I have to start this post by stating one very important fact you should know about me:
I LOVE school.
I love learning, reading, thinking and challenging myself. I think a good teacher can change a student's life. There is one very special teacher that changed my life. This post today is my Valentine to her.
My favorite teacher was my Language Arts teacher in middle school, and her name is Mrs. Cox. Mrs. Cox loved teaching, and she approached her lessons with enthusiasm. She loved words and punctuation, but mostly, I remember that she loved literature. I credit Mrs. Cox with teaching me everything I know about grammar and punctuation. She used to assign these very difficult tests with words strung together without any punctuation. Her students had to make sense out of the words by punctuating them properly. Now, you might not share my idea of fun, but I really loved those tests. The rules I learned in her class carried me through high school, college, law school and into my career as a writer. They were priceless.
Mrs. Cox also loved books. She encouraged me to challenge myself with difficult literature, and her love of the written word was contagious. I remember how excited I would be when choosing a new title from her classroom library. It was like she opened the world to me. The year I spent with Mrs. Cox fostered a love of literature and writing that led me to writing books for middle grade students. So after my debut middle grade novel, JANE IN BLOOM, was released, I wanted to share the book with her. My daughter now attends the same middle school I attended--and is in the seventh grade. Mrs. Cox is retired now, but one of the other Language Arts teachers and the school helped me reach out to her. We have emailed back and forth, and I was even able to send her my book.
So it is with love and appreciation that I thank Mrs. Cox today, for making a difference in one shy girl's life. Sometimes you touch people in ways you can't imagine. Mrs. Cox, I thank you for touching my life.