I feel this is a perfect time for this post. School is starting, I am a teacher, and now I am teaching English for the first time.
Today’s throwback, hosted by The Life of Bon, is about a teacher or high school class.
My favorite teacher is Lisa Renard-Spicer.
I first met Renard in my creative class in tenth grade. Now, I had been very into poetry and short stories and had even started a fantasy novel in middle school. So, to get instruction and guidance, I was very excited. (I was also definitely in my bohemian phase at this point in time.)
The first poem I turned in for credit, I was very proud of. But, now I realize it was very mediocre writing. I had a large C written over it. I thought I was being poetic, but I wasn’t using any skills. There was no craft to my writing.
Renard was a quality teacher. She had us write every single day with different kinds of prompts and assignments. She expected us to step out of our shoes and not only be influenced and inspired by the world around us, but be able to communicate our thoughts and feelings to the world around us.
My creative writing skills made leaps and bounds. I was a writer. I felt good about my skill. I took three years of creative writing with Renard and got to especially know her during my senior year when I had both Creative Writing and IB English 12.
Renard likes the Buddhist philosophy of life–“it’s about the journey, not the destination” is something she tried to instill in us as we prepared to go to college. She taught us to think outside the box and make connections between different pieces of literature, as well as our own lives. She inspired me to be an English teacher. (I already knew I wanted to teach history.) I’m so glad I can network with her now for advice on my first year of teaching English!
But, as you can see in this conversation, Renard didn’t only influence me. She influenced many, many others in their love of writing or literature. Remember that one scene in Dead Poet Society when all the students stand up to honor their English teacher by repeating a favorite poem of his?
Shivers every single time I watch it. Well, one day, we were watching this movie (but not this scene) in Creative Writing. Renard went out as we were watching (we were a small group and she trusted us) to make some copies or something. We all stood on our desks and when she returned, in unison called out “Oh Captain, my Captain.” She influenced so many of us at our high school. Helped so many of us. Cared about us. And now, I just wish I can live up to those standards and have someone, someday say the same to me.