I am often asked who my inspirations are as a teacher/writer. Theoretically, that’s probably because I’m both a writer and a professor and; therefore, (hopefully) an inspirer myself. Here are those who inspire me.
- My mother: I know it sounds SO cliché, but it’s true. My mother got pregnant as a senior in high school; and, as a result, didn’t go to college. Mind you, she was misinformed (she was told, by my Grandmother, that, because she was pregnant, she could not attend college). So, she literally tossed her dream of being an accountant aside and had me instead. Speaking of accounting, here’s a little something that I’ve never told anyone before: I think that’s why, in High School, I wanted to be an accountant when I grew up; I wanted to give her the dream she never got to achieve. Turns out, I’m horrible at math, so that didn’t work out; and, little did I know, her secret wish for me was to be a teacher (which she refers to as the noblest of careers). So, it worked out well in the long run.
- My High School English teacher: Mr. Amato. While he’s not currently in my life, he did some pretty amazing things for me as both my teacher and my mentor as I pursued my teaching career. In high school, he was awed by my ability (even then) to tell a story. He often told me that I had a way of telling a story so conversationally that it was engrossing. It was his encouragement that made me WANT To write. It’s because of him that I was published at 17. He also encouraged me when I was in college looking to get my Master’s in English and my CT teaching certification. Not many people know this, but I failed part of the certification test the first time that I took it. When I told him, he laughed; and, then explained that people rarely pass the first time around. He assured me that he, too, had failed: not once, but twice and that there was absolutely no doubt in his mind that I’d pass it in due time.
- Last, but certainly not least: My students. Also very cliché, I know; but, it’s true. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wanted to quit. I’ve often thrown my hands up in frustration and questioned my self and my abilities. I’ve even sat in my bed until all hours of the night pondering whether or not I made the right decision to go into teaching. But, then, I get an email from a student telling me what a difference I’ve made in his/her life and it’s all worth it. I’m reminded that my self-deprecation doesn’t matter, because I didn’t choose this field; as I fully intended to teach high school my whole life (and never did), I’m pretty sure that it chose me!
Now it’s your turn! Who’s your inspiration?