professornana (professornana) wrote,

looking back

So, today at the Texas Library Conference a woman came into the booth. I took on glance and knew her immediately. She and I had taken doc classes together in the late 80s and early 90s. I have not seen her for a loooong time. We sat and played catch up for a while and made plans to set a lunch date soon. Spent some time driving down Memory Lane after that. I really need up reflecting on those moments that, even at the time, you know are pivotal.

#1 Memory Lane: Being introduced to G. Robert Carlsen at an ALAN Breakfast many years ago by my mentor, Dick Abrahamson. Dick had been one of Carlsen's students, so it was like I was being introduced to the grandfather of YA and reading and motivation.

Chris Crowe wrote a wonderful piece on the history of YA and its mentors in English Journal years ago. Here is the link:

#2 Memory Lane: Meeting Louise Rosenblatt and hearing her speak at NCTE when she was either 100 or nearly 100 years old.

#3 Memory Lane: Taking courses with Kylene Beers and Judy Wallis and Peggy Hill and Lois Buckman and Alice Conlon and so many others. Back then, courses met from 5-8 pm after a long day of teaching. But we did not care. The courses energized us so much so that I had difficulty falling asleep after getting back home.

#4 Memory Lane: My first publisher dinners. One was with S. E. Hinton. I had a copy of The Outsiders signed for Career Girl and asked Hinton to add the phrase "for later" since Career Girl was only 3 at the time. The second night dinner was with Paula Danziger. We talked about jewelry of all things. These were early fan girl moments for me. And I have to admit there is still so much fan girl in me today.

I could go on and on. There are so many wonderful moments from the past. The thing is, those moments are still occurring today. I am meeting new people, reading new books, learning new things constantly. It is a charmed and blessed life.

I wrote last week about knowing the mentors of the past, celebrating the mentors in the present, and mentoring the group who will become the mentors of the future. I think it is essential that we know our past, that we know names like Fader and Carlsen and Dora V. Smith and Nancy Coryell and Donelson and Nilsen and Hipple and Small. And on that list goes. We need to read those foundational works and see how the influence of the past is seen in our current profession.

Donalyn Miller and I were talking today about how we all draw from many sources for our work. Without the critical work of Carlsen and others, I would not have the pedagogical basis for my teaching. Without Allington and Krashen and Cambourne and others, my ideas would not have the research basis they need. Without the work of Kylene and Donalyn and Penny, I would never have known that I was not alone. One last Memory Lane.

#5 Memory Lane: Reading IN THE MIDDLE by Nancie Attwell and knowing that what I was trying to do had a name (workshop) and a pedagogy and research. It was the book that assured me that I was heading in the right direction, that I could buck the system of packets and worksheets, that providing students a different approach did not just FEEL right, it WAS right.

So, it is good to glance back from time to time and remember those moments that mattered.
Tags: magic, memories, mentors
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.