Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For the Love of Teachers

When did you discover that you liked or even loved to write or read? I recall deciding that writing was big fun during the second grade, thanks to a teacher who took writing very seriously. Apparently, my mom took note of my budding interest in writing because she saved one of my stories--“The Sloppy Man.” Or, as I spelled it back then,“The Sloupy Man.” I am happy to report that my spelling has improved a little bit since the second grade, but not my drawing skills. Now you know why I write novels instead of illustrating picture books.

Anyway, my amazing and fabulous second grade teacher encouraged, nurtured and fostered my first leanings toward writing. You probably can't read her note here, but it reads: “I loved reading your sloppy man story. This is a great improvement (note: I’ve always preferred revisions to first drafts). Isn’t writing fun?” I'd like to point out that she wrote this in red. Red! You know that had to have been big. I’m sure I was pretty impressed with myself at the time (shoot, I’m impressed now). Never mind that this story being an improvement over anything is a tad scary. Anyway, I truly believe that thanks to this wonderful teacher at Murray Avenue School, Sloupy Man turned out to be the beginning of my great and mighty love of writing. I am forever grateful to Mrs. Dennison and all the teachers that encouraged this passion. Where would we be without the love and nurturing of our teachers?

How about you? Do you recall when you first felt the spark of passion for writing or reading? Do you have a teacher to thank for this? I bet you do.


  1. Awww...I actually think the drawing/illustrating is really good. Your 2nd grade artistry is better than my adult drawing. :)

    I agree, good teachers are priceless. I had some great teachers and some truly lousy, mean teachers.

    Thanks for sharing your Sloupy Man. :)

  2. Many of us have taken this journey because of encouragement by patient teachers who really love what they do. Your teacher really made a great impression on you for you to keep that composition.

  3. That is SO neat you still have that story!

    My mother was the first to recognize I might be a writer when I was eight. She was home schooling me (The Calvert Course.) An assignment was to write about my family. I wrote three pages all about us. Even though my spelling was (and remains) terrible, I had captured my family on paper. (I wish I still had it but the tropics eat paper.)She was impressed and encouraged me from that day on. Oh...and she taught me to read too!

  4. Cynthia - this is priceless! How cool that you still have one of your very first stories and can share it with us. Although I learned to read very early, I'd have to say it was my mother taking us kids to the library and allowing us to check out large stacks of books that encouraged my love of reading, books, and ultimately writing. Thanks for a great post.

  5. LOL, Lola! You are too sweet about that drawing--thank you. And oh yeah, I had a couple mean teachers, too. They left a different kind of impression.

    It's amazing what a difference a great, patient teacher can make, isn't it, J.L.?

    Wow, Bish, how amazing that your mom taught you to both read and write. What great experiences and what great memories!

    Thanks, Linda! Yes, trips to the library or any place with lots of books, are great encouragement! I love seeing kids in libraries and book stores. Hurray for your mom.

  6. I remember I started loving reading in third grade and more in fourth grade when my teacher challenged the class to read more books. I'm so competitive I wanted to be the one who read the most!
    I love that you have the Sloppy story! I wish I had more from my childhood. I do have poetry from fifth and eighth grade that are amusing!

  7. Oh, you are so lucky to have those mementos of your writing childhood! I save lots of my kids' writings, but have none of my own to look back on.

  8. I give my mom all the credit for holding onto this gem of a writing sample. It really is fun to have something from so long ago and far away. : )

    And Kelly, that teacher that challenged your class to read more books must have been awesome!

  9. This story is hilarious!

    "he was sloppy...and crazy". I love how you went from sloppy to crazy because anyone who was soooo sloppy HAD to be crazy, right? I love, love it.

    I have saved a similar story from my youngest that starts "onc upona tim ter wus a princes" from second grade so I think your spelling was spot on for that age.

    ah...this made me giggle this morning. thanks for that. :)

  10. I'm so glad that this brought you a smile, Tess! Apparently my second grade self thought sloppy did mean crazy. What is that? Makes me wish I could spend a little time with myself at that age to find out what other thoughts were percolating in my little brain! ; ) And the spelling mistakes at that age are kind of hilarious, aren't they? Thanks for stopping by!

  11. How cool that you still have this!

    I've always loved writing stories. In high school I started to believe maybe there was enough of a spark there to pursue it, but I always thought I'd be a journalist. I much prefer this road!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  12. Thanks, Angela! This children's book road is wonderful, isn't it?

    I sometimes think that I might want to take some journalism classes as I never did in school. Somehow, though I never get around to doing this. Too busy writing stories. : )

  13. Very cool! My mom is a pack rat and you have me wondering if she saved any of my stories.

  14. I hope she did, Shannon. You'll have to let me know. It really is fun to find something from the long ago past! : )

  15. too cute, Cynthia! I wish I had saved some of my stories. I used to write a lot when I was younger - my teacher said I was "gifted" so I think that may have sparked an interest in me then. Wish I could remember the teacher's name too! Darn - where's my St.John's Wort (that's for memory right?)

  16. LOL, Terry! But the really important thing is that this teacher inspired you, right? And look at you now--author of DOGSLED DREAMS. So great! I bet that teacher would be proud.