Monday, October 12, 2009
Memoir Monday ~ A Favorite Teacher
As you can see I've been blogging a lot in my head lately. I'm making a real push to get the words out of my head and onto the screen. Follow through, right?
For today's memoir prompt...who was your favorite teacher? This does not have to be a childhood or school age teacher, but someone who taught you a skill or concept that you value today. Perhaps what they taught wasn't as important as how they taught it.
Two of my favorites were Sharon K., my English teacher and Mama Marge W., my journalism teacher. Mama Marge ( and yes we often called her that) had already encouraged my love of photography by putting me on the photography staff of the school newspaper and yearbook. She is a tall, thin woman with a quick, sharp mind. She treated her staff students not as students only, but as adults capable of doing amazing work. My sophomore and junior year of high school, she taught me to write according to strict journalism standards. Just the facts and economical with words. Deadlines became my friends.
Sharon K. (whom we called Mrs. K---) loved being an English teacher. I ate her class up. We studied classic books with enthusiasm. It was in her class that I discovered Ray Bradbury. What a discovery! During my junior year, she taught me to write in a traditional English manner. Vivid description, powerful presentation, and the joy of organizing a big project.
Having both of these teachers in the same year was excellent for me. Because of their demands, I learned to write according to the audience. I can't tell you how valuable that skill has been in my creative life. Whether I'm writing a marketing piece for my studio or a letter to the editor or a piece of fiction, I know to pay attention to the unseen person who will be reading my words and craft accordingly.
As I said, I had a very adult type relationship with Mama Marge. She attended my wedding and my dad's funeral. A few years ago, her children arranged a party to celebrate her 80th birthday. It was delightful to see her again. She was, as ever, a sharp, insightful, and intelligent woman.
In my thirties, when I was showing German Shepherds in obedience, I ran into Mrs. K-- at several shows. She, too, had taken up dog showing. Her Bernese Mountain Dogs were like huge teddy bears...all plush fur and happy expressions. She introduced me to her husband by his first name. When she noticed I was still calling her by Mrs. K--, she said, you know, you've graduated. You can call me Sharon. With a smile, I shook my head. "Nope, I don't think I can."