Elizabeth Woolsey Herbert
(the author)

The Newest book that is in the works by Elizabeth is a collection of stories about inspiring teachers. Yes, she can think of topics other than horses! Elizabeth is passionate about this topic. Back in the 60’s she was inspired by two teachers and last year her daughter Shelley was inspired by a local teacher. At the same time there were a couple of teachers who needed some inspiration.

In searching for a suitable book to give to the “less than” inspired teachers, she found a void and decided to collect the stories herself.

In searching for stories she noticed that Anita Trenwith form Salisbury High School had just won a $10,000 teaching award as SA’s best science teacher. Anita then introduced her to the Special Ed team and principals of Salisbury high. She also interviewed her former teachers in California who are still active in education today.


Inspiring Teacher Stories, the Why and the Wherefore

As a parent, when was the last time you ran down to the school to praise or thank a principal or teacher? I bet you have gone to the school to complain. That is the normal feedback teachers get. At the end of the school year you might send a note to school on the last day thanking the teacher, but for the most part, the feedback teachers receive is overwhelmingly negative.

Think about it. What do you remember about school? If you are like everyone I have asked, it wasn’t the flash new building or equipment. It wasn’t the most recently published books or the other amenities. You remember your classmates, teachers, hopefully a few moments of brilliance on your part, or perhaps a few moments of sheer anxiety and dissolution when you didn’t get asked to the dance, or get picked for the team, or faced an examination that you didn’t prepare for.
When I think back about my education, several moments stand out. In many cases these were not earth shaking events. I remember my first day of kindergarten, university and veterinary school. I don’t remember my last day of high school or even graduate school, but in between there were some events that would shape my life. Like you, I had good and bad teachers. Some of the better teachers during my educational experience would have rated as inspirational, but sadly in most cases, these teachers were stuck with a girl who had no ability or desire to be inspired. I was simply not ready for their expertise, patients and or wisdom. I think this is why you will find that many of these stories are during the teenagers to young adult period.

Last year my daughter had an inspiring teacher, Mr. Farmilo, who you will read about later. At the same time she had a couple of teachers who were less than inspiring. My natural inclination was to report them and file a complaint. I have never filed a complaint unless the complaint was accompanied by a suggestion for improvement. Thus my search for inspirational teacher stories began. After searching for days I asked my good friend and educator, Naomi Arnold, for some leads on books to offer to these less than inspiring teachers. “There are none,” was her reply. Hmmmm, maybe I could collect the stories and make a book myself.

An excerpt:

Learning by Chocolate

By Nancy Scott

From the time I learned to read, I knew Peg Gorman was a teacher who knew a lot. She was, for one thing, the only adult in my life who could walk by and tell what someone was reading by looking upside-down at a Braille book. To this day, I still can’t read Braille upside-down. But, to this day, I’m grateful to read Braille the right way. As a freelance writer, I often read for audiences now, and my proficiency is, in large measure, due to this Irish lady with the very thick glasses. I remember those glasses. Mrs. Gorman often showed them to us. “See what I have to wear to read,” she’d say. And we would feel sorry for her and be happy to read Braille and not have to clip on magnifiers and put our noses down to the book. I never realized till adulthood how smart that ploy was.

Anita Trenwith, South Australian Science Teacher of the Year

By Jodie Moss

Anita Trenwith was my year eight teacher when I started high school in 1998. As far as teachers go I think Anita stood out because she always did something different and attention grabbing. I still remember wondering why she brought her dog to class, and then she told us we were studying animal behaviour. We then went on to practise training techniques using positive reinforcement and actually practised them on her dog. On another occasion she took us out on the oval to blow up a piece of sodium in a bucket of water that made all the classes come out and see what was going on just to show us how chemicals in the lab can be dangerous. Of course we still learnt the usual science lab skills and units that I guess everyone covers but Anita Trenwith was always interesting in the way she delivered the lesson and made us want to know more. She had a genuine interest in us as students too, and was interested in what was happening in our lives not just about our class results

hdRead excerpts and view pictures from the book “Horse Doctor”

Horse Doctor opens with the following introduction …… How I got here is a book unto itself. It would make a good read. But that is another story and will have to wait for another time. I am an American transplant living in South Australia and I am also a horse vet. As a not so minor aside I am also a single mother of an eleven (going on twenty one) year old girl. I have lived in Australia since 1991. I love my work and my life here. I thought this was a temporary move and a bit of an adventure. Thirteen years later it is lookingless temporary but, no kidding, it is an adventure! I never planned to stay, but now I will probably finish out my professional career right here in Gawler, South Australia. One can never tell the future path one may go down. The lure of fly fishing (my third love) in the streams of California or the thought of tormenting my American based sisters might sway me back to the United States when I retire, but for now this is home. God bless Australian horses and horse owners.

Every day as I head out on my horse calls I think “pinch me; they are paying me to do this”. Everyone has memorable moments in their lives which if put into stories would make a good read.

…… Another excerpt from Chapter 1

One afternoon instead of torturing my staff with “old people’s” music, I was complaining bitterly about the emergency I was driving to late in the afternoon. I was probably tired from a prior late night. My nurse, who had to accompany me, said something like: “Well it might be something to write in the book one day.” I wondered aloud if many people would be interested in what we did. My nurse assured me that people would be interested and some day I should write a book. Someday is here and it is time to start writing down some of the things that happen in my daily life here in Australia.

The normal foaling position is the two front legs preceding the head in a “nose dive” position through the pelvic canal. If the leg is flexed or the elbow is hung up at the bottom of the pelvic brim then the foal becomes stuck. The forces generated by the mare to expel the foal are incredible. Mares can push their intestines out the rectum or vagina in the attempt to push a foal out. This is a death sentence. So when a foal becomes lodged it is usually a very tight area that I am working in. Often, once the chain is around the leg it is still a hard job to get the leg out. I have handles that then attach to the chains and usually I and who ever is helping are down on the ground with our legs planted in the mare’s thighs bracing ourselves to pull out the body part. On one foaling this year it took two hours to get the chain around the foal’s legs. It still took me and two big men to get the leg straightened out. Surprisingly, that foal lived. Oh, did I mention I am approaching 54 years of age and I am five foot two inches and weigh one hundred and twelve pounds? A minor detail. I may be getting on but I am definitely not giving into nature.