children. Our youngest really didn’t care. Our oldest though became a civil war reenactor at the age of 14. In high school started sewing and selling reenacting clothes for men. Now at age 34, he and his wife reenact civil war, world war 1, world war 2 and revolutionary. He still sews/sells mainly for civil war and world war 2. Oh and he got his bachelors and masters in history. He is our walking encyclopedia when it comes to history. I love it.
Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds says
No, not really. I had teachers I really cared about but they all seemed reserved and distant.
Narelle Atkins says
Hi Mary, It’s fascinating to hear about the teachers who inspired and encouraged you to write. I will confess I found high school English classes rather dull, with the exception of studying a few classic novels eg. Pride and Prejudice. I’ve always loved reading and I didn’t start playing around with the idea of writing stories until my mid-twenties.
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