In my twenty-fifth year of teaching, I was called into the principal’s office. Believe me, students are not the only ones who are apprehensive to cross that threshold… I didn’t have a clue what he was going to say, but I never expected our conversation would change my life.
After a career of teaching the mentally handicapped, I was asked to teach advanced placement English to high school seniors. Yes, I had an English degree, and I taught occasional college classes, but leave special education?
I had one week.
I asked my husband what I should do and he asked me two questions – Are you happy? Are you so happy with your job that you wouldn’t want to change it?
I took the job.
With a summer to prepare, I spent a month at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise studying with the Appalachian Writing Project (AWP). Under the umbrella of the National Writing Project, AWP’s purpose is to train teachers how to use best practices to teach writing across the curriculum. Not only did it focus on the teacher of writing, but the teacher as a writer. My long lost desire to be a writer surfaced. At the age of forty-seven I began teaching English, and I began to write.
My first short story was published later that year. More publications in anthologies and journals followed. My first novel is awaiting publication, and my life has changed forever – thanks to a visit to the principal’s office.
I love teaching English! It was without a doubt, the best decision I ever made. I can't tell you what to do, but if you are not happy, then don't let an opportunity to change your life pass you by. It was changing jobs that got me to writing after many years of silence.
My book is called Mama's Shoes and is about a girl who grows up in a beauty shop where her Mama works. The book is about strong women struggling to make a life in Appalachia and it spans 20 years from 1940 to 1960. My mother was a beautician and many of the stories are based on my childhood memories of the women who frequented the shop I grew up in!
By the way, it's nice to meet you!
The moment I read this I thought of a poster I've often seen that says: "Bloom where you are planted." You are certainly a living example of this phrase! Isn't it amazing the paths our lives take?
I agree with you about the writing! As long as I can have time to write, I can breathe.