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Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Favorite Teacher

During a recent e-mail conversation with Candace Salima, I discovered we both have the same "favorite" writing teacher. Her name is Dorla Jenkins and she taught at Ricks College. Let me tell you, she was AMAZING! So inspiring, so wise, so encouraging. In fact, I'm still learning from some of the lessons she taught--lessons I didn't write on paper but which she carefully wrote in my heart. One of the phrase I use at the top of this blog: "Your value is in your individuality." Another was her belief in the value of what she was doing. She, herself, was a wonderful writer, loved horses as I remember, yet chose instead of a writing career to teach writing to others. From that decision she's influenced, for the better, thousands of lives. One day, as I remember it, she mentioned she went to the temple simply to prepare herself to teach our class because she knew of the power for good that was within us. How could we not have been influenced by such belief in our abilities?

Anyway, thinking back on my time in her classes has given me this idea: write a blog about her and invite my readers to share in a comment their stories about their favorite teachers. It doesn't necessarily have to be a writing teacher, just someone who's molded you into the person you are.

I can't wait to hear what you have to say!


Candace E. Salima said...

Sister J was the best writer teacher I've ever had. She challenged us, beginning with the first five minutes of the first class and increased that challenge every day. If you survived her class you came out the other end of that semester as well taught writer.

I think of Sister J often, wondering how she's doing and hoping that she's very happy. I am determined to get back to Idaho to visit her in the next few months. I do not want her shed her mortal coil without knowing the huge impact she had on my life.

Thanks for writing about this, Rhonda. It brought a flood of memories back to me. Wow, she was a tough teacher!

Cindy Beck said...

What a wonderful tribute to your writing teacher ... she must have been terrific!

I had a "grad student" teacher during my freshman year in college ... at a very large university, where I felt totally lost. She taught freshman English (poor thing! :).

She was wonderful ... and because of her, I learned that I had the potential to become a writer.

Thank goodness for teachers who care.

(Oh, and while I'm here, thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on Caleb's Gift. It was so nice of you!)

Colin Murcray said...

Oh my gosh! I had Sister Jenkins, too! She was the reason I'm a writer today. I owe her so much! You're right. She did indeed enrich many lives.

Joe said...

Dorla Jenkins was also my favorite teacher. In fact, my novel was just published and I wanted to write to her to let her know, which is why I was searching for her online to see if I could locate an email address. Do you have any idea where she is now?

Joe said...

Dorla Jenkins was also my favorite teacher. In fact, my novel, The Black Garden, was just published and I wanted to write to her to let her know, which is why I was searching for her online to see if I could locate an email address. Do you have any idea where she is now?

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

Joe, send me an e-mail at storywriter@rondagibbhinrichsen.com and I can answer you question better.

KyneWynn said...

When I was a child, Sister Jenkins was my Sunday School teacher. I never forgot a lesson she taught us about even the smallest animals being God's creatures. I have always loved writing, and she encouraged me in that endeavor. Recently I ran into her in a parking lot when I was visiting Idaho. All of these decades later, and she remembered who I was asking how I was doing, and encouraging my writing goals, and my goal to become a writing teacher. I guess my point is that even outside the classroom she taught valuable life lessons.

Sue Luthy

Withawhy said...

I love Dorla Jenkins. She was not only my English teacher at Ricks, she was also the Stake Relief Society President. She taught me about writing, but more powerfully...she taught me how to live. Her love for and knowledge of God was evident in everything she did.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I had sister Jenkins for two classes of creative writing in 87 and 88. I must be honest, my first impression was one of fear, and how will I ever survive her expectations. But, she became the most influencial and greatest teacher that I ever had. My memories of her and the tender insights that she shared still enrich my life. I remember after a heartfelt visit with her in her office, about what lay ahead for me, that she simply said that she loved me. I love you sister Jenkins, thank you.

Christi said...

Oh, thanks so much for posting this. I know it's been awhile. But I just read it just now as I was trying to look up Sister Jenkins. She'll always be one of my favorite teachers of all time. She was all the things you said. She was also loving and wonderful to me. I knew people who feared her, hated her, loved her. I loved her! She inspired me to write poetry. And she encouraged me so much. I am hoping to get some of my writings published (and when I do, I'll let her know!). Thanks again! :)

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

You are very welcome!