Updated: Feb 26, 2020
You may find my second hashtag odd today, but please humor me and keep reading.
Some of you know that I've been an elementary school teacher for over 30 years, and the main character (Jillian) in my cozy mystery was also a third grade teacher before opening her beloved bookstore. My hashtag about teachers being superheros, however, has absolutely nothing to do with me or Jillian.
Someone asked me just yesterday, "How did you get started writing?" I actually had to stop and think about it, because I cannot remember NOT writing. After some serious thought, my answer was sixth grade. At least, this was when I fell in love with writing thanks to a fabulous teacher, Mrs. Lenkhart. Now some of my friends from grade school who might read this will disagree with me about her being fabulous. She was tough, and some kids just didn't like her. For some reason (probably her love of writing), we clicked.
She would bring these old photos to class. Now by old, I mean the people in the photos were from the late 1800s and early 1900s. She would then have us pick one and write a story about who these people were. Where were they from? What were their names? Was there happiness or tragedy in their lives? She made you really tap into your creativity. Once, I picked one of an infant in a carriage and created this whole life for this little girl. I became so attached to this infant it was as if I'd really known her. When Mrs. Lenkhart read my story, she called me over and said, "You're becoming a really good writer, and someday I know you will be a great writer." I almost cried then and thinking about it now makes me tear up a little. If she only knew how much her encouragement meant then and now. She's a superhero teacher in my eyes.
In high school I met another superhero teacher, Mrs. LeSeure. She taught senior rhetoric class where all we did was write. Most of the kids hated it, but I couldn't wait to get there everyday! She gave us the freedom to pick our own topics (we all know those teachers that told you exactly what you were supposed to write about- I HATED that), and she never criticized our ideas. I can still hear her saying, "Write what you know. Write about what's important to you. Write the story you'd want to read." Two years ago, when I was struggling with a different novel that I'd ben working on for years, those words came back to me and I had an epiphany- I didn't like the story I was writing! I'd been wasting my time on something I wouldn't even want to read. Years of work went into the trash file and was deleted. A new idea had come to me and within 6 months, Murder By The Books was complete. All thanks to the advice of another superhero teacher.
As a veteran teacher myself, I hope that I've had this kind of influence on some of my students over the years. I also hope that you're now thinking back to at least one superhero teacher in your life. I'd love for you to leave a comment and tell me about them, How did they inspire you? What made them your superhero?
Thanks for spending some time with me. Come back again soon to share my journey to the bookshelf!
Until next time,