Not Really An Essay About My English Teacher by Yvonne Ventresca

As a high school parent, September means Back-to-School-Night, signing lots of forms, and ordering  expensive wrapping paper for the annual  fundraiser. Each September also brings back memories of my own high school days.
One teacher I adored was Miss Scher, who taught Modern Literature. I wasn’t originally supposed to take her class. I was a geeky kid on the “honors track” and that meant taking Advanced Placement English during my senior year. I checked the curriculum for the AP English class and it looked incredibly boring. But the stories in Modern Lit, “regular” English? I really wanted to read those books.

The conversation with my mother went something like this:

Me:  I don’t want to take AP English. I know I’m supposed to sign up for it, but I’m going to take tons of English classes in college anyway. Can I replace it with the regular class instead? Look at what I’ll be reading. *Waves list* This is all good stuff.

Mom, silent, considering for a minute, then: Yes, honey.

And that was that.

I could go on about what an amazing teacher Miss Scher was, about my first writing contest success because of her encouragement or the lunch we had together after graduation when she answered tons of questions about authors and books and majoring in English.

But looking back? The real hero of this situation was my mom. She listened, respected my research and let me do what was best for me. She didn’t feel compelled to make me follow what I was “supposed” to do. As I watch my own daughter begin her senior year, I can only hope I’m that wise.

Yvonne and her mom

I’m new to YA Outside the Lines – this is my first post here! My debut YA novel, Pandemic, was published in May by Sky Pony Press. You can learn more about me at
Besides back-to-school month for many families, September is also National Preparedness Month. I’m hosting an Emergency Preparedness Giveaway through September 30. One winner will receive an Emergency Preparedness Kit and a signed hardcover of Pandemic. You can enter the giveaway on my blog. Good luck!

Emergency Preparedness Giveaway


  1. Welcome to YAOTL, Yvonne! And I agree, your mom sounds incredibly cool.

  2. Thanks Jody and Bobbi. My mom will love hearing that. :)

  3. Yvonne, based on everything I've seen or heard about your parenting, I have a very strong feeling that you've inherited the Wise Mom gene. This was a great maiden-voyage post! Keep 'em coming!!

  4. My mom and your mom would dig each other. Yay for good moms!

  5. Super article Yvonne - I know your Mom and she is a great person.

    1. Thank you, Gloria. She will love reading all these comments!



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