Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday Whine & Wine with JL Merrow


Best Man for the Job


Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the Caught! blog tour.



Giveaway: I’m offering a free signed paperback copy of my Icelandic-set romantic suspense novel Fall Hard (I’m happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!




I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 1st September, GMT. Good luck! :D



Some memories are better off lost in the mist… Fall Hard

“Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.” - Gail Goldwin

“Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.” – Unknown origin, and hotly denied by teachers everywhere!




Now, I don’t know what it’s like in other countries, but here in Britain, primary schoolteachers tend to be almost exclusively female. Whether it’s the kudos of teaching more specialized subjects to A Level, or a simple disinclination to wipe snotty noses and deal with little accidents, men who go into the teaching profession tend to gravitate towards secondary schools.

Those men that do choose to work in primary education tend, in my admittedly limited experience, to have a certain manner about them. They tend to be more patient than the average man, to speak more softly—except when a loud voice is required, when they can deliver in spades—and to have an air of kindness and approachability.

Or, as a member of my local writers’ group put it, when a discussion had been sparked as to whether Robert was acting in a way that was sufficiently masculine: “Men who work in primary schools? They are literally honorary women.”

Now, I’m not sure I’d totally agree with that. The increasing number of stay-at-home dads in recent years shows that caring for and nurturing young children isn’t something only women are good at. Far from being interchangeable with their female colleagues, I think male primary teachers have a great deal to offer. Not least of which is being a positive, caring role model to young boys.

And, of course, as Robert finds out in Caught!, they can be pretty handy for putting ornaments on the top of Christmas trees!


***

Question: Did you or your children have a favourite teacher, male or female? What did you particularly appreciate about them?

***

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.

She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow



***


You can run from the past…but the past runs faster
Shamwell Tales, Book 1


Behind Robert’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job teaching in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean works in pest control, rides a motorbike, and lives on a council estate. On the face of it, he shouldn’t have anything in common with Robert’s bow-tie, classic-car style and posh family background. Yet Robert is helpless to resist Sean’s roguish grin, and a rocky, excruciatingly embarrassing start doesn’t keep the sparks between them from flaring.

Despite Robert’s increasingly ludicrous attempts to keep his past where it belongs, his past hasn’t read the memo. And soon his secrets could be the very things that drive Sean away for good…


Warning: contains the alarming misadventures of a pest control technician, a stepsister with a truly unfortunate name, and a young man who may have more bow ties than sense.

29 comments:

  1. Believe it or not, the coolest teacher I ever had was a nun! She taught history and geography in my parochial junior high, and was smart as a whip and extensively traveled. She definitely was a bit of a smartaleck (which I didn't expect, but loved), and kind of stepped outside the party line from time to time. (She was one of the few people then or now who decried political extremism on either side...I miss that, especially with the US social climate these days.) She was a big influence on me for sure.

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

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    1. How fantastic! She sounds wonderful. I've got this image in my head of a tiny, kick-ass nun taking no nonsense from anyone. ;)

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  2. My favorite teachers were those who could make our classroom time enjoyable. My history teacher from boarding school was one of my favorites even though I was an American in a British boarding school and learning about the Boston tea party and those 'rebel' Americans :) He was able to bring history alive and he even made memorizing all those historical dates fun. Of course I cant remember any of those dates now. Thanks for the giveaway and congrats on your latest book.

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  3. Definitely - the best teachers are those who have a real enthusiasm for their subject and are able to communicate it to their students.
    I had a physics teacher who was like that: he used to set us fun physics/engineering challenges, such as offering a (totally worthless, but we all wanted to win it) prize for building the tallest tower capable of supporting an egg. Out of paper.
    Modesty forbids me from telling you whose team won! ;)
    Thanks for the good wishes!

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  4. My daughter is in fourth grade and currently has the only male teacher in her school and she loves him. He also happens to be one of the teachers whose class wins all the awards every year. Thanks for the post and giveaway. Caught! sounds great.

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    1. Heh, I suspect it's no coincidence his students do well! And you're welcome. :)

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  5. My favourite teacher was a man. He was my literature teacher when I was eleven year old, and he used to read us poetry in class. That's how I learnt to love it . I will always be grateful!

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    1. You're very lucky - poetry was a closed book to me until relatively recently (and a lot of the pages are still stuck together). Glad you had an inspiring teacher! :)

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  6. Probably something to do with growing up in a predominantly female household & family (I have no brothers and the cousins we see most often are also girls (well, women these days!)), my favourite teachers are all male...

    From my own school days, Mr Owens, or "Sir" as he was known, taught us in top juniors and had a wonderful way of inspiring and educating us to a level that meant some of us sat through GCSE lessons going "we learnt this in primary school...". His great passion was the written word, especially Tolkein and Greek myths. At secondary school, I had the same tutor for all 7 years which was very rare as most teachers had a preference for lower, upper or sixth form tutoring. Anyhow, Mr Lloyd was one of those people whose influence you only realise when they're no longer a part of your life - he taught us cynicism (especially of the media and advertising) and other useful skills. I believe he's still teaching at the same school - at least when my dad did some supply teaching at that school a couple of years ago, Mr Lloyd asked after me!

    I also met several fantastic teachers when I was working as a Learning Support Assistant - most of whom taught Physics or Chemistry. They proved a bit too inspiring, but that's a whole other (fairly boring) story ;-)

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    1. "a bit too inspiring" - heh, I could easily have gone the english lit/modern languages route at 16, instead of sciences, and maybe I would have if my arts teachers had been as inspiring as the scientists (my German teacher was sweet, but even he occasionally fell asleep during his lessons...) Your mythology-inspired English lessons must have been wonderful. :)

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  7. One of my favorite teachers was my English teacher my senior year of high school. He had such enthusiasm for the subject and always made class interesting. Also, there was only one male teacher in my elementary school. He was my teacher when I was seven. I remember being a little disappointed when I heard he would be my teacher - probably because I was so used to female teachers - but he was great. Thanks for the post and the giveaway! I'm really looking forward to Caught!

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    1. Interesting that you were disappointed to hear you'd have a male teacher - clearly the novelty factor wasn't working for you! But I'm not surprised to hear he turned out well. My theory is that only those men with a real passion for educating young children dare to tread in such a female-dominated world. :)

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  8. My favorite grade school teacher was a woman but I believe there was only one male teacher on the entire school and I wasn't in his class. I loved her because she taught us about life not just math or reading but things we could use in every day life.

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    1. Your teacher sounds like a rare one! I wish I'd been lucky enough to have that sort of teacher. :)

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  9. Hi, my favourite teacher at primary school level was a man, he was very strict but very fair. He made the lessons enjoyable and encouraged my creativity, writing and reading, whilst others had not. I think my next favourite teacher was also a man, he taught mathematics and religious studies (he wore a bow tie and dressed very dapper) and was a very inspiring kind man who unlike some of the teachers did not hold it against me the last member of my family attending that school, who had been confident, quite outspoken and often challenged the teachers. When they realised another member of the family was coming some teachers expected the same, but in comparison to my brother I am quiet and rarely said boo to a goose. I only know now some of this because I recently met one of those teachers and they apologised for it. It did knock my confidence and due to this and some bullying, my parents moved me to another school when I eventually told them what was going on.

    Strangely enough I eventually trained to become a teacher, but I worked in special needs from ages 15-19 and adult learners at degree level.

    Thank you for a chance to win a copy of Hard Fall (fingers crossed) :) One of the first books I read of yours was Muscling Through, as its based in my home town, and I still re-read it when I can and when I need cheering up. Will there ever be a follow up or maybe a another story featuring the characters and a cameo for Larry and Al? I am just enjoying reading Relief Valve.

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    1. I think the fact you eventually became a teacher tells us you had some good teachers when you were younger! It must have been hard to go to school with people judging you because of your brother, though. I'm glad you were able to find a place where people saw you, and not your family.

      So chuffed to hear you like Muscling Through - it definitely has a special place in my heart! I'm afraid I don't have any plans for more stories featuring Al and Larry at present, but never say never. :) Good luck in the draw!

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  10. I had a few throughout my school years. They tended to be the ones that pushed me the hardest and had the most confidence in my ability to succeed. Male and female.

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    1. It can be very inspiring to have a teacher who really believes in you, can't it? I remember one teacher whose confidence in me I dented by not bothering to revise for a test. His disappointment was the most effective kick up the bum I've ever received! ;)

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  11. My favorite teacher from high school taught english as well as drama. You could never get one over on him but he would always lend an ear when needed. I was devastated to find out he died of AIDS about five years after I graduated.

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    1. He sounds like a lovely guy - so sorry to hear his life was cut short.

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  12. My favorite teacher was my world history teacher. He made everything so interesting.

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    1. History is the sort of subject a teacher can make or break for you - glad you had a good one! :)

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  13. I had several favorite teachers. Only one male, but he was the one that inspired me to love science. My chemistry teacher us high school was the final push into science for me. She encouraged me at every turn.

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    1. The other side of the no-men-in-primary-teaching coin is that there seem to be a lot fewer women teaching secondary level science than men. Men can inspire, but I think it's great to have a few more female role models for teenagers. :)

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  14. My favorite teacher was the band director at my middle school & high school. He was the first teacher I'd had that really seemed to invest in what kind of people his students turned out to be.

    My son is only 19 months, but he goes to several activities. He seems to identify more with male teachers so far, so his favorite teacher is one of the guys at his baby gym!

    Can't wait to read both these books!

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    1. Glad your son is getting on well with his male teachers! I live in an area with a lot of stay-at-home mums, and I remember when I first went to a toddler group with a male friend and our sons, and a lot of the tots there, used to only women being around, were terrified of this weird tall person with a beard!

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  15. Since I was homeschooled, Mom was my main teacher. However, Dad was definitely there when I needed help with a concept Mom couldn't explain!

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    1. Hats off to your Mom. If I'd had to homeschool my two, I doubt either of them would have made it through to their teenage years! ;)

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