HEY! H A P P Y T E A C H E R A P P R E C I A T I O N W E E K!
I am thrilled to post this first of five posts this week to celebrate teachers. Some posts relate to my second novel, FISH IN A TREE. However, I will also post some personal stories about my own teaching days. Just for the sake of sharing.
EACH post will end with a giveaway of a different prize every day. Just my way of thanking all of the teachers like Mr. Daniels out there. I know there are many of you! And I am grateful for that every time I step into a school and meet some of you.
Teachers – You’re changing lives every day. As a kid whose life was saved by a caring teacher, I extend my gratitude to each and every one of you.
Nothing and Everything to Lose
Three days before my twenty-second birthday, I headed to an interview for a third grade teaching position. I wanted it so badly, but I had gotten to the finals in eight school systems and then lost those jobs. I had been told, “You look too young” over and over. Frustrated, I went out the day before this interview and had my waist-long hair and bangs cut short. This made me look more like seventeen rather than twelve.
On the way, I listened to a cassette tape of Whitney Houston’s The Greatest Love of All. It inspired me. It helped me visualize myself teaching those kids. There wasn’t anything I wanted in the whole world more than that job.
The interview seemed to be going well with the team of faculty members asking questions but the principal had spent most of the time with his hands clasped behind his head and looking out the window. He hadn’t communicated at all until I answered a question by talking about how I preferred to transcend the teacher’s manual. How I’d prefer to connect to the kids by creating my own activities and assessment materials.
He looked at me and spoke for the first time. “So what you’re saying, then, is that you aren’t accountable.”
Well, I was annoyed and I figured I wasn’t going to get that job anyway, so I was polite but firmly corrected him. I walked out figuring I’d never see that school again.
Later that afternoon, the phone rang and it was that principal. “Hello, Lynda. I’m calling because we’ve decided to offer you the teacher’s contract. Congratulations!”
I was so happy that, before even responding, I jumped into the air, swinging my arm over my head, scraping my knuckles across the low ceiling of my mom’s bedroom. With three knuckles bleeding, I tucked my fist into my armpit and tried to stay quiet.
“Hello? Are you there?” he asked.
“Uh, yes! I’m here! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You’ve made my year.”
“Good,” he replied. “I hope you’ll make ours.”
We chatted a bit more about the details and after hanging up, I stared down at my knuckles laughing. It seemed such a “Lynda thing” to do.
I found out much later that when that principal is impressed with a candidate he picks an argument during the interview to see if the applicant has a backbone. It was my standing up to him that secured the position. I taught in that school for several years before leaving to stay home with my children for a while. I still think of those students often. In fact, I have recently heard from a couple of them who have read FISH IN A TREE and have written to tell me their memories of third grade. I have loved these visits to my old classroom—among my happiest memories.
~A signed copy of FISH IN A TREE mailed to you
~A personalized video for your class. You send me three questions that the kids would like answered and I will make a video for you. I will include your school name and the kids’ names if you would like. The video will be about ten minutes long and will be posted as a private link on Youtube. You may download or view it from there. I guarantee that you will receive the video within a week of giving me the questions.
Please enter by leaving a comment below with your contact info (twitter handle or e-mail) or tweet/retweet with the hashtag #LMHvideo . This will help me find your entry. 🙂