How My 3rd Grade Teacher Made Me the Bad Ass Self-Employed Writer I Am Today

In third grade, I had three teachers because we moved. At the second school, one teacher left so Mrs. Wright became my teacher at John Adams Elementary in Oklahoma City. Then, just like now, I tended to finish my work quickly. Mrs. Wright didn’t care if we finished early as long as we would remain quiet and not disrupt others. We could color, read, or do whatever.

But…I would get bored. And I didn’t mean. I was just loud…and annoying. Coloring was boring. So, she did what any respectable third grade teacher in the 80s would do who was looking to save her sanity. She gave me an unabridged dictionary and had me find 12 new words every single day. I had to write them out along with their full definitions, use them in a sentence, and if I still had too much time on my hands (I usually did), I had to write a story with them.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Wright was an older woman when I was in the third grade…although she was a substitute teacher for me a couple of times in junior high. She recognized me by name and was either a really good liar or was genuinely delighted to see me.

But…while not an English teacher, she was single handedly responsible for creating me and what I do for a living.

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