Amidst a sea of young adult books, language arts textbooks, and teachers from all parts of Florida, two English teachers sat down for conversations with the mentor-professors who trained them in graduate school. They came to record their stories for StoryCorps’ National Teachers’ Initiative, which celebrates the brilliant and courageous work of teachers around the country. StoryCorps partnered with the Florida Council of Teachers of English (FCTE) to record for two days at its annual conference in Orlando, Florida.
Cari L. Sadler, who had just completed her seventh week as a teacher, interviewed Joan F. Kaywell, her professor at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Education. Joan told Cari about her relationship with her mentor, Ted Hipple, and described the Ted Hipple Young Adult Literature Collection, a collection of autographed YA books that she started to honor Ted after his death. Cari pointed out that Joan honors Ted the most by passing onto her students the support and respect that he gave to her. Cari confessed that while Joan intimidated her early on, she is now inspired to maintain academic rigor by Joan’s example and teaching.