November 9, 2007

Teacher Appreciation Day!

Everyone has one. A teacher who made a positive impact.

Mine was Myra Durlofsky, my 10th grade Language Arts teacher. (We called it “English” back then.)

The first day of class, Stu Cohen, a football player, leaned over and said, “You’ll love this class. She’s excellent!”

And she was. And still is!

Mrs. Durlofsky moved through the classroom with energy and purpose. She gave us interesting activities, like writing and performing a modern-day version of Romeo and Juliet. (“Yo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Dude?”)

I worked extra hard when doing an assignment for her. She once scribbled at the top of a page of vocabulary sentences I’d written: “Your sentences brighten my day.”

I still have that paper.

Today, in “retirement,” Mrs. Durlofsky teaches English to Russian students and volunteers at a local cancer hospital and hospice. I still imagine her moving through her days with energy and purpose.

I know what she’s doing today because after twenty-seven years, we still write letters to each other on a regular basis.

So, when you read my novel this February, you’ll recognize the name of the Language Arts teacher who has my main character make a diorama of a scene from Romeo and Juliet.

Thank you, Myra Durlofsky!


Paul R. May said...

What a cool thing to offer a tribute to your English teacher by naming a character after her in your book!

I mentioned Mrs. Kirkwood in my blog... she's one of the few names I remember from the fifth grade. She was the librarian who hosted the fifth-grade creative writing contest. I'll never forget the way she looked at me after she finished reading my story. There was something in her eyes that told me I'd done well.

I also love how you've kept in touch with that teacher. I had an English teacher in college who gave us her phone number and challenged us to call her any time if we ever had a grammar question. I called her about five years later with a grammar question about something I was teaching in my own English class. She was delighted to hear from me, and rattled off the answer in seconds. I may call her again just for fun... maybe I'll try to stump her.

Keep up the great stuff, Donna!

Wild About Words said...


Can I have Mrs. Kirkwood's number? Who doesn't have an occasional grammar question? (Now, should I have used "whom" in that sentence?)

Thanks, Paul. And thanks for the mention on your blog.


Anonymous said...

That's really nice!

I really liked my tenth grade English teacher too. Alas, I forgot her name!