Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Real Heroes and Heroines: Teachers

I won the parent lottery. My parents read to me.

I won the first grade teacher lottery. I'll never forget Miss W's patience and kind explanations to my questions, including, "But how do you read so quickly?"

If you can read, you can learn anything.

Literacy rates in the Old West were lower than in education-focused New England.

  1. Old West parents were more worried about harvesting the crop than their children's 100% attendance in one-room schoolhouses. In New England, well-to-do fathers saw their sons into high school as a preparation for college.
  2. While the working poor of New England often did not need basic literacy skills (cotton mills and factory jobs), neither did most western pursuits: miners, railroad construction workers, and hired ranch hands.
  3. Nineteenth Century Americans knew they needed a basic education. Without the ability to read a bill of sale or contract, swindlers had the advantage.
  4. Old West Education often ceased at 8th grade--though a good percentage of students stopped attending before then. Whether orphaned or pressed into the work force, education, for many, proved to be a luxury.

TEACHERS are real-life heroes. Whether in a one-room schoolhouse on the dusty streets of an Old West town or in today's crowded classrooms, the work teachers do in building the future, investing in hope and possibilities and opportunity qualifies them as heroes.

Did you have a teacher who made all the difference for you?

Hi! I'm Kristin Holt, author of Sweet (wholesome, "clean") Romance set in the Victorian-era American West. Mail-order brides, small-town love stories, bonds strong enough to withstand significant challenges, and love to last a lifetime.

My engineer husband of nearly three decades rolls his eyes at my romanticism and fondness for happily ever afters. But he agrees with me--growing old together has been a beautiful journey. Given the opportunity, I'd do it all over again...and I'd still choose him. (Our 28th wedding anniversary is in two days, March 17th.)

I love hearing from readers. Please post a response here or stop by my website and say hello!

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Judith Ashley said...

Mrs. Good, Mr Green and Miss Hutchinson in elementary school and Mr. Christensen in high school - those names pop up whenever I think of school. I had challenges - a math dyslexia (algebra still doesn't make any sense to me). But I loved to read and learned that easily. Favorite summer time activity was to read, read, read and fill up the clown or sting of balloons (whatever the picture was) of dots that showed the number of books I'd read.

I totally agree that teachers are every day heroes and heroines. And any time they can inspire a child to read beyond the assignments, they are giving the gift of knowledge. I like to think romance novels help people see what a healthy relationship looks like and how to stand one's ground in order to achieve it.

Kristin Holt said...

Thank you, so much, Judith, for your thoughtful and significant response. I agree at a visceral level. You've given words to a truth I didn't think to voice: romance novels can illustrate healthy relationships of all kinds, empower (men and) women to do the right things and be the best they can be.

I'll never forget my high school band teacher, Mr. Saville. He taught me so much more than music and marching. I learned team work, responsibility, determination, the value of finishing, and so much more. He made all the difference.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great post, Kristin. I was lucky enough to have several, one of whom I sat next to at lunch today--Juliana Armstrong. (And she probably knows a better way to word that sentence!) :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristin! I won the teacher lottery with a journalism teacher and a creative writing teacher :-) What amazing guides and cheerleaders they were.

I bought a late-1800s 4th grade math book at a used books store and was surprised by the complexity of the problems!

Nancy C

Kristin Holt said...

Thank you, Lynn--
Congrats on remaining in touch with one of your BEST teachers. It's terrific you have the type of ongoing, long-lasting friendship that involves lunches out. Thanks for your kind words.

Kristin Holt said...

Hi Nancy C--

What perfect subjects to have won the teacher lottery with...journalism and creative writing. Their impact must have been quite a gift. You're very blessed.

Isn't it amazing how education has changed through the years. What you and I see as an 8th grade education wasn't the same, then (19th century). My grandmother (a Masters-prepared 5th grade teacher) gave my daughter (a high school math teacher) an old math primer from the 1920's and they had a good laugh over it. I'm very lucky to have a living grandparent--she's 95!--and one who has always been so pro-education.

Thanks for your response!
Kristin Holt