Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N ~ Day #1


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.  🙂


Categories: writing | 55 Comments

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55 thoughts on “Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N ~ Day #1

  1. Kim Jarrell


  2. Susie Highley

    My students have really enjoyed your books! How interesting that the principal liked to see if a candidate had a backbone– which you obviously do. I also enjoyed hearing about how much you wanted that job, enough to even cut off your long hair!

  3. You are always so generous with your time and encouragement of teachers and the readers they work with on a daily basis. Of course you would take time out of your busy schedule to thank teachers every day this week. You are MY hero!


  4. Heather Jensen

    That is a fabulous story Lynda! Good for you for standing up for what you believe in. I am sure this is a lesson that your students also took away with them! As always you are amazing! @hmjensen31

  5. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us in your posts and books. Wish me luck in the giveaway. It is nice to be appreciated. buchhma at live dot com

  6. Thank you for your humor, your empathy, your creativity, and most of all…the honesty in your writing. It resonates within us and makes us want to become better teachers and better people. You are our Fantastico!

  7. Kristen Picone

    Those students were lucky to have you, as are all current kids around the world who have the opportunity to read your amazing work! You have touched so many lives!❤️

  8. Thank you for doing this. Your books are some of my very favorite. I just love the characters.

  9. Michael Long

    Great story Lynda. Sometimes when you think you have given a bad interview it ends up being a good interview. I am currently reading “Fish in a Tree” to my class for read aloud. They love it and get mad when I stop!

  10. Thank you for the personal story. I will share them with my students who loved your book during the Global Read Aloud. Our discussion this week each day is how to look good in a resume or on a job interview.

  11. Thank you for the personal story. I will share them with my students who loved your book during the Global Read Aloud. Our discussion this week each day is how to look good in a resume or on a job interview.

  12. Thank you so much for your story. My students are enjoying our present read aloud, Fish in a Tree! Your books resonate with so many of us and so many of our students. Again, thank you!

  13. Elin Goodwin

    What a great interview story! My 4th graders and I are on Ch. 44 of Fish In a Tree right now – I know it is a big hit because of the moans when I am forced to stop and teach something else despite all the begging for me to keep reading. Thank you.

  14. I am sitting on an interview committee at school this month and it’s reminding me of those days when I was on the other side of the table. Your post drove it home! No surprise that you have the chutzpah to stand your ground! I just bought Fish In A Tree, but would love to have you talk with the kids at our school. THAT would be a treat, for sure!!

  15. @MrsThakkar and her students (all 900 of them) would love this prize! 🙂

  16. Leah Ehitford

    thats one of the things that makes your books so relatable, Lynda. The voice of the teacher resonates through your writing. Your students were very fortunate to have you as their teacher, just as your readers are fortunate to have you now. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your words are so powerful!

  17. margaretsmn

    I’m glad you stood up to that principal for something you believe in. More of us need to do this. I loved Fish in a Tree. I want my students to love it, too. Thanks for sharing your stories that give us hope. Thanks for being a hero!

  18. Anna Sedenka

    So generous Lynda! I always love hearing your stories!

  19. I remember an interview I went on where I was waiting in the office for the principal (whose office had a window). As I waited I could see him yelling at a teacher. She left his office crying. My first thought was, run! I continued with the interview very intimidated. I got a job offer on the spot but later turned it down for another position in the same district. A few months ago I saw that same teacher and told her about the experience. She said she had been crying b/c a student was being extremely disrespectful and the principal was just demonstrating how the student acted when in his office. Apparently he was a really supportive principal.

  20. Thanks for all you do, Lynda. Fish in a Tree is one of my all time favorites!

  21. Loved your book Fish in a Tree!! Amazing book. I bought a copy for my girls and my daughter loved it so much she gave it to her teacher to read to her class. Thank you for your gift. I can’t wait to see what you write next.

  22. Kelly Farnsworth

    Thanks for sharing your story. I initially did my student teaching for 1st and 2nd graders. With about a month left to complete my student teaching, and a few more months before I officially graduated with my teaching degree, a 6th grade teacher quit without warning right at the start of October break. I was offered her position to finish the year with her class. And now 16 years later, I’m at the same school and I continue teaching 6th grade. Amazing where opportunities may lead you in life and careers.
    My current students love Fish In A Tree; it’s been read and passed around quite a bit.

  23. Our class has really enjoyed your books this year.

  24. Amy Smith

    Your stories have impact – so glad you spoke your piece and let your heart shine through. You do this on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing important words with the world!

  25. Laura U.

    I enjoyed this post and Fish in a Tree. I’ve also loved recommending Fish in a Tree to teachers, students, and pretty much everyone I know!

  26. Pingback: Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N #2: A Thank You Letter–Albeit Late | Be someone's hero. No cape required.

  27. Nearly every student at our school read One for the Murphy’s during Global Read Aloud. There were great conversations that took place at our middle school of 580 students. It is my intension to make Fish in a Tree available next fall during Global Read Aloud for teachers and students. This would be a great kickoff to have for our students.

  28. Students are so touched by Carly’s story. My own daughter who is reluctant to read much of anything, picked OFTM up and didn’t put it down. What a lovely give away! @jenbrittin

  29. Emily Bechstein

    Thanks for the great giveaways! em_bechstein@yahoo.com

  30. What a great story! That is an excellent lesson and life skill, I can’t wait to use it someday in my classroom. Happy Teacher Appreciation everyone! @mrrossperris

  31. Pingback: Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N Day #3 | Be someone's hero. No cape required.

  32. Melanie Gray

    THank you so much! @_melaniegray

  33. Debbie

    I loved both One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree! I plan to read Fish in a Tree with my fifth graders next year.

  34. Your strength and persistence is emulated in your characters.

  35. Julie Quastler

    How wonderful of you to offer such a gift! I finally have my own classroom after ten years of subbing. It is such a joy to finally be able to build real relationships with my third graders!

  36. What a thoughtful way to celebrate teachers. Thanks.

  37. Krista Schmidt

    Thank you!! My current students & my son have read both One for the Murphys & Fish in a Tree this year & LOVED THEM!!! I cannot wait to share FiaT with my new students next year during the Global Read Aloud! =)

  38. Bret Biornstad

    I haved loved reading both of your books. I wanted to read FIAT so bad and couldn’t wait for it to be published. And then my PLN stepped in and Susan Dee sent me her ARC, made my summer. After it was published, I bought a copy and donated it to our school library. Thanks…for all you do, thanks for your voice.

  39. Korby Saunders

    This would be amazing. I try to connect my students with as many authors as I can.

  40. Donna Thackston

    Excited to read your book. Thank you for sharing. May we all be willing to “see” the child 🙂

  41. Nan Smith

    Please count me in. Happy to hear about this new book. Thank you.

  42. Pingback: Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N #4 ~ Norman Rockwell Visits the School Cafeteria | Be someone's hero. No cape required.

  43. Kalysta Leary

    Thank you for sharing this story!

  44. Kurt Stroh (@strohreads)

    This is AWESOME! Thank you!!!!

  45. Smart principals know parents ask hard questions – and teachers have to have an answer. Great post. Thanks for the give away!

  46. Love that story. Our kids need teachers who stand up for what’s right.

  47. Deb

    If I tell my students that FISH IN A TREE was written by the author of One for the Murphys they will want to read it!!

  48. Melanie

    My students would absolutely LOVE this! Our school year is coming to an end and we are reading Fish in a Tree. They want to skip lunch and recess in order to listen to the book. They are hooked and loving every minute of it. Thank you!! mmeshekey@hotmail.com

  49. Phyllis Sutton

    My kids love your writing! FIAT will be our first read aloud next year!

  50. Heather Fischer

    How awesome! We are reading this right now! They love it! HFISCH0919@gmail.com

  51. Oh, how I love your books… and how I love the conversations with my kiddos who are reading your books — and then standing a little taller afterward. Thank you.

    I’m making a kiddie lit quilt for one of the walls of my school library. Would very much love to purchase your t-shirts, One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree, to be a part of this project. If you could help me, I would appreciate it. Again… thank you for your amazing stories.

  52. Andrea Payan

    I love your story about that interview. What a great way to check if a candidate will stand up for her beliefs. My students would love to hear from you. I loved Fish in a Tree and would love to share it with them. @payanar

  53. Elizabeth Peter

    I love that you taught, so can truly understand what a gift FISH IN A TREE is (and is going to be) to teachers everywhere.


  54. Congratulations Amy Romanowski! You are the winner of the signed book in the personalized video. 🙂 please contact me at Lyndamullalyhunt@yahoo.com with your kids questions and any other information you like me to include. I will send the link to the video directly to your email.

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