Teacher Tuesday by Kirby Larson
Last summer, when I took a hiatus from blogging I vowed to start up again only if I could figure out a really good reason for doing so– other than posting photos of the most adorable granddaughter in the entire universe.
I perused other author’s blogs and websites for ideas. Barbara O’Connor generously shares writing tips, including the greatest pieces about revising I’ve ever read (plus the on-going saga of Ruby and her enthusiasm for just about anything but doggy obedience is worth following); Cynthia Lord nourishes the writing spirit with inspiration and warmth (bonus: her husband’s amazing photos) and Cynthia Letitch Smith provides just about every bit of essential information any writer could ever want or need. So what could I possibly offer that would be different?
While pondering this question, I heard from Mr. Craig. Steve Craig, my sixth grade teacher. THE teacher who changed the way I saw myself. We have stayed in touch all these years (I won’t mention how many) and doggone it if he isn’t just as proud of me now as he was when I tried to do my very best work for him back then. That got me to thinking about all Mr. Craigs in this big country and how they work so hard to inspire kids and help them blossom.
And that’s how Teacher Tuesday came to be. I decided that each week during the school year, I would interview one teacher or librarian on any topic of their choosing but anchored by the notion of how they connect kids and books. My goal was to shine a spotlight on teachers and librarians from each of the fifty states (didn’t quite make it: 19 states, plus D.C. plus Berlin, Germany!) and perhaps provide a place for these caring professionals to connect, so they could share their great ideas and inspiring stories with one another.
My first interviewee was Colby Sharp (Michigan), about his favorite read-aloud, Fig Pudding, by Ralph Fletcher. The final 2012-2013 interviewee was Jannie Des Rosiers-Berman (Connecticut), with a fun piece on using toys to get kids more into books. In between I met amazing people like Vida Zuljevic (Washington), who is passionate about poetry and whose story of surviving the war in Bosnia brought me to tears; and Alyson Beecher (California) who serves up books and bites in her Literacy Cafes; and Tony Keefer (Ohio) who leverages his passion for sports as a way to get kids to read more.
This ended up being a lot of work.
This ended up being one of the best things I’ve done in a long, long time.
And I want to keep doing it! Which is why I twisted my Nerdy Book Club friends’ arms to ask if I could use this space to make a plea. I want more than anything to continue Teacher Tuesday next school year. And, fellow Nerdy Book Club member, here is where you come in: are there at least forty of you out there who are teachers/librarians who would be willing to write one guest post next school year? I need forty folks to commit to get us through the school year. And I need guest posts because I can’t maintain that commitment to generating interview questions.
Are you in? Do you want to join me in celebrating the amazing things that are happening in your classrooms and schools each and every day? Things that make a difference for kids? Things that create life-long readers? If so, post a comment (in the Google Form below) to let me know!
Kirby Larson blogs at Kirby’s Lane, when she is not revising her current work-in- progress, a companion novel to DUKE (September 2013).