Thursday, November 15, 2007

An Inspiring Teacher

In honor of the halfway mark of NaNoWriMo, the challenge to write an entire novel in the month of November (see earlier post), I'd like to give a tribute to a wonderful writing teacher I once had. I would love to hear about your experiences with inspiring teachers, too, so please do comment.

This is my story. When I was eleven, I was homeschooled for a year. A family friend, Liesl, was an elementary school teacher nearby. I had a passion for writing. So did she. She became my friend, coach, and mentor that year, the same year I joined the New Moon Book Girls Editorial Board. (See my first post ever for more an explanation of what that was). Every week, I would meet her at her home, and she would come up with creative projects for me as well as keeping two running journals together, each with a different focus.

Liesl taught me about a lot more than writing, though. She taught me about friendship. She taught me about creativity by taking me to the art museum to write about what we saw. She taught me about fun by inviting me to her school's celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday. She also taught me about optimism. She has Multiple Sclerosis, diagnosed fourteen years ago, and gets around in a wheelchair. But that's beside the point of who she is. Except for the strength it has given her in other ways. When I talked to her recently, she said, "I feel good about myself, and I want to have other people feel good about themselves." And isn't a teacher who gets all those life lessons across really the best kind of writing teacher? Because when it comes down to it, isn't writing all about life?

About writing, Liesl says that she writes in her journal every day and that people often tell her she should write a book. If she does write a book, she says, she doesn't want it to be about MS. Retiring this year to take care of her health, she hopes to become "more arty"--you can see her photos on this post!

I asked her if she had anything to say to girls. She did:

"We each make a difference. I do feel that I am a 'light in the world.' [I had called her that in the conversation.] I do think everybody has that, but I don't think everyone pays attention to that."

"We need to feel good about ourselves and to feel like we can do that, and I think boys are probably told that more often."

Liesl added, "For girls, anybody, it's important to know inside you is someone wonderful." I leave you with that.

Happy creativity, Bissy (Elizabeth!)

1 comment:

piglet said...

I totally agree with that! It doesn't matter what's on the outside-its the stuff in the inside that counts!

I had a really great teacher for 2nd grade. She was open to anybody, and sometimes we ended up gettting of topic and talking about her 19 cats and kitties instead. She made school sooo much fun, and also gave us NO homework.

Another great teacher I had was this year. I, too, have a passion for creative writing.(I want to grow up to be a creative writing teacher) This teacher teaches us writing, spelling, and reading. (language arts) I like her because she is creative, funny, and thinks up WONDERFUL topics for us to write about. She makes school soo much fun! My favorite teachers are always the ones that are funny and can have a little fun sometimes!