Sunday, July 7, 2013

Being There - The insights into a YA author's past - Jodie Esch!!



In my career as a school administrator, I’ve worked as an elementary school vice-principal, a middle school vice-principal and finally as an elementary school principal.

 Quite a lot for Mimi to process as she highlights and promotes a number of authors. She thought I worked at the high-school level. Thank you Mimi for making that correction.

You're welcome Jodie - when you talked about your "kids" and working with teens, I just took it for granted that you worked at the High School level - must remember to check my facts next time....gulp! One thing I was VERY positive about - the love you had for those teens shone through - just like it does in your wonderful stories.

As a middle school vice-principal (650 students) Grades 6, 7 and 8, I worked with young people who were at a most vulnerable stage in their lives. They wanted to grow up, they wanted independence.

But, most of all, what they wanted was a listener. Sometimes that was a parent, or a school counselor or a best friend. Sometimes it was me. I’d walk with a student up and down corridors or around the perimeter of the grounds. We’d have distance from the ‘vibrations’ sometimes immersed in a school office setting.

They’d walk and talk. I’d listen. Moving and being outside seemed to help. Kind of like a walking meditation. Sometimes they would ask for advice, sometimes they wouldn’t.  A lot of the time, they wanted to share something private, something upsetting, something bothering them.

In my second Young Adult novel Little White Pills  the main character Steph yearns to share a secret but she’s afraid to expose it to the world. I’d love you to take the journey and discover how Steph comes to grip with her problems.


As an elementary school principal I used a degree of creativity to address a common issue. A teacher complained that one of her students was stealing food in her classroom during the lunch period. 

So, I arranged ‘The Lunch Bunch’ a group of students who ate with me at a round table in my office, complete with placemats, napkins, etc. I discretely provided lunches for any hungry students. This was a special occasion for four or five chosen kids, a combination of troubled students and students who were sailing through school.

Both groups learned from each other. I learned the most. It was an opportunity for me to truly listen to my students. I was there for them. No interruptions. My staff was superb as they understood that during that time I wouldn’t be available on the school grounds.  Everyone learned to value the ‘Lunch Bunch’. Students wanted to join and become a member.

I discovered simply by ‘listening’ by ‘being there’ I could make a small difference in the lives of my students. In Little White Pills, I hope you will discover who and what makes the difference for troubled Steph.
Just released Book #2 of the Girlfriend's Series
Book #1 of the Girlfriend's Series

p.s. Jodie - I wish I had a teacher like you when I was in those frustrating teenage grades!!

No comments:

Post a Comment