A reader’s perspective on teachers.
It’s that time of year again! Yep, all the stores seem to be on-board with lots of paper, pens, backpacks, notebooks, lunch boxes and all the other items to send the kids off to school prepared- I almost wrote happy! I actually do remember certain years that I was happy and excited to return to school, especially when I had a great teacher. So let’s talk about this amazing profession and some stories that highlight women who have chosen to make a difference for so many of us.
I recently finished Ann McMan’s Beowulf for Cretins: A Love Story and can only imagine what a semester under Grace Warner’s tutelage would be like. Her classroom explanation alone of eucatastrophe and duex ex machina was blowing cobwebs off my brain that’s for sure, but her snarky wit and her assessment of young students writing skills had me laughing throughout. I wonder what kind of student I would have turned out to be IF I had survived her English class (a really big IF there!).
The same with Sheila Ortiz-Taylor’s Outrageous teacher of Arden Benbow. I mean the thought process of just picking out the appropriate clothing to ignite her students was wonderful but when preparation turns into reality is when I truly felt how much teachers work for their students. Activities that are expected to take half an hour only taking 5 minutes – their amazing ability to bounce back with a brand new activity and keep the class engaged. Now that is a skill we could all use- flexibility and Arden does it in wonderful ways!
And how about Carrie Tomlinson in Ruth Perkinson’s Sterling Road Blues. Just the idea of a teacher making such an impact on a student’s life the way Carrie did with Elizabeth made little happy dances in my head, but what I enjoyed even more about the story was the struggles most of us never see with our teaches. All the teachers I can remember left their personal lives at the door and I never even thought of them as having a bad day, being sick, grieving, sad, angry, any emotion really other than thoughtful and caring about me and my education. The outside the classroom life of Carrie and how it can be affected by the classroom was really well done.
There are more wonderful stories in our LesFic genre that celebrate the teaching profession that I would love to share next week. In addition, there are some talented writers who split their time between writing and teaching – one in particular who stands out for me is Barbara L. Clanton since she writes for the age group she teaches and gives them positive LGBTQ to relate to. If you haven’t read her work yet, I would highly recommend Out of Left Field: Marlee’s Story as you will have several books following just waiting to be devoured. Thanks Barb for sharing your talent.
But for all those teachers out there who are preparing to head back to the classroom or who are already back there- thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for being willing to put up with the good kids and the difficult kids. Thank you for helping all of us be who we are. And in addition to being amazing human beings willing to get paid little for the time and energy they commit to their jobs, now their profession requires crazy training like Active Shooter Training because such a thing is a part of their reality now. So if you haven’t thanked a teacher current, past or just a friend please do so because they are doing a heck of a lot for all of us. And if you would like to share some of your favorite LesFic teacher characters I would love to hear about them!