May is teacher appreciation month! Teachers play an important role in several Common Deer Press novels, so we thought we’d check in with a few of our authors and see where the inspiration for their teacher characters came from. Read on to see what they had to say.
David Cole, Author of The Math Kids Series
Mrs. Gouche was inspired by my third grade teacher, Mrs. Carmichael. She was tough, but in a way that inspired me to do better. I remember her giving me my only D grade - in math, no less! It was because I knew how to do the work and didn't feel I needed to do the homework to prove that. I aced all the tests, so why should I do homework since I obviously knew how to to it? She (and my mom) straightened me out on that concept pretty quickly. Mrs. Carmichael always gave me extra work, higher level work that forced me to learn, and I rose to that challenge, as I'm sure she thought I would. I visited her every year until I graduated from high school. She even let me teach math a few times in her classroom. A wonderful example of a great, inspiring teacher who left a lasting impression. I think she would be proud of The Math Kids series.
Mr. Miller was my fifth grade teacher and, yes, we called him "Miller the killer". He was most definitely the inspiration for Mr. Miller in book 5. Unlike Mr. Miller in my book, my teacher did not have an aversion to math, although he did tend to stick to the curriculum and not challenge me like Mrs. Carmichael had. I did grow to respect him and appreciate his style of teaching, but he did take some warming up to.
Erin Silver, Author of Just Watch Me
In Just Watch Me, I named one of the teachers Mr. Sayo, after a teacher who made a huge difference in my son’s life. He coached his school sports teams and was dedicated, supportive and encouraging. He showed up before school to hold practices and stayed late to coach more teams. He was also the school music teacher and got kids excited about music. When Mr. Sayo was transferred to another school, all the kids cried and hugged him. He really meant a lot to the community.
Michael Seese, Author of The Extraordinary eTab of Julien Newcomber
The character I could trace most directly to a "real" person is Mr. Nitro, who was based on Professor Beakman, a zany science guy portrayed by the actor Paul Zaloom in the mid-90s television show "Beakman's World." So, although he was not MY teacher, he did teach a lot of kids (and some grownups) about science.
I think Mrs. Stern is an amalgam of most of the teachers I had in elementary school. Straightforward, no-nonsense "old" ladies (who in reality were probably in their 40s or 50s) who managed to keep 20 rambunctious kids in check for six hours a day.