Thursday, June 5, 2008
‘Misadventures of Little Jerry’
By BARRY BURLESON
Jerry Moore, a teacher turned administrator, used to love telling stories from his childhood to his students.
“That’s when I made a connection with the kids,” he said. “They realized I was a human being. It took a couple of years in the classroom for me to figure that out.”
The instructional services director for the Marshall County School District recently put some of his “life’s lessons learned” into a book - “The Misadventures of Little Jerry.” The purpose of the book, he said, is to give examples of how to teach and how not to teach and to emphasize the importance of empathy and compassion when dealing with young people.
“The way I wrote the stories is from a kid’s perspective,” Moore said. “The point is to try and get teachers to see how the kids feel. These are things that stuck out in my mind as a youngster.”
He attended Marshall Academy from kindergarten through 12th grade. He is a 1985 graduate of MA. The stories come from his days in kindergarten through the fifth grade.
“The book is fiction and non-fiction,” he said. “The family members, I did not change their names, but most of the others I did.”
The only two non-family members in the book whose names he did not change are good friends Johnny Ray and Larry May.
“A lot of people have asked me, ‘Who was Mrs. Walker?’” Moore said. “Actually, she was nobody. The bad happenings in the first grade were under a fictitious teacher. My first grade teacher was great.”
Moore, who has a B.S. from Freed-Hardeman University and a M.Ed. from the University of Mississippi, said two things caused him to produce his first book.
“Some of my former students are teachers now and they told me they wish they had these stories,” he said.
“Second, I go speak at conferences and people ask, ‘Can I buy a copy of your book?’ I found out from other consultants that everybody has a book so I decided to go ahead and do it.”
He started sitting down and writing, mostly at night and in the mornings. He wrote 15 to 20 stories and put 10 in the book.
“I decided to save some for later, in case I do this again,” Moore said.
It took him about three or four months to write the stories, then came the proofreading and the lengthy publishing process. It was published by Hester Publications in Jackson, Tenn.
“I’d send them something and they’d send it back,” Moore said. “We went back and forth, back and forth. That was a lot more difficult than I thought. That took about a year and three months.”
The book is selling for $10. He has sold his first 200 copies and just ordered 100 more.
“It’s rated G,” he said. “I did not want to write anything that would reflect negatively on me or my family.
“When I started the book it was mainly for teachers but it ended up having a far greater reach. My hope is that it helps everyone better understand children.”
Some of the individual story titles include Not All Learning Takes Place at School or “Mamaw Akins’ House,” Innocent Until Proven Guilty or “James Hill in the Hall,” Lying Only Leads to Trouble or “Signing My Parents’ Names.”
He said as a child, and often a trouble maker, he always tended to blame the teacher.
“As an adult, I look back and a lot of it was my fault,” Moore said. “The older you get, the smarter your dad gets, and it’s the same with your teachers.
“I taught and coached and I fell in love with teaching. I became an administrator not just to further my career but to make sure my family was taken care of.
“If I could, I’d be in the classroom. That’s my comfort zone. But there are so many things I can do as an administrator, too, to help the children.”
Jerry and his wife Wendy have three sons - Miles, 14, Morgan 10, and Mason, 5. Wendy teaches first grade at Mary Reid. All three boys attend the Marshall County schools at Potts Camp.
Jennie’s Florist and Gifts, 150 East College in Holly Springs, will host a book-signing with Moore on Thursday, June 12, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. All are invited.
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