As readers, we walk into books with an open heart. We trust that the writer will take care of us, we let them carry us away. And whether we're entertained, inspired, or totally creeped out, we are often changed by what we read.
I was eight years old, devouring as many books as the librarian would let me check out. I loved books, but I didn’t understand how powerful and magical they could be. Then my Aunty sent me a book that would change my world. The book was thick, heavy, huge. I clutched it excitedly (a real grown-up book!) curled in a blanket, and flipped to page one.
I'd never seen anything like it. The first words were typed backwards, and the story’s text alternated from red to green. As I read, swirling images wrapped me up. I dissolved into the movie all around me. The Neverending Story was one of the first books that showed me a secret world that was all my own, a place that didn’t stop when I closed the covers. With a main character who was shy in one world and a hero in another, the book gave me the freedom to have faith in a future that I couldn’t see yet.
Fiction or non-fiction, long or short, books can change your world. Green Eggs and Ham? Be open to new experiences. Before I Fall? Be kind. I know my life is changed when I read books, and as a writer I hope to do that for other people.
Is there a book that changed your life? Carved a crack in your world?
As a child, teachers are grown-ups that love you by choice, not birth. They help you find your way in a world far from home. As you grow, they open doors and challenge you to discover more about yourself. We learn more from who they are than the curriculum they set. We learn how to be in the world. I was lucky enough to have some amazing teachers, and they all kicked ass in very different ways:
Mrs Ellis The perfect first teacher, peaceful and wise. Mrs Ellis empowered and encouraged me, and came to my house to eat cheesecake :)
Mr Murray An artist, a musician, and a homeroom teacher. He brings his personal powers to his professional life, and thanks to him I’m still a times table whiz.
Mrs Hill From language and food, to jewellery and movies, Mrs Hill loves classical studies. She is a teacher who so fully lives her passion, she brims with the joy of the subject. Because of her, I knew I would either grow up to be a writer, or a Latin teacher.
Mrs Smith A dedicated art teacher who is able to embrace crazy and guide mischief. Mrs Smith is a cool breeze over high school stresses.
Ms Lewis A role model in public relations; professional, witty, experienced. Ms Lewis feeds creativity, and develops super-sticky course materials.
Mr Pauling Gentle, smart, and conscientious. An ego-less high achiever. Mr Pauling knows how to cut through the gunk and make things possible.
I was recently in touch with Mr Hammonds – the principal of my primary school. He is now a teacher of teachers, and a pioneer in education. It was brilliant to catch up with him and super cool to hear that my book is helping motivate him!
Teaching is more than a profession, it’s a calling. The ability to share your own passion while being completely invested in the success of someone else? Awesome. The best teachers are role models. Teaching isn’t their job, it is who they are.
Is there a teacher in your life that helped shape your world?