This post is inspired by The Red Dress Club RemembeRED prompt: “Everyone remembers that first inspiration or mentor in their lives that made them want to be or do something in their lives, whether you actually followed through with it or not. Tell us about that inspiration/mentor. How did they affect or change your life!”
Going into 9th Grade was a big change for me because I was going to be attending a different school. My plans were to attend the high school in our neighborhood, but just a short time before school started, a judge ruled that the kids who lived on the 35th Avenue stretch of blocks on the north side of Minneapolis had to attend Jordan Junior High School. After completing 9th Grade, we could then attend our neighborhood high school. If I would have lived one block closer to the high school, I would have been allowed to attend Patrick Henry High for 9th Grade.
I had one other friend who I knew from grade school who would attend Jordan with me. I also knew some neighborhood kids, but we were not close friends like we used to be when we were younger. I was pretty nervous about going to a new school, and I felt that I would have been more comfortable at the high school.
Looking back, I realize that Jordan is where I met some of my closest friends and where I met one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Hallberg. I admired Mrs. Hallberg’s soft-spoken ways, her pretty blond hair and petite figure – she could have been one of those actresses who portrayed a mom on television. We were assigned many writing assignments, and I still treasure my paper where Mrs. Hallberg penned in the corner: “You write very well. Keep on improving it and you may be able to make a career of it.” Her words always stuck in my head. She was the first person whoever complimented me on my writing. Mrs. Hallberg did not know that I wrote stories and poems all the time on the multi-colored, pastel notebook paper that was very popular back then.
Mrs. Hallberg’s words frightened me too. I did not have enough confidence to be a writer and do things that writers do, like join the school newspaper. I knew that writers get noticed and complimented and/or rejected and criticized. Hard things to accept for someone who just wanted to blend in.
Almost 40 years later, I finally gathered enough courage to listen to the words of Mrs. Hallberg. I am taking writing classes, started this blog, and making writing a priority in my life. I now know writing is something I just have to do for me.
Even though I was very upset about the judge’s ruling back then, attending Jordan turned out to be a good experience for me. Teachers’ comments can last a lifetime!
Oh, my gosh! Isn’t this amazing? We were both inspired by our English teacher. I think this is just awesome how we both wrote about this. I try to be as inspiring to my own students as mine was to me. There’s still a student in high school who was sending me her writing to critique even last year.
I was pulled out of that school at the end of the 7th grade because we moved. I still wrote, but no one knew about it. I’m so glad you’ve decided to start now. It took me many years before I actually wrote my first novel, but I haven’t looked back since. Keep it up, keep at it, and I wish you tons of luck. Thank you for leaving a comment on my post!
I loved your story! Thank you for your words of encouragement! It sounds like you are a great role model to your students!
Congratulations for getting the courage to live the life you always wanted. Sometimes we all need to see ourselves through the eyes of others to realize our full potential.
That is so true! Thanks for your comment.
What a wonderful ode to your teacher!
I adore what you wrote about her words and belief in you being both inspiring and frightening. So, so very true!
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a fraction of the belief in ourselves that others have in us?
My husband is an English teacher, but it isn’t like it was when we were in school–everything has to follow specific formulas for specific kinds of compositions. It sucks all the creativity and joy out of writing.
I enjoyed reading your post!
That’s the great thing about being a teacher….and the most terrifying.
The fact that our words can inspire or wound forever the individuals in our class. One bad day, one headache, one fight at home, one careless word or three, one sentence said without thinking or with the wrong body language and we can change the dreams of someone.
But it’s those comments that most of the time you don’t even remember that change a person’s dreams or life for the better that if you’re lucky and blessed you get to hear about many years later. Well that cancels out the terrifying. Sort of 😉
Nicely written too. Mrs. Hallberg knew her stuff 😉
Vikki @ She Has Cute Shoes!
Thank you for your comments and your support. You just made my day:)
I think you should start writing our book. It would be good practice for your first novel.
I need to know the names of the chapters. Where did that go?