April 09, 2016

Inspiring Teachers - Shirley S. Tye

When it comes to art, I find it’s not a painful progress when learning from an encouraging teacher.  A good teacher or mentor has writing knowledge, experience in the craft, and a knack for inspiration.  Such an instructor can find something about the work to praise and explain in a sensitive way where and how the story can be strengthened.  Critiques can make or break an aspiring writer. 

As I look over the comments my teacher made on my correspondence assignments, I’m inspired all over again.  He pointed out the strong points and explained why they were strong.  He pointed out the weak points and explained why they were weak.  What really helped me was his suggestions how to improve those weak parts.  I could clearly see how the new wording improved the story.  There was no arguing about the fact.  His comments never hurt or upset me.  I learned from them.  In fact, I was eager to learn and do better.  His comments and suggestions taught me to examine my work closely and re-work my writing; to mold it like clay. 

A night school teacher who taught script writing wasn’t as kind.  I remember receiving an assignment back from him.  He tossed it on my desk with a cold comment; “Cute.”  Now what did that mean?  He liked it?  He didn’t like it?  I wasn’t looking for his personal taste in a script.  I wanted and needed to know what was right and what was wrong with the writing.  How could I improve it, if “cute” meant it was poorly written?  Was it all bad?  Was there anything good about it?  Should I burn it and start from scratch or abandon the idea of script writing forever. That was my first and last script that I ever wrote.  But a couple of years ago, I purchased a book called Playwriting for Dummies; a perfect title for this writer.  Maybe this dummy can learn from a book. 

Critiques can make or break an aspiring writer.  Find a good teacher with knowledge, experience, and the ability to inspire you.  Then keep on practicing and learning; molding your work to perfection.


  1. These are such great examples of how a critique can inspire and help you grow - or not. The first one was a real 'teacher' - someone who doesn't just instruct, but truly wants to see growth in his/her students. The second one? Well, perhaps he needed a critique in teaching methodology!

  2. We, the Women Word Weavers in Barrhead, held our monthly meeting today. We had inspiring writing prompts and each of us got a boost to our daily word count and practice. One of our members brought the play she is working on for a course. It was great to read the parts and offer suggestions. We critique and mentor one another We teach each other the best we can and we've got each other's backs--kind of like your example of a good teacher.

    Thanks for this, Shirley!

  3. We all need people to inspire us in our lives. Glad you had yours.


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