Due to a family emergency for the interviewee, today's planned Teacher Tuesday post got sidetracked. But I don't want to let this Tuesday go by without shining a spotlight on the wonderful teachers and librarians in this world.
Each week, I ask interviewees if there has been a teacher in their past who made them stretch in a particularly powerful way. Every single person so far has answered yes. I'm betting that you could answer yes, too.
I know I certainly could. I've been fortunate to have some wonderful teachers but, having gone to many different schools, I don't necessarily remember them all by name. But I do remember 6th grade and Mr. Craig. It was his first year of teaching and my first year at yet another new school. I was dorky and shy and nervous. I have no idea if Mr. Craig knew about the mean girls' campaign to leave cruel notes on my desk each day, but his interest and confidence in me made me want to come to school, no matter what those scraps of lined notebook paper might say.
A voracious reader, I absolutely detested book reports. Until Mr. Craig assigned them. No more dioramas or five-paragraph essays. We were to create (fake) television news reports or plays or radio interviews instead. No matter how crazy a student's idea, Mr. Craig would say the 1960s version of "go for it."
Recently, I reconnected with a girl I'd known in 6th grade (not one of the note-writers!). She said she remembered my telling her that I wanted to be a writer someday. I don't recall ever saying that; if I had, I certainly lost that dream by the time I left high school. But I believe that Mr. Craig found a way to turn on the tap of my creativity, way back then. So, when I rediscovered my passion for books and words years and years later, that supply was still there, just waiting for me to crank the rusty faucet on.
Mr. Craig and I have stayed in touch, so I've had ample opportunities to thank him personally for all he's meant to me. But I've never had the chance to do so publicly.
Thanks, Mr. Craig. And thank you to all the Mr. Craigs of the world.