The school busses are making trial runs up our hill, the back-to school ads are becoming ubiquitous, and the kiddos are fitting in their last weeks of camp, summer jobs, swimming, or just hanging out on the corner with friends. It’s that bittersweet time of summer’s end and fall beginnings . . . and it’s also when many elementary school kids are finding out who their teacher will be.
Do you remember a favorite elementary school teacher? Someone who, perhaps, you disliked or even feared those first weeks of school—but who later proved to be a special person in your life? Were you the kind of kid who didn’t care who your teacher was as long as your friends were in the same class? If you moved around a lot, was there a particular teacher who made your new-school adjustment easier?
I’ve written many poems about, and have based a few of my fictional characters on, those teachers who made a lasting impression. Not long ago, when I visited an elementary school in the district where I grew up, my second grade teacher came to hear my presentation. It was when I was a student in her class, in fact, that I first recall discovering the beauty of language, the power of story, and the gift of literacy.
Leave your comments below about all things back-to-school—and in particular, any story about a favorite (or in some way special) teacher. We’ll choose just ONE person’s story here (before Labor Day, please—that’s September 3rd) and if it’s yours, you’ll receive a signed copy of any one of Jen’s picture books, poetry books or novels.