When thirteen-year-old Sam Barrette’s baseball coach tells her that her attitude’s holding her back, she wants to hit him in the head with a line drive. Why shouldn’t she have an attitude? As the only girl playing in the 13U league, she’s had to listen to boys and people in the stands screaming things like “Go play softball,” all season, just because she’s a girl. Her coach barely lets her play, even though she’s one of the best hitters on the team.
All stakes now rest on Sam’s performance at baseball training camp. But the moment she arrives, miscommunication sets the week up for potential disaster. Placed at the bottom with the weaker players, she will have to work her way up to A league, not just to show Coach that she can be the best team player possible, but to prove to herself that she can hold a bat with the All-Star boys.
On Being a Teacher/Author
Stacy Barnett Mozer is a third grade teacher and a mom. She started writing books when a class of students told her that there was no way that a real author who wrote real books could possibly revise their work as much as she asked them to revise. She’s been revising her own work ever since.
A couple of year ago a parent of a former student sought me out to let me know how much her daughter missed being in my class. She said her daughter told her, “Mrs. Mozer gets it, Mom. She’s a writer.” What her daughter meant by that is that she knew that I understood what it’s like to work hard. To keep going even when other people haven’t connected to your vision.
As a teacher I have incredibly high standards for my students. I expect them to take ownership over their work and to strive make it the best it can be. But working at becoming your best is challenging. You have to accept that you may have to do things more than once before you get it right. By bringing my own experience as a writer to my class, I am able to show them that nobody gets things right the very first time, not even their teacher. As we look through pages of my marked up manuscripts, they understand that everyone needs feedback and that they can’t take it personally when the piece they thought they loved still needs a bit more attention before it can be shared with the world. They see first hand that real authors who write real books do revise more than I ask them to revise.
The other amazing thing I get to bring to my students is a personal connection to authors. My students love hearing about my experiences at SCBWI writer’s conferences, rubbing elbows with many of the authors whose books lines our shelves. They also get to meet some of them when friends stop by for Skype visits or because they are in the neighborhood. My new favorite thing to do is to ask authors if I can video tape a hello message. Having an author say hi means so much them. They rush right over to the author’s book and read with gusto because they feel a personal connection.
Teaching brought me to writing. Writing strengthens my teaching. It’s a great match. Even if I had never published a book, I would have been glad I became a writer.