We all have special teachers in our lives who push us, encourage us and are there for us. I had several special teachers in Middle and High School in Kearney, MO – Pat Kuhlman, Mr. Meador, Mr. Abbott, Mrs. Rigdon, Glenda Vanness, Mrs. Ivy and more. They instilled a love of learning in me. They held me accountable. They pushed me to go where I didn’t think I could. They all have a special place in my heart.
There was one teacher who has always stood out in my mind as extra special. Her name is Faye Ervin. I took all of the creative writing classes that she taught and her Science Fiction Lit Class. If I could have found a way to take more classes from her, I would have. She let her students have freedom in her class. When we were working on creative writing assignments, the music could be on. It wasn’t the type of music she would choose, but she was more concerned about her kids. She also let you express yourself – whether writing an essay in the Science Fiction class or a poem in Creative Writng. She didn’t care if she didn’t agree with your point of view, if you felt it, you could write it. Don’t get me wrong. She could be tough. I saw her stand-up to students when she needed to. She always treated students with respect, and they generally returned that respect. She listened to you, and you knew that it was safe to talk to her. If she saw that someone was upset, or that something was wrong, she asked you if you were ok.
She saw that I had some talent in writing and encouraged it. She provided opportunities for several of us to enter contests. She pretty much told me that I was entering one contest. She took us to creative writing workshops. When she saw kids who wanted to learn, she encouraged that and guided them. She taught us traditional poetry styles, traditional short story styles, and then let us experiment from there. Through her guidance, I two poems published and had another poem published in a national magazine. She believed in me and made me believe that I could write. She taught me how to dream.
Life got in the way of my writing, and I got discouraged about my ability. I started writing again when my mom got sick ten years ago because I needed to. At that point, I didn’t care if I was good or not. I needed to write to survive. When I started wondering what to do with my writing, I was scared. I wasn’t sure if I was good enough or not. I didn’t want to submit something, only to be rejected. I kept hearing this voice in my head telling me that I was a good writer and that I had potential. I realized it was the words that Mrs. Ervin had spoken to me 25 years before. I gathered up courage and submitted three devotionals to an anthology. Two of them got published. I submitted some small pieces to Focus on the Family and some were accepted. I’m not where I want to be with my writing, but I have moved to the point where I will submit things now. Everything that I have accomplished and ever do accomplish with my writing, I owe to Faye Ervin and her loving encouragement.
Thank you Mrs. Ervin.