My11th grade English teacher was in over her head.
While she qualified for her job as a high school English teacher she somehow got this raw deal where she only taught two classes a day, each in a different room because she didn’t have a classroom of her own.
She was new to teaching, bored as hell, probably petrified about her future, and could not have been more than 24. To her credit, she was smart, fun, and knew how to get to us.
One thing that always left a mark on me from her class is the idea that to be a good writer; you have to read. A lot.
Getting to learn
As a 16-year-old you could not pay me to read, but after that class, I started getting into it, and she was right. By the time I was in college I had improved my writing, and a lot of it had to do with the amount I was reading. For the first time in my life, I was getting to learn about subjects that interested me.
In a way that’s what college is all about. College introduced me to books about history, politics, sports, biographies, and fiction that I would have never discovered. In that way, it was an invaluable investment.
The truth is I read as many words as I did a 10 years ago, it is just that now it is on Medium, Buzzfeed, the New York Times, and Twitter. I know that these sites and apps are training our brains to read in short, quick, snippets that don’t correlate to reading many chapters of books in one sitting, but reading is reading. Whether it’s an entire book or a 240 character tweet.
Yet, since I commit myself to writing content on Medium, I need to get back to reading in bulk. My Amazon book lists have about 50 titles waiting there, and I can’t make the excuses anymore not to plow through them.
Key to a happier life
Once I hit publish on this, I will begin reading Kliph Nesterhoff’s “The Comedians,” and I cannot wait. I know that by reading more, I will be a better writer, by improving this I will have more energy since these are things I enjoy doing. More time devoted to reading and writing, less time to Netflix and Oreos.
Writing is my key to a happier, healthier life.
Sometimes I wonder what “Miss T” is up to and if she knows she had an impact on those kids years back. I also wonder what the hell she would think if she read this. I am sure she would find it baffling that I earn income from writing but without her I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I guess I want to say that wherever you are T, thanks.
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