Possibly the most useful piece of writing advice I have ever received, came from my year 2 teacher. She was a passionate and dedicated teacher who inspired and challenged her students to write more often, and to write better. Despite the fact that I was only seven years old at the time, she taught us about similes and metaphors. She made us think about different adjectives to use and what descriptors we could put after dialogue quotations.
My teacher even recruited some mothers who had access to computers, to type our hand written stories, adding Word Clip Art at the appropriate places, so that we could have printed and stapled versions of our work. I still have some of my first printed stories.
However, the one lesson that she taught us which really stayed with me was this; there is always a better word to use, than got.
She was right. To this day I can’t stand using it. There is always a better word, or string of words, for every possible use of the word got. Despite the fact that I rarely edit during a first draft, if I start to type that word, I will pause, my fingers hovering over the keyboard, until I find a better option.
I was lucky that I
got to had the opportunity to learn from her. My year 2 teacher instilled a love of writing in me which lay dormant until I was ready to embrace it. But the skills remained. I have a deep understanding of the power of metaphors and similes. I understand that ‘said’ is not the only descriptor available after dialogue, and I cannot use the word got without hearing her voice.
I am grateful she was my teacher, and I hope there are more teachers out there who are just as passionate as she was when she taught me.