Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N #5 ~ Double for Me


I have written about my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Christy, several times now as he was the inspiration for Fish in a Tree. However, there were other teachers who made a difference as well. Today, I’m thinking of two of them: high school algebra teacher, Carol Masonis, and high school English teacher, Patricia Yosha.

I was an average student. Looking back on it I could’ve done better, but to be perfectly honest I had bigger issues on my mind than school. I was not a student that stood out a whole lot and I suppose I wanted it that way. As a freshman, I had a terrible math teacher who’d get through a problem on the board only to find that her answer didn’t match the book. She was also unkind. I did not do well that year.

On the first day of 10th grade, however, Mrs. Masonis commanded the room. She walked swinging a pointer and playfully slapped our desks to get our attention. She gave us a rundown of the rules including, “If you’re going to chew gum in my class you better have enough for everyone in the class and double for me.” The other thing about mrs masonisher is that she knew her material very well. Math just made sense when she taught it. She obviously loved her subject matter and she obviously loved us as well.

So, there was this one morning when she handed back our quizzes. I had received a 100%. I remember lingering in my seat for a bit longer than my classmates at the end of class, staring at the number. When I finally did get up to leave, she called me over. She took the quiz from my hand, held it up in front of my face, looked me in the eye, and said, “You know something? You’re very good at math.”

I think I half smiled and I think I may have mumbled thanks. But on the inside, things churned and I wondered if she was right. I started doing extra homework and studying hard for every math quiz and test. From that day forward, I never received anything less than 100% in math.

The following year, Mrs. Yosha, my English teacher called me up to her desk, held up a paper I had written, looked me in the eye, and said, “You know something? You can really write.” What do you think the chances are that these two were friends? It led to a similar result. I did not leave English with a 100% average but my grades did increase dramatically.

invisible to invincibleSo, maybe I’m overly open to suggestions? :-). I think in both cases, it was the intensity and the brevity of their messages. People who know me well wouldn’t believe it, but I was pretty quiet in high school. However, these teachers both gave me a goal and reaching that goal helped me view myself in a better light. Those improved grades got me into the University of Connecticut which led to other big changes. Great changes.

When I sat down to write one for the Murphys and it was time to create Mr. Ruben, the very first thing I ever gave him was a pointer to swing that he would use to playfully slap the desks. Although his gender and appearance are different, both his command of the classroom and that pointer came from 10th grade algebra and Carol Masonis who appears in the acknowledgements of Fish in a Tree because she was one of the very best teachers I’ve ever had.

She has been the subject of much conversation at high school reunions. I knew in high school that she was special, but it wasn’t until the reunions when I heard stories of things she’d done for other kids that really blew me away. She is one of those teachers that made a difference. A huge difference. Many of us out in the world are still grateful to have been her students.

Happy Teacher Appreciation—you are most definitely appreciated. I think teachers rarely understand the impact they can truly have. Perception changers. Life changers. World changers.

Thank you all! I do hope that you have enjoyed this week of celebrating YOU! This is a much-deserved celebration!

I’ll leave you with this…I recently heard, “If you are married to a teacher, raise your glass. If you are not married to a teacher, raise your standards.”


In the spirit of awesome teacher who swing pointers like Mr. Ruben from ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, I am offering:

  • 5 signed paperback copies of ONE FOR THE MURPHYS which you can add to your library, give to kids, or use for a book club.
  • 1 signed copy of FISH IN A TREE
  • 30 bookmarks for your students

Please enter by leaving a comment below with your contact info (twitter handle or e-mail) and/or tweet/retweet with the hashtag #LMHmath . This will help me find your entry.  🙂

Winner will be chosen on Monday, May 11th. Please be able to provide a school mailing address, your grade level, and the number of students that you have.


Categories: writing | 24 Comments

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24 thoughts on “Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N #5 ~ Double for Me

  1. Kim Jarrell.

    I teach 12 special needs student. TCHS. 22 oak st. Butler, ga 31006. Kim Jarrell

  2. Thank you for remembering the teachers #LMHmatj

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE you and your craft!

  4. Heather Jensen

    It is amazing what words a teacher chooses can change our thoughts from a fixed status to a more dynamic status where we believe we can be better. I am so glad you found those teachers Lynda, they are part of the reason you have two fabulous books for our kids. Once again thank you for your fabulousness! #LMHmath

  5. Linda Mitchell

    Not only can you really write….you can really see….people and what’s going on in yourself and others. Thank you this week for your heartfelt stories. You have made such a difference for young people…and teachers. @LindaMitch2783

  6. Laura Rahn

    Love this! I try to make a difference every day with my struggling 7th grade readers. Helping them realize that they can do anything that they want to! Would love to share your book with them!!

  7. Michael Long

    I love hearing your inspiration behind Mr. Ruben. He was quit the character. Thank you for all the appreciation this week!

  8. You are very fortunate to have had those two teachers that made such an impact on you and gave you a model to write about in your books. I too had 2 teachers that made an impact on me. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories with teachers.

  9. Kalysta Leary

    I love hearing about teachers who have inspired you. It inspires me to always be the best teacher I can be! Thanks!

  10. These posts have been such a gift this week! Loved everyone. @jenbrittin

  11. Anna Sedenka

    Thank you for all of the stories (and giveaways) this week Lynda!!


  12. Leah Whitford

    Every day! Every day should be Teacher Appreciation Fay so that I can enjoy more of your life’s stories! I don’t know about your math skill’s but that English teacher was right- Yiu can really write! Thank you, Lynda!

  13. Phyllis Sutton

    Your books have been inspirational for me and my kids!

  14. Krista Schmidt

    Your books have made such an impact on my students this year. I truly believe they will take your stories with them…it is my hope that will be their memory of me! Sharing these stories with them! Thank you!

  15. Eva Sullivan

    Love your words above and in your books. One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree don’t spend much time on our shelf. As soon as a student finishes one, another student is reddy to begin. Your stories inspire my students to be more compassionate people, to understand that they can’t always know a person by what he or she seems to be on the surface. They are learning empathy for their peers–kids with ‘missing’ parents and kids who struggle to fit in or to thrive– like the characters in the books. Thank you.

  16. ❤️❤️❤️ @MrsEReads

  17. Heather Fischer

    Awesome! My students would love this! HFISCH0919@gmail.com

  18. Suzanne

    Would love to share One for the Murphys and Fish in A Tree with my students!

  19. Justin Greene

    I appreciate everything you do for teachers. @justgreene

  20. Elizabeth Peter

    When we’re in the trenches, going through it, we rarely remember the impact we’re making, and the ways that we’re making it. My way in is through books, and it has changed my teaching life. Then, I come home to the teacher that I married, and we remember why we try so hard everyday. Thank you for the kind words!

  21. #LMHmath mjantzi@rockingham.k12.va.us @mjantzi We love your inspiring books @Cub Run Elementary School Library

  22. Jen Meizels

    The power of the spoken word. The power of the written word.

  23. My students and I would love to win this one! We are big fans!


    Sarah Krajewski
    Cleveland Hill High School
    105 Mapleview Rd.
    Cheektowaga, NY 14225

    About 100 students

  24. Congratulations, Linda Mitchell! You are the winner 🙂

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