Teachers Who Inspire: Fairies Go Tapping

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teaching jobsWho knew that six little words can mean so much to a seven-year-old?

Even though I can't remember the name of my second-grade teacher, I still remember to this day that she loved hugs and she told me I could write. In second grade you do classroom activities involving making solar systems out of construction paper; and if I remember correctly, adding and subtracting skills are heightened.

My classroom, filled with youngsters in warm sweaters and boots to fight off the upstate New York chill, played games involving a version of "Seven Up" called "Fairies Go Tapping." We would all put our heads down and our thumbs up and the two or three students at the front of the classroom would walk around and tap the thumbs of a chosen few. This was after the teacher would exclaim, "One, Two, Three, Fairies Go Tapping!" The "tapped" ones would then guess who it was at the front of the classroom who chose them.

It was this use of imagination and games that inspired my writing in the classroom. Once a month we would hand in a short story made out of construction paper and I handed in stories with talking earthworms who roamed outer space and summer vacations spent in underground tunnels. My teacher loved my stories, and one day she hugged me and told me I was born to write.

Many, many years later, I graduated college in upstate New York with a degree in journalism. I was managing editor of my school's newspaper and held various freelance-writing jobs to get by. I began writing for my hometown daily newspaper and after about a year, longed for the freelancing days where I could choose what I wanted to write about. Gone were the days of writing about earthworms, for sure. I quit that job and moved to Atlanta, GA, in search of bigger and better things.

I didn't pick up writing again for a newspaper but I did start to freelance again. Freelancing gives me the freedom I had when I was a second-grader writing about things I liked. My teacher inspired me to write and to use my imagination. I took this and made a career out of it. As for future plans: My next goal is to move to South Korea and teach English to young children. Maybe I can translate "Fairies Go Tapping" into Korean!

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