Inspired by a Teacher\\\'s Passion - Part One
May 30, 2010 Teaching 2557 Views
We were sitting in class with Mrs. Gallo, expecting the worst. We heard she was tough as nails, and if she was anything like her husband, we had good cause to be scared to death. Mr. Gallo taught Social Studies, and made every student read a paragraph aloud, then made us write a short essay about what we'd just read. Reading aloud was hard, but writing more than two or three sentences was worse. Thinking about Mr. Gallo's assignments made anticipation of Mrs. Gallo's writing assignment almost unbearable. How could we possible write more than a few sentences? Everyone's mind was made up; we would not like this English class or Mrs. Gallo. She seem to have a mantra, repeating the same thing over and over again: "If you can write a poem or a story with precision, creativity and the will to express your true self, then and only then will you be an authentic writer. But you must be willing to open up and listen to the inner self that expresses what you truly want to say to the world. Are you ready?"
Of course we were not ready! We looked at each other and saw the same blank looks. Everyone had a bad feeling about the upcoming term, but she was determined to make us find the writer within. Before we knew what was happening, blank paper appeared on our desks and the word "ghastly" was written on the blackboard. "Just write what ever comes to mind when you read this word." That first assignment was brutal; I could not string together more than a few words, let alone pull together a full essay! She encouraged us by quoting verse after verse of all kinds of famous writers, exposing us to tiny bits of some of the greatest classic books of our time. After a week of trying to muster our thoughts and string together something with a flow to it, we were all still trying to fill that blank page, and to our amazement it got easier with each passing week. Rather than haunting us, that single word became a fertile seed, growing and filling our minds with imagery begging to be set free on paper. Like breaking in a pair of brand new shoes, the more we toyed with writing, the better and more comfortable we got. It was truly a light bulb moment; we could not wait to get to class and better our previous efforts. The first paper done and corrected by our teacher was given an award on a point system. It was more than just points though -- it was an opportunity to stand in front of the class and share an awakening idea. We looked forward to each class, and loved every assignment. In the middle of the year, we were able to choose to write a poem or a short story. Mrs. Gallo made a great impression on us.
For many of her students, this lit a fire within -- a passion for writing. She helped some students become great writers, and helped others inspire future students to work through the process when they handed out blank paper and wrote a single word on the chalkboard. Our world is richer for her passion to inspire others to express themselves. Thanks for following along; I hope you will read the next article and find out how self publishing your book can be a real reward. Good luck finding your passion!
Sandra J. Koenig is a retired school teacher from Taylor, Michigan. She first wrote "The Purple Eyes of Moony, Moony" for an eighth grade homework assignment. (Remember to keep your projects; with luck YOU too may become an author!!!) She decided to edit the story with more updated detail for a project in college. Then she signed with Author House where her dream to publish the book came true!!! She hopes to add another chapter to Professor Denny and Chase's adventure in the near future. Her other hobbies include publishing her song entitled "If Heaven Does Exist", which she hopes to hear on the radio soon. But for now, she is happy to see the verses for the song as a poem in the Poetry.com. Finally, the most important aspect of Sandra is her excitement at being able to share her book with young readers.