You may remember me. When I was in your 6th grade class, I was that girl who read novels during class. The one who didn't care so much about finishing well as finishing fast and would trounce up to your desk with my paper before the others were halfway done, just so I could get back to my story.
Mrs. Maki, I remember you telling us that you didn't care whether our math answer was right or wrong, but that you wanted us to understand the process. I need to confess that I despised that never-ending stack of pages marked "REDO" across the top. I even hid some of them under the class library books so I wouldn't have to keep correcting them until I had gotten every part of the problem right.
Mrs. Maki, wherever you are, THANK YOU. Not only did you give me admirable long-division skills, but you helped me cultivate persistence. I'm not a mathematician; I'm a writer. My road to publication is a meandering one that took me over quite a few "almost" and "just not right for us" speedbumps. When a potential editor was interested in an exclusive revision, I soon discovered that was code for a red-pencilled "REDO" over the top of the manuscript.
The first edit was based on a phone call asking for general changes. Next came a 13 page letter (single-spaced!). The third round was a shorter letter with line edits. Two smaller rounds of revisions later and...we were ready to present my book to the publisher. After they acquired it, it went through four or five more revisions before it was ready to go.
Mrs. Maki, I know other people also taught me persistence. Without your resurrecting math worksheets, I might still have learned that doing something thoroughly is (nearly) as good as doing it fast. Or I might not have learned it, and instead of welcoming the revision process, I might have hidden my manuscript away back when it got its first rejection. So here's a belated thank you to you and to all the 6th grade teachers out there. Maybe it will make up for all the whining you get about math worksheets. In the end, they (really, you) helped me become a better writer.
All the best,
P.S. I might as well include a very late apology for that incident with the glue and the watercolors. So very sorry about the wall.
Hey Mayhemers! Have anything you'd like to say to your 6th grade teacher? Or another teacher who influenced you on your writing journey? Comment below!