Date: Thursday, December 10, 2015
Time: 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Location: Hotel Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio #15
Admission: $50 pesos for Literary Sala members, $100 for non-members. Includes wine reception.
A Great Teacher and Feminist Woman Inspire Us
By Carole Schor
As Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Frank Thoms, author of Teaching That Matters – Engaging Minds, Improving Schools, was an exceptional teacher and continues to inspire teachers and students through his books. Frank knows teaching is hard, complex and demanding. “Teaching needs to be effective and engaging so that the kids want to learn,” he says. His philosophy is, “You can always try something new.”
In all his books, Thoms offers techniques and perspectives that move beyond the tired model of standing in front of the classroom and talking, and then giving tests. He urges teachers to probe kids so that they can think beyond their experience and develop the desire to learn. His books are being used in teacher education classes, encouraging future teachers to produce exciting classrooms, use different ideas, and create possibilities.
Frank has had a fascinating life as a teacher. He has traveled the world, teaching in England, Russia, and Kazakhstan, creating open classrooms, fostering mentor/mentee relationships, and stretching the boundaries of previously accepted teaching structures. Now he writes about this life as a teacher, combining his love of teaching with his love of writing.
As a writer, just as a teacher, Thoms creates scenes, he asks questions, he invites the reader to take a scenario he has written and draw one’s own conclusions. With the help of San Miguel Writers’ Conference literary agents, Jeff Klein and April Eberhardt and San Miguel writing teachers, Gerard Helferich and Chet Kozlowski, Frank has published two books and learned to view writing as a series of questions, “Who am I? What have I done and where am I going?” As one of his mentors and one of San Miguel’s favorite writers, Richard Blanco, told him, “We have only the five senses to draw upon. Your job as a writer is to invoke these senses in the reader, and to guide the reader to understand and discover what you as a writer are discovering.”
Patricia Browne Hirschl, author of Winter Bloom: A Heart Warms in San Miguel, like many other women, began to question her life as she approached her mid- fifties, to question her role as a mother and a wife, and to ask herself, “Is this all there is?” This simple question became the anthem for millions of housewives leading lives that appeared to be happy and fulfilled, living the American dream in suburbia, while silently struggling with “the problem that has no name.” This silent struggle became the focus of the landmark book, The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan, and heralded the start of the modern feminist movement and the changing face of women around the world. According to Hirschl, “I feel there are many more women like me who don’t realize they are trapped. As I did, they feel they have to limit themselves to being a mother and a wife, and it’s all in their heads.”
When faced with her father’s death and her own mortality, Pat looked at her own life and saw that the happy trappings of family and house and husband were all lies and deceptions. Her writing became an attempt to expose these lies to the world; and through her writing, she has found peace and purpose. At 80 years young, this quintessential San Miguel Renaissance woman went into business, left her husband, took a lover, and sat down to write her story, “just the day-in day-out routines of a marriage, largely unremarkable and unexamined.” She was inspired to share “my special mitzvah, for both myself and for my silent sisters.” According to the Jewish tradition, a mitzvah is “an ancient tradition teaching that every Jew has a special good work to perform. She just needs to discover what it is.”
Join us to discover the lives and writings of these two interesting and very different writers on Thursday, December 10 at 5 PM at the Hotel Aldea. Admission is 100 pesos, Literary Sala members 50 pesos, and includes a wine reception.
Membership in the Literary Sala of San Miguel supports not only the literary life of San Miguel including scholarships for teens and reading projects for children in the campo communities, but also many attractive benefits including book groups like The Big Read featuring Joyce Carol Oates’ collection of short stories, Lovely, Dark, Deep; discounts at the monthly readings as well as discounts and priority seating at the annual Writers’ Conference. A Membership desk will be available for information and registration at the December 10 Sala reading.