January 21, 2011

A Thank You to My Teachers

Today, I inched closer to fame with the release of the Winter 2011 issue of the Concord Academy Magazine, featuring a profile of me and my blog.

I was interviewed back in November by the editor of the alumni magazine for my old high school. Since then I've been eagerly anticipating that some of my former classmates, and even alumni from other eras, might show up here and find something interesting in what I have to say.

But it only just occurred to me that some of my teachers might make their way to this blog. So I'd like to take this opportunity to say, "Thank you."

Thanks to the teachers of Concord Academy for presenting me with big ideas and asking me to think about them. I learned a lot of information in high school, and occasionally some of it comes in handy, but the most important knowledge I came away with was a solid foundation in critical thinking skills. I draw on that in my work every day, whether I'm figuring out a problem with a scene, offering feedback to a critique partner, reading thoughtfully, or deciding how to explain some writing advice.

Thanks to the English Department for exposing me to important works of literature and allowing me to complain about them. I may not have liked WUTHERING HEIGHTS or THE GREAT GATSBY, and I still don't understand why you do, but the fact is that it's valuable as a reader and writer to know something of the canon, and almost all the classics and poetry I've ever read were for high school English classes. It's also valuable to be able to analyze why a story isn't working and argue that opinion, even if conventional wisdom says you're wrong.

But thanks not only to my high school teachers. Thanks also to the elementary and middle school teachers who encouraged my creative writing and nonstop reading. And thanks to the writing teachers in college and beyond for instructing me in the craft, giving me deadlines, and showing me how many different forms fiction can take.

I started writing stories when I was very young, and I've been learning how to do it better ever since then. I've been lucky to have so many excellent teachers along the way. Thanks to all of you.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Hannah Moskowitz asks tough questions about writing and not writing characters like ourselves.

→ Christopher Gronlund discusses How To Know You’re A Good Writer


Richard Scott said...

Ah, yes. Teachers. What I wouldn't give to reach out to some of my teachers from back in the Dark Ages. Many of them were as old as I am now even then, and I doubt many of them have survived.

Still, I often think about them, and some of the things they said -- often outside of the realm of the topic they taught -- that moved and changed my world.

I join with you in a salute to teachers and all influential people in our lives!

Richard Scott said...

By the way, I really enjoyed your article in the February Writers Talk Newsletter. (Yes, I know, it hasn't come out yet at the time of this writing, but I'm on the team and saw it early.)

Lisa Eckstein said...

Richard, I'm so glad this post spoke to your experiences as well, and I'm also glad you liked my dialogue article. In case you missed it, the article is a followup to one that appeared in the December issue, which I've posted here:

(To everyone else, I'll post the new article once it's been published.)

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