Those who can, teach

Those who can, teach

As teachers, we often hear the old adage: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” I say screw that!

I teach writing AND I can write. I truly believe that most teachers “can do” just as well as anyone else in their field, but teachers choose to share what they “can do” with others so that those others will be able to do that thing as well.

I like to share with my students that I have published my writing both because I hope that it inspires those writers in my classes to pursue their dreams of writing, but also because it gives me some street cred. I’m teaching you about writing and I know a little something about it.

I encourage you to share with your students your achievements outside the classroom both in your field and beyond. Here I will share mine with you. Bonus: One of the main characters is a teacher.

Here’s a teaser for my novel:

Have Mercy Cover

What is truth? What is memory? Do we determine our own truths? Do we choose our memories? Readers will ask themselves: What is my truth and how far will I go to defend it?

People, their oddities and their ordinariness, fascinate Samantha. She is completing her doctorate in neuro-psychology when she takes on the clinical study of Maria, an eighty-eight year old woman with inconsistent personalities and no verifiable past. Samantha has no idea that this patient will ultimately lead her to cheat on the man she loves, question the person she is, and kill in the name of mercy.

The only useful information Samantha receives in Maria’s chart is that she committed herself four years prior after a botched suicide attempt and that she is a seasoned storyteller. Dr. Wilder, Maria’s physician, in conjunction with Samantha’s advisor, allot Samantha three months to determine whether Maria makes up stories in hopes of fabricating a past where none exists, can’t help but create multiple lives for herself, actually believes that she’s experienced all the things she claims, or something yet unimagined. Samantha does diagnose Maria and that diagnosis is far from the only facet of this story that is not what it seems. Maria and Samantha learn to appreciate life and each other in a way that is heartrending, heartwarming and utterly unexpected.

Intrigued? Here’s the first chapter:

   I cry slow, salty-soft tears, not jarring thunderous ones.  Lights off, door locked. Moonlight shining in through the high window above the toilet casting awkward grey shapes on the bathroom mirror.

   Shit. “This is too much,” Evan had said with dangerous calm, elbows on the table, rubbing his eyebrows with the palms of his hands.  “It all means more to you than I do.”

Then I said them.  The words that no other words or time or fire can take back. I imagine the kitchen, the spot where it happened.  It wasn’t his fault.  None of this was his fault.

   Maria would tell me to take out my journal, that this time of intense emotion is the best time to write, but I want to set the journal on fire.  I want to set everything on fire.  Especially the memories of that house and this god-forsaken town.  I edge over to the toilet, bile surging into my throat, but my body goes slack.  I can’t throw up or breathe or move.  I rest my head on the seat.  This is who I’ve become. Summa cum laude, published researcher, conveyer of great pain, person who rests their head on a toilet seat.

   Evan doesn’t knock on the door, which I didn’t slam, but shut quietly, meekly knowing I threw the last dagger and it found its target.

   I don’t want him to pursue me, but at the same time I’m angry with him for not.  My mother must have felt this way at some point before she left.  The anger mixed with the love.  Anger because it would be so much easier if the love would burn in the fury.  Maybe she would have figured it out if she’d had the time.

   After several hard yanks, my engagement ring flings across the room, coming to rest just beside a cardboard box labeled “toiletries.” The reflection of light in the metal reminds me of Maria.  I leave it where it lies, pry myself off the ceramic tile, and make straight for the front door.  The sobbing only starts when I mouth, “I’m sorry” as I close it behind me and lock the deadbolt.

Have Mercy

Have Mercy is available on Amazon. If you’ve already read it, I appreciate nothing more than an honest review. Good or bad, all feedback is good feedback!

What have you done in your field? So many teachers go unnoticed for their contributions beyond the classroom!

Just starting a career in education? Check out these posts:

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A Teacher's Guide

I am a National Board Certified educator currently teaching in Virginia. I have taught the following: English 9, 10, 11, and 12 (on academic, collaborative, and honors levels); Dual Enrollment English; Mass Communications, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Communications Technology. I have experience in five different school systems, four in Virginia and one in Maryland. I served as my school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and was a top five finalist for the Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. I am passionate about recruiting and retaining quality educators in our public schools. Let me help you find your path to changing lives through teaching!

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