Teacher Reminisces over J. K. Rowling as a Student


May 04, 2007

Posted by EdwardTLC

In an article published in the Pioneer Press newspaper, Minnesota community college professor Dale Neuschwander speaks of the 1978-79 school year where he was a student teacher at Wyedean, “a rural, working-class, public secondary school near the border of England and Wales,” and the future Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling, studied in his Creative Writing class.
Mr. Neuschwander speaks glowingly of the 13 year old Jo Rowling, remembering:

“She got straight A’s and A-pluses in creative writing,” he said. “We were reading Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies,’ and the students had done some writing about it. I wish I had kept her essay about what she would have done on that deserted island and how she would have survived.”

Neuschwander still remembers Rowling’s writing style.

“I do recall an extensive vocabulary for one so young,” he said. “I was also amused by her witty use of informal language in essays (slang, regionalisms, etc.). She has a good sense of humor.”

The article recounts more on the studious Jo, and once her publication Harry Potter series, her correspondence with her former professor, a letter that still hangs on his wall.

Thanks to Catty and Claire!

27 Responses to Teacher Reminisces over J. K. Rowling as a Student

Avatar Image says: thats so cool!Avatar Image says: Thats what a teacher loves to see. Their students making it!Avatar Image says: Lol This just proves the piont I try to make to my teachers when I hand in something hand wrtten instead of typed; ' It will be worth having to desypher this when it's worth alot' Muhahahaha...Avatar Image says: if it is anything like my handwriting, it would be easier to translate then the deadseascroll if you dont know any other languages then english then anything I write by hand. I think this is cool, how jo shared tips to his students. of course, thats the jo we know and love, so its not that much of a shock.Avatar Image says: coolio! Avatar Image says: Wow, so let me get this straight: he taught at the age of 22? That's mind-boggling.Avatar Image says: Jennie, Yes, the article said he was a college senior engaged in a student teaching experience in the British Isles. So 22 would be right. I imagine that to Jo and the other young teens he seemed quite grown up, rather than barely cutting his teeth on a teaching career. A good bit of being a successful teacher is acting -- acting like you've been teaching so long you've seen it all, acting like no conniving students can pull the wool over your eyes, acting like the drama your students are handing you actually is the earth-shattering devastation that they truly think it is. I'm glad he remembers her and that he's still teaching. And I'm overjoyed that she took the time to offer such great writing advice to his students!Avatar Image says: awww... good thing she was a well-behaved excellent student, no? hehe...she seems like an amazing person and I'm a little jealous. she's amazing.Avatar Image says: so there's no hope for me to be like her then...I didn't get straight A's in middle school!Avatar Image says: That doesn't surprise me! Jo Rowling is a brilliant writer - she's a genius! The fact that she replied to Mr. Neuschwander's letter with a hand written letter of her own shows a lot about her character! Thank you, Jo Rowling, for giving the world Harry Potter!!Avatar Image says: I'm curious why noone's bothered to hunt down any of her old teachers before... In a world that thrives on how bad people are, you'd think some member of the press would be looking for stories of Jo Rowling the hoodlum. (Not that such stories exist) It's nice when nice things are written about someone. -BAvatar Image says: What a great article. I think it's wonderful that someone finally helped him make the connection and that he wrote to Jo and she wrote back. I taught for 6 years before we had children, and I've always wondered what happened to my students--very often a teacher never knows how they turned out. Jennie, I'm not sure why you're surprised that he taught at age 22. I was 21 when I graduated from the university with my teaching degree, and started teaching that fall. I turned 22 the second week of school--that's not that unusual--or it wasn't back in the 70s. And the article says that he was a there as a student teacher. Beats my student teaching experience--I only got to go to a town that was 8 miles from my university instead of all the way to England! That would have been great! :-) Avatar Image says: Well, what have you expected guys? That Rowling was dumb? To be honest now. It´s quite clear for me she is an intelligent person, so why do people make fuss about it?Avatar Image says: hey, omg, I could NEVER compete with that! I would be like a primary school kid compared to her, I love her writing!Avatar Image says: aww thats so cool. would make anyone proud! she's scarficed alot- and had to go through alot to be where she is. Avatar Image says: What has she sacrificed?Avatar Image says: lol, vandy, why do you go to Harry-hating places?Avatar Image says: excuse me loki..... i think that was tooooooo rude.... its unethical to say things like that.... i have seen such things only in "i hate harry potter" places... no offences....Avatar Image says: Loki, what is YOUR problem? not only is Jo GORGEOUS, but she is an intelligant, hard-working, caring person who does not deserve the sldnader that you are putting up against her. Jo does not deserve you AT ALL, and seeing as you aren't acting like a fan ( and if you were a fan, I would be embarassed to be labeled in the same fandom as you), maybe it would be best not to post on these sites. I guarentee you, you will get backlash for this. We all love Jo, and I for one will not sit down and let you try to ruin her reputation with the junk you called a post. Avatar Image says: That just melts my heart! And believe me professor...we wish you could find that essay, too. : )Avatar Image says: Jo is my main inspiration... have you read that article in her website about "being thin"? She is exactly what she wants her daughters to be. Independent. Interesting. Idealistic. Kind. Opinionated. Original. Funny. Yes,she is defenitely a thousand words before 'thin'... Since reading the Potter books, I've always been looking up to her... I remember the time I was facing difficulties. I probably've been to pieces and I'm not here now typing this,but I'm still here, for it was during those times that I discovered the thing that she value the most-COURAGE. It's just a blessing that she, is one of the most influential of our times.Avatar Image says: I just want to express that Jo is right in stating that her "For Girls Only, Probably..." article is not funny and trivial. Sometimes we need to stop and read things like those. It's just one of the most inspiring article i've read.. Thank God, i read it even though I'm not a girl..Avatar Image says: Hello! My name is Molly Millett and I'm the Pioneer Press reporter who wrote the story on this teacher. I've been enjoying reading the comments. Please check out my newspaper Harry Potter blog, Big Harry Deal, at http://blogs.twincities.com/harry/, to read fun q&as with fans, essays on HP topics, etc.

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