Guest Writers

If You're Lucky: Guest Post by Chase McFadden

Enter my reading glasses giveaway which ends December 16th. Details HERE.

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Today’s guest blogger sharing his teacher memory is the amazing Chase McFadden from Some Species Eat Their Young. Chase shares another blog with Leanne ShirtliffeStuff Kids Write. I don’t know how I first stumbled upon Chase’s stuff, but I subscribed immediately.

I honestly get giddy when his stuff rolls in. Chase is a comic genius. He’s got like forty-two kids, and he lives on this farm where everyone is always filthy all the time. Or else they are wielding light sabres. Or trying to dig up enormous rocks. Excellent, right?

I think somebody in that family is doing laundry at all times, but I’ll bet Chase is a good sport about it. He manages to find the rainbow behind every cloud. Or the pot of gold at the foot of every rainbow. Chase probably finds the leprechaun. You know what I mean? He’s that guy with the positive outlook. You should follow him on Twitter @Chase_McFadden. Don’t forget the underscore. If you don’t get it right, you’ll be following another dude.

And that would be unfortunate. And creepy.

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If You’re Lucky

If you’re lucky, you have that one teacher during your formal education.

That teacher who genuinely believes she teaches people first, a subject second.

That teacher wise enough to realize that if you’re treated with basic human values — respect, empathy, and love – you’ll drink the Kool-Aid, no matter the flavor.

That teacher who takes a vested interest in you, outside of your ability to compose an expository essay or identify a poetic structure.

That teacher who is in the stands one Saturday when your team takes down the mighty Camels.

Luck is good.

That teacher who greets you at the door Monday morning with a smile and asks about your weekend fishing trip.

That teacher who talks less and listens more.

That teacher who you don’t want to disappoint, which is powerful, because when you’re 17 or 18 you oftentimes aren’t thinking about disappointing yourself.

That teacher who instinctively understands that disappointment is a much more meaningful motivational tool than fear and crafts relationships accordingly.

If you’re lucky, you have that one teacher during your formal education who sees strengths and aptitudes in you that you may be unable – or unwilling – to recognize in yourself.

That teacher who gives you the freedom to explore.

That teacher who asks, “What do you want to write about?”

That teacher who hands back your collection of humorous fictional stories, the stories you worked on for the better part of your senior year, with a simple note attached: These are wonderful. You’re going to have the best-written reports in your firm.

That teacher who tries not to cringe when you tell her you are going to college to study engineering.

That teacher who knows that isn’t what’s in your heart, in your soul, but encourages you just the same.

That teacher who knows there are some things a person just has to figure out for himself.

If you’re lucky, you have that one teacher during your formal education who believes in you more than you believe in yourself.

I’m lucky.

I had Ms. Watne.

What did you think you wanted to be when you were in high school? Are you doing it?

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If you have writing chops and are interested in submitting a memory about a teacher you had and can explain how that person helped you (or really screwed things up for you), as well as the life lesson you took away from the interaction, I’d love to hear from you! Contact Me. Essays should be around 700-800 words.

If you write for me, I’ll put your name on my page of favorite bloggers!

20 thoughts on “If You're Lucky: Guest Post by Chase McFadden

  1. Although I never had a Ms. Watne in high school, I have had several wonderful people encourage me since….In reading your story, I feel that I have missed an experience, indeed. You are very fortunate!

    As for the followup question? I wanted to be a housewife and mom…and yes, that is exactly what I became! I threw in the task of home educating my children through high school, which I will have completed at the end of this school year…

    So what do I do now?

  2. Chase, thank you so much for being here. I was fortunate to have had many Mrs. Watne-ishy types growing up. They made me want to hold chalk and stand in front of a class and help people become.

    I’m so glad you are writing.

    I can’t imagine not having met you here in the Blogosphere.

    We’ve got good core, IYKWIM.

  3. I wanted to be a veterinarian.
    Fabulous post! I had two teachers like that. One was an English teacher who wanted me to become a writer and the other was an Art teacher. My dad is an artist and I chose that. Now I am starting over with writing which has quickly become my passion, although I am drawing up my Christmas card today!

  4. Oh Chase.

    I had a Ms. Watne. (His name was Mr. Litten.)

    And I tried every day of my 16 years of teaching to be Ms. Watne.
    (Or Mr. Litten. But he had more facial hair than I was hoping for.)

    I hope she gets to read this. Really.
    And I am so glad you are following what’s in your heart, your soul.

  5. I had a few of those teachers but I should have liked to have had more. Perhaps that sounds greedy, but I think about what those few did and realize that every time they pushed me because they believed I did more than I had.

    So why not ask for that. More importantly that is what I want for my children. Give them teachers who recognize their value and help them take the steps they hesitate to. As parents we’ll push but it is different when it comes from a teacher.

    1. Jack, you don’t sound greedy! And you are so right! Information is received different when it comes from a teacher. I see this with my own son. It doesn’t matter that I’ve taught for 20 years.

      He cares what Mrs. W. says.

  6. Doesn’t sound greedy at all. Teachers like those — experiences like those — should be the norm, not the exception. As a former teacher and now as a parent, it has become much more clear to me than when I was a student that there are people in the profession who either aren’t capable of making that connection with young people or are unwilling to do so. They continue to have teaching positions without ever teaching at all.

  7. I wish I had you as a teacher, Chase. Although I would’ve been older than you, so that would have been weird. Okay. Maybe I take that back. I’m rambling now. Maybe you’ll teach me to write good. 😉

    1. Leanne, you have been my teacher in so many ways.

      You don’t even know.

      You gave me my very first guest post.

      Well, after Clay.

      But he was small potatoes then.

      Look at him now.

      Look at you. 😉

      So proud to call you friend.

      You are the goodest writer of dem all.

      And the funniest, too.

      For a girl.

  8. I did have Ms. Watne – the same period Chase did. Pretty incredible woman. In fact, so was Ms. Kendall-Brown the year before and Ms. Ellington the year before that. I know at least three of us that became English teachers because of those women.

    1. Hi Jeremy:

      So you knew Chase back in the day. That’s cool.

      Nearly all my closest friends went into education. I can’t say there was any ONE teacher who made that happen but five of the people from my high school innermost sanctum — we all chose education.

      I don’t know exactly what that means.

      But I know we liked being in school.

  9. I am a Ms. Watne product too! (Different hour than Chase and Jeremy) She was truly as amazing as Chase so poeticly says in this post. Although I went into the business world my love of reading and writing is still a very important part of my daily life. Thanks Chase for putting her passion for teaching into words. I hope she gave you an A+ on this writting assignment! 🙂

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