Many of you may not know this, but I was non-renewed from my first teaching job.
I don’t often share the story of my early career. It’s not a stellar selling point to say, “Hey - I’d love to work with your educators! By the way, I couldn’t even hold down my first teaching job.” But when George Couros, who is both a pain in my neck and like a brother to me ❤️ asked me to contribute to his newest book Because of a Teacher I said yes.
When he asked me which educators made the biggest impact in my life - I had two. If I had to choose a teacher, it would be Mrs. Kraus, my high school English teacher. She believed in me as a writer before anyone else. After reading a crappy first draft of my college essay, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “Don’t waste THIS.” When I asked about “this,” she replied, “Any of it,” and smiled. I still carry that conversation in my heart.
Another educator was an administrator - a high school principal, Laurie Bruton, who I only worked with for one year. Laurie is now a superintendent of schools in California. She hired me as a second-year teacher. After the first week of school, while 23 years old and still nursing wounds from the non-renewal, my fiancé left me. Fired AND dumped. Lovely.
I was a mess. Read: In many cases, it would have been non-renewal 2.0. But it wasn’t. I would not be the educator I am today - hell, I may not be an educator - without Laurie.
To read the whole story, check out Because of a Teacher. The book is so much bigger than my story. It’s a reminder that even when it feels like things are out of control, we can make a difference. In the book, numerous educators share their own defining moments where teachers and administrators went so far beyond what they were required to do. In reading these stories, I thought back to my love of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and how I would read passages aloud to my grandmother when her eyes were too weak to read them herself.
Finally, I encourage you to reflect on your own “Because of a Teacher.” Write a thank you card, a blog post, or make a phone call. If there was ever a time to send love to an educator, it’s now. I reached out to Laurie and shared my own contribution with her, and her response left me speechless. I leave you with her words, “Thank you for reminding me that a kind heart is more important than all the intelligence in the world."
To grab a copy of Because of a Teacher, and fill your educator heart with love, click here.
For bulk rates, you can contact Paige Couros at firstname.lastname@example.org who is pretty much the most responsive person ever. And when you get your copy, make sure you post on social media and tag George with, “Your amazing sissy promised I would love it.” (;