Friday, May 9, 2008

Teacher Feature

Photos of Cesky Krumlov, March 2008

Dee and I both recognized the music. "What is that?" We were in the Czech Republic, but we were both transported to a ninth grade English class we hadn't even attended. With a few hand signals I communicated our question to the waitress, who checked the CD, and returned. "Enya," she said. Of course! No need for translation. We had climbed the stairs and fallen asleep to her arias on many nights.

Marta was the daughter who lived across the hall from our bedroom. She was elusive during her Junior High years. We saw her for meals, and when she needed a ride somewhere, but most of the time her door was closed and the music of Enya was the only sound coming from inside.
Hearing such a familiar melody took us back to that time.

Have you had a fourteen-year-old daughter? (Or have you been one?) It's a time of self-discovery. Parents are set on the shelf with the other souvenirs of childhood, and when it happened to us we were concerned. There were so many choices! Would our kids make the right ones?

Teenage paths are crooked and bumpy. Who would have an influence? Luckily, in Marta's case, it was Miss Ed.

"A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations."
Patricia Neal

Marta's heart, mind and soul were awakened to her potential. With the encouragement of an English teacher, her gel pen crammed empty journals with poetry and prose. Enya was the muse she got acquainted with in class. She shared many creative writing strategies with me, as I laid on the bed in her studio, and it refreshed our relationship. We were walking new paths together.

The haunting music from the restaurant inspired our conversation. Dee and I walked and talked, counting the good teachers that had bolstered our children's confidence. Mr. Turner, Coach Smith, Mrs. Furner, Mrs. Warr, Miss Strasser...these were just a few we remembered with gratitude. They helped our kids catch a glimpse of possibilities.

And whenever we read a particularly good post on mwrites, we remember Miss Ed.
She opened a door.

Is there a teacher who opened a door for you?


Miss Ed. said...

I am so honored to have been mentioned in this post, dear Marty. It is I who should be thanking you (and Mr. Halverson, of course), first of all, for having such wonderful children. I was lucky enough to get to teach both Pete and Marta, and they each made my life as a teacher a joy.

Second of all, I would like to thank Marta for being so incredibly "teachable." I think she came to me at a time when she was most ready to soak up what I had to offer. She was inspired by me, and I, in turn, was inspired by her reaction to me. She was so "into" what we were trying to accomplish in that wonderful little 9th grade creative writing class, that she propelled everyone forward, bringing an enthusiasm and a joie de vivre that was as evident then as it is today.

Marta will always hold a special place in my heart. Today, she inspires me through her courageous, honest blog postings and the uplifting view of the world she provides for all her “bloggie” friends. You flatter me greatly with your kind attention to whatever it was in Marta that I helped to spark. But clearly, in reading through your own blog postings today, I can see from where she has been channeling this energy, this powerful draw towards touching lives through the written word.

Thank you again for your kind words. I wish you and your family well, and hope that these connections we have made with one another over the years (and now through cyberspace) will continue to strengthen and grow.

Sheri said...

Sounds like your kids had excellent teachers. Mine did as well. But frankly, I don't even remember my teachers' names let alone anything they taught me. I wish I'd had someone in my past who had inspired me like Miss ed. I probably goofed off too much in class for any teacher to take me seriously. BTW, Happy Mother's Day on Sunday!

First50 said...

I had a great journalism teacher. I would still be scribbling in a private journal were it not for her.