Another post for teachers about another influential teacher in my life I’ve never forgotten:
My first performance was in front of my third grade class. Mrs.Hayes asked some of us to read our scary stories – written around Hallowen – to the rest of the class. I was nervous. I hadn’t actually finished writing my scary story so I made up the back half of it on the spot, gripping the page and scanning it with my eyes, pretending to be reading every word I spoke.
Mrs. Hayes knew I was winging it, of course, but let me lie entertain the class with my tale anyway. They laughed and grossed out in all the right places. So did Mrs. Hayes.
When I reached “The End” I handed my paper in to her and she handed it right back. “Now just write all that down,” she whispered, and smiled and winked.
Mrs.Hayes smiled and winked a lot. She asked me to please add artwork to my list of spelling words, and math tables, and poetry and anything else she assigned for homework. I did. And she smiled and winked and called me an artist.
I never knew I was anything but average until Mrs. Hayes told me so. If she said it, then it had to be true. She was a teacher, after all.
And now I tell stories to people for a living. And I still paint a little too. Because I’m an artist. Mrs. Hayes taught me that.