Roseanne Cheng: “Teachers Make the Best Writers”

Posted May 9, 2014 by Sara 2 Comments

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Today, we have a really great guest post from Roseanne Cheng, author of The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High,who used her experience as a teacher to influence her book (which is available now). Thanks for stopping by today, Roseanne!

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Teachers Make the Best… Writers
by Roseanne Cheng

take back of lincoln junior highGo to a staff development meeting at your kids’ schools.  Do it.  Watch the room full of teachers, people who tell your kids every single day to pay attention, sit up straight, don’t look at their cell phones, give it their all…. Watch them do exactly the opposite of that.  Side conversations.  Sneaked text messages.  Grading papers while other people are talking.

There is a saying that teachers make the worst students.  It is true.

I taught high school English for seven years before becoming a stay at home mom and author.  Some of my best lesson planning happened during meetings when I was supposed to be paying attention to something else.  In our defense, teachers are so inundated with paperwork, so bound by their school’s bell schedule, that they often don’t have the luxury of giving anything their undivided attention.  Multitasking is just the reality of the job.

As I wrote my first YA novel, The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High, I had this reality in mind. The swamped, overworked, and underpaid teacher that I was sat like my own private editor on my shoulder.  How about chapter lengths that could be easily read as a nightly homework assignment? The teacher in me kept asking.  How about organizing the vocabulary words in the back?  How about coming up with some writing prompts to help teachers actually teach this thing?

Writing and publishing is about so much more than just telling a good story.  Don’t get me wrong—that is important. But the idea I had for my book wasn’t just as entertainment for kids.  I wanted it to be used in the classroom to help facilitate discussion.  I wanted teachers to see it as a resource, not just another to-do on their plate.

I knew I could do that, because I was one of them.  Even on the hard days, even on the days when I didn’t have lunch and my front seat was piled high with papers to grade, I loved being one of them.  Being a teacher meant that I knew my direct audience—kids—but also my indirect audience—the exhausted adults who love them.

Knowing both—wanting to positively impact both—gave me a vision and a purpose.  A career that I am proud to watch unfold.

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Here’s more about The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High:

Lincoln Junior High is out of money. For Andrew and Hannah, this means no sports, no music, and no fun. That is, until the principal begins a corporate sponsorship program to “Take-Back” the school. A few advertisements in exchange for cool programs and new technology can’t be that bad. Or can it?

Sara
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2 responses to “Roseanne Cheng: “Teachers Make the Best Writers”

  1. Oooh, I love the premise for The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High! Definitely adding it on Goodreads!

    And now I’m wondering if maybe I can get my dad to sit down and tell me more about his experiences as a teacher so we can co-write a story together. I just know he wouldn’t do it on his own XD

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