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Tiny Teaching Stories: My First Teacher

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Pamela Childers, a lifelong secondary, undergraduate and graduate school educator, writer, editor, and consultant. She enjoys collaborating with colleagues and students.

 

My First Teacher

Letitia, my Welsh Grammie, took me at three to the circus in Philadelphia, while Mother worked at a switchboard and Dad was still overseas after the war. She read me poetry and prose long after I had started teaching English and recited Shakespeare for the Princeton Women’s Club in her late seventies, an age I am close to reaching. When I last visited her in the dementia ward of the nursing home, she looked up at me from her wrinkled pillow, smiled and said, “I raised you, didn’t I?” I nodded, and we both shared an unforgotten memory.

 

Submit your own Tiny Teaching Story to tinyteachingstories@macmillan.com! See the Tiny Teaching Stories Launch for submission details and guidelines.

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About the Author
Nancy Sommers, who has taught composition and directed writing programs for more than thirty years, now teaches in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. A two-time Braddock Award winner, Sommers is well known for her research and publications on student writing. Her articles “Revision Strategies of Student and Experienced Writers” and “Responding to Student Writing” are two of the most widely read and anthologized articles in the field of composition. She has also created three films—Shaped by Writing, Across the Drafts, and Beyond the Red Ink—to bring the voices of student writers into a larger discussion about writing instruction. Nancy Sommers is currently the coauthor of Diana Hacker’s best-selling handbooks: The Bedford Handbook, A Writer’s Reference, Rules for Writers, A Pocket Style Manual, and Writer’s Help (see hackerhandbooks.com). Her newest instructor resource, Responding to Student Writers, offers a model for thinking about response as a dialogue between students and teachers.