There comes a time, a moment of truth, in which a decision has to be made, a problem has to be solved. In the teaching business those moments can occur once per hour, or fifty times in the space of two minutes. You can bat 900, hit nine out of every ten out of the park, and still come out on the losing end. More often than not, you lose. You continue to get it wrong, and you feel totally defeated at the end of the day. No World Series of education for you. Sorry about that. But once in a while, you do not fail. You say the perfect thing to diffuse the situation. You think of the perfect example that, once explained, turns on every light bulb in every head in the room. That is magic. That is the reason you teach.
I am writing a novel right now, The Magical Miss Morgan, about a teacher. Without making a mystery about it, the teacher in the story, Miss Francis Morgan, is really me. I am basing this story on things that actually happened to me. Now, before the yelling and the accusations start, I will confess that I realize I am a male teacher and the main character is female, and there are things a female teacher does all the time, like hugging a student, that a male teacher can never do. And I must also confess that this teacher I am writing about loves all her students, even the ugly and stupid ones, and that is probably only true for teachers who really are magical. I further realize that the fairies in the story, just like the ones in Peter Pan, are not real outside of the story being told. I’m not insane… well, okay, I’m a teacher… a middle school teacher… so let’s just say I am not completely insane.
But there is real magic. It happens in that moment when you desperately need that perfect solution to pop out of the magic hat like a white rabbit and say, “Howdy!” Because if you have the courage to reach into that hat and pull the rabbit out, more often than not, it is there. And it doesn’t end when the teaching ends. I hit the wall with this novel at about 30,000 words. I wrote myself into a corner with no way out. But then I realized that I already had the answer. I am basing this story on what really happened. So, all I have to do is turn me into her and sprinkle some fairy dust, and voila! the rest of the novel is already plotted and as good as written. Everything fell into place in only a moment.