My interview this morning at a Monmouth County middle school went rather well (I think it did, anyhow, but I can never tell for certain). They're looking for a 7th grade language arts teacher; the principal acknowledged that my background as a professional writer enhances my visibility as a candidate, but... that was it. He'll call back TODAY if he decides he wants me back to conduct a demo lesson TOMORROW!
Anyhow, they also gave me a writing test which posed the question "What role did former teachers play in leading you to pursue a career as a language arts educator?" I sincerely answered that Mrs. Ginsburg, my 8th grade Lakewood Middle School teacher, publicly affirmed how uncannily well I grasped grammar and sentence structure; I then credited the nuns of St. Ann's School in the Bronx for getting me prepared up until that point. Similarly, in the essay I expressed thanks to Mrs. Bryce, my 9th grade Lakewood High School English teacher, who -- though I did not appreciate it at the time -- did not put up with my crap, yet allowed me to read texts that interested me, such as the memoir Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas. I remember how encouraging she was in allowing me (surprisingly) to read and discuss that gritty, true account. These teachers (and others, such as Dr. Essex and Mrs. Strauss) were instrumental in recognizing that I was not just the dumb jock others expected me to be. Consequently, I continue to write and voraciously read -- and hopefully someday soon will resume teaching as well.