Teacher Appreciation Week!

Hey, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week!

Let’s make sure to thank all the teachers, coaches, and educators who you know that simply TEACH students without having a political “I hate America” agenda, or some other crap!

They seem to be getting rare, but they do exist in schools across the country, and they need our support. Now more than ever!

To all of the teachers doing it right, who truly care about the children and their education, WE THANK AND APPRECIATE YOU!

Reading, Writing & Arithmetic…

I graduated in 1986 from a small humble school out in the country in Jayess, MS. Topeka-Tilton High School (now Topeka Tilton Attendance Center).

We may not have had fancy tech equipment for class, or even computers. But what we did have were teachers, coaches, and overall educators who just taught! Do you know how many of our teachers were Republicans and how many were Democrats? Well I can tell you this, I have no idea! Because that’s not what they were there for. Our teachers were concerned with teaching us things like History, Reading, Writing, Math, Science, etc Life skills like how to balance a check book, home economics, how to use a saw, a welding machine, an acetylene torch, and of course how to make paddles in shop class for them to beat us with… 😀  It was awesome! But oh yes, if you got out of line, then you got a sore behind! It wasn’t like some of this stuff that goes on today, teachers were able to beat your butt. And they should be able to!!! Anyway, we also had a Future Farmers of America program that taught us about Agriculture. Looking at how things have “progressed” in our country, I feel like we were just so lucky and blessed that we had some outstanding teachers and coaches with no political agenda, just a passion for teaching! And I don’t know about you, but I have met people nowadays who are in their 20’s that can’t even tell time if it’s not on a digital device. And they were considered “smart” in their class! I mean, wow…

We Roared!

“Who are who are who are we, we are we are we are THE, L.I.O.N.S. Lions Lions we are best!” That’s right, we were Topeka-Tilton Lions, and WE ROARED! 1985 District Champs – Basketball, just saying…

Our school also had a modest little music program, aka: Band Class. And for a smaller school, our sports teams, both boys and girls, were pretty darn good! And the reason that we were pretty darn good, sure we had some talented athletes, but we also had some talented coaches that were pretty darn good themselves. They taught us, they trained us, and they developed us! And we didn’t have any of that “Politically Correct” garbage back then either, there were no “participation ribbons”, and it wasn’t about your “feelings”… You had to actually earn merit! And if you weren’t good enough, then you practiced and you worked hard to improve yourself to be better. I can only imagine that if some of these kids nowadays were told some of the things that we were told in the locker room, they would be “OFFENDED” and curled up in a fetal position in the corner, needing a safe space and a counselor. Not to mention what would happen to those poor coaches.

Teachers Rights! And Wrongs?

In my opinion, teachers need to have the right to discipline kids again. We need both God and paddles back in school! Teachers, teaching staff, and bus drivers should not be terrorized on a daily basis by people’s bratty undisciplined kids! When you hear “Nobody better not lay a finger on my kid”, the Principal should have the authority and the RIGHT (without frivolous, and frankly BS legalities) to be able to tell those parents to just take their little ‘Angel” somewhere else then. Some teachers really care and fight hard to educate students, and if you have a constant disruption in your class, it’s not fair to the teacher and it is certainly not fair to the rest of the students who are trying to learn.

So what do I consider wrongs? The teachers that seem to have a sole purpose of infiltrating public schools and brainwashing kids to believe that communism is good and America is bad. Think about how long this has been going on, we now have a whole group that has graduated and are now of voting age. All of the sex education and gender crap that is introduced to kids as early as kindergarten. Drag queen story time, some of these guys have even exposed themselves to kids. I just recently saw a video where a stripper is doing… “performance art” on a pole in front of a group of small children. And there is SO much more, it’s just disgusting! The parents, teachers, schools, libraries that are promoting this… Where the hell is CPS? How is this ok? What in the hell is going on???

But this is why we really need to support and appreciate all of the good teachers out there doing the right thing! Just teaching! Teaching kids how to read, write, add & subtract… Or just how to tell time!

Unfortunately it seems like the “bad brainwashing” teachers are the ones who currently have all the rights, meanwhile the “Good Teachers” out there are the ones who get persecuted and assaulted. You see it online, on the news, in the paper… A coach laying on the sidewalk getting kicked by a group of teens, a teacher getting stabbed at school in a classroom. It’s just not right! When I was an officer in law enforcement, I always used to say that if I made it through the day without a brawl… It was a good day! And even though what I went through on a daily basis, I always felt bad for teachers. Because at least I could defend myself, and I signed up for that kind of stuff, they didn’t!

It really makes me angry that good teachers have to be concerned for their safety in some areas! Safety and security should not have to be a daily thought for teachers. How about we enforce and modify the laws, and just get rid of the scum instead? Also, why do teachers (or students) have to pay for school supplies out of their own pocket? Too much tax money goes to “Superintendent” or other “Administrative” things, I would encourage you to actually read some of those “School Bonds” etc when they are proposed, before you vote on them. For example, say NO to millions of dollars going to private bathrooms with showers for administrative staff, say YES to allocating that money to school supplies, lunches, and pay raises for teachers, principals, bus drivers, etc. NOT THE FAT CATS driving around in cadillacs, they can go home and shower!

For all those teachers, coaches and educators doing it right, please continue being that beacon of hope in the dark of night. Be mighty and be just without hesitation, cause we depend on you, from preschool through graduation. As young minds develop and fill with knowledge, teachers instill the tools that are needed for college. I say to you, whether you’ve traveled near or traveled far, think for a minute about who you are… a policeman, a mailman or even a preacher, we all got where we are, because of a teacher!

Dwayne Smith

So once again to all of the teachers out there doing it right, this week and every week, WE THANK YOU!

So you wrote a book, now what? – Becoming an author part 2.

So you wrote a book, now what?

Now that you’ve created a piece of literature, it’s time to think about getting it published to share with the world. So you’ve written your story, your memoirs, your novel… Congratulations! You created something that came directly from YOUR brain, woo hoo! That is an amazing achievement all by itself, but, it is just one part of an adventurous equation. Breaks over, let’s get back to work!

So what comes next?

Research! Well almost, not just yet… For me personally, I first did a little thinking and reflecting about what I actually created and what direction I wished it could go in. I mean, I would love to be a “One hit wonder”, that would be awesome! But, I didn’t write the “next best novel”, I wrote “Squirrelly McNut Goes to School”, a children’s book. For my path, in my mind, I envision a “Squirrelly McNut series”. So hopefully, fingers crossed, the first one does well.

That being said, thinking about the bigger picture of what I hope it will become, I tried to create what I felt was an iconic main character, as well as an iconic supporting character. I wanted them to be adorable! And according to my wife, among others, mission accomplished! I mean, see for yourself. What do you think? We can definitely see them being on apparel at some point in the future.

As I said starting out, there are a few different pieces of the puzzle and equations to think about, so you do your own math on that, and think about your direction. And speaking of math, it is not one of my strong points. The last time someone asked me to subtract, I just walked out! When they asked where I was going… I told them that I was minus-ing 1. Math joke! Ok sorry, back to business.

Is there a Publisher in the house?

Finding the right publisher. Besides having adorable characters, my book “Squirrelly McNut Goes to School”, like all of the future titles and stories to come, is centered around innocence, wholesome stories, and Christian values. Since my book has to deal with teachable faith based moments, that guided my research as well. Now this is just my personal journey and things that I considered to be factors, I just wanted to share my thought process. Yours could be different and you may not even care about any of these factors at all. I guess in a “McNut” shell, I just want you to consider the possibilities, the potential and think about the bigger picture for your personal path. What you created, what you have, what it is, and what it could become.

Have a backup plan!

Have choices and options, do your due diligence. When researching publishers, you’ll see there are several options and a lot of information out there, and some disinformation as well. Don’t let the disinformation enthusiasts and negative Nancy know-it-alls discourage you. And believe me, I know that it can seem a little daunting, but steady the course! You can do this!

I would recommend picking out a few different publishing companies that coincide with your narrative or who just makes you feel comfortable. For me, after researching for about a week or so, I had actually narrowed it down to two publishing companies that I was interested in. And I figured that if those didn’t work out. I could always contact others. My first choice who I submitted my book (“manuscript”) to was a Christian company, because of my type of book and message, I felt like they would be a good fit for me and that’s the direction that I wanted to go in, if possible. I have to say that I was totally surprised, and a little shocked that the first company that I chose… Actually chose me! I mean, this is my first book, I’ve never done anything like this before. I was so honored and grateful that Christian Faith Publishing liked my story and made my book a reality. I feel very lucky and blessed because I know that it doesn’t always happen with the first publisher that you contact, especially since this was my very first book ever! So that’s why I’m saying, have options, and if the first publisher that you contact doesn’t work out, then contact another. Hey, if at first you don’t succeed… try, try again!

Also just a heads up, please remember that things are not like we see on TV. Unless you’re some big time, well known writer or celebrity, you are not gonna get some big check in advance, so let’s be real and keep things in perspective… Publishing a book will cost you money!

I hope that this was helpful, and if you enjoyed it, please check back soon for “The Publishing Process… It’s Habbening!” Part 3, the last part, of “Becoming an Author”. Also, please share this or any of the other blog articles that you like with friends and family. Thank you!

How I did it! Becoming an author…

A little background.

So if you don’t know, the “How I did it” pic comes from “Young Frankenstein”, an older comedy which is one of my favorite movies. I try to have a good sense of humor about everything, and I do consider myself to be somewhat witty. I mean, I make my self laugh all day long! But, what I never considered myself to be… was a writer.

I’d love to say that I took creative writing in college, or read a ton of books and I’ve always wanted to be a writer… I know that this is probably the case for a lot of Authors, and that’s Awesome! But it’s just not my case, I probly don’t fit the “typical Author description” so to speak. Like Homer Simpson, I’ve always said my favorite book is… Magazines! And I’m usually reading some sort of “how to” or tech manual.

It’s kind of funny, but I sort of equate becoming an author to my time in law enforcement, meaning neither occupation was anything that I ever really thought I’d do. But I happened to do both pretty well! I’ve also been an “Operations” type person for many years, creating training manuals, daily user guides, as well as implementing and streamlining business processes. I have also written some funny headset tech blogs.

Idea for, Squirrelly McNut Goes to School.

So one day, I just had this name pop into my head… “Squirrelly McNut”. My first thought, as with most things, was how to use it in a joke! I joke about everything, including making fun of myself. Yep, I’m that off the cuff funny guy! It’s so dusty in my house right now, the Dust Bunnies ride around in dune buggies…” Anyway, weeks go by and still no joke. And one night it just came to me, put it in a story. But I’ve never written anything like this before, could I even do it??? So that night I just started typing, running different plots and scenarios through my head navigating a path. The character, the content, and the story line just seemed to pour out. And by morning, my “Squirrelly McNut” character and book “Squirrelly McNut Goes to School” was created! Now of course, this is no novel. But this is where my path led to, short wholesome stories for children illustrating innocence and Christian values, with plans on it being a series. Who knows where your path could lead…

Hold up Santa, all in one night? What about writer’s block?

True, writer’s block happens a lot. Everyone’s gonna have their own way, but it may not always work the same way every time either. So don’t get discouraged. I don’t always get it done in one night. For me, when I’m getting ready to try to write, I’ll let the ideas marinate in my head for maybe a week. Then I have to clear my head and be mentally relaxed, and I’ll find my writing window in the middle of the night. I like that it’s dark, no TV, no distractions, it’s my quiet and creative time. If I’m feeling stressed or like I’m forcing it, that’s no good, I walk away and get back to it another day! But when I’m in the zone, I’ll write all night long!

You can do it!

Every Author is gonna have their own “creative processes”. For many years I’ve been creative, and I usually have processes for just about everything I do, but I never thought that I would or could write a book, much less having it published and available almost everywhere! So I hope this just shows that no matter what your background is, if you develop a passion for writing or if you are blessed with a message to share… Don’t be afraid, put pen to paper. You can do it!

I sincerely hope that this blog post inspires the Author in you! If this was helpful and you liked, please leave a comment if you want, and share the website. And also follow for upcoming blogs such as “So you wrote a book, now what?”

Squirrelly McNut Goes to School – Introduced at Read Across America

I recently had the honor and privilege of an invite and participating in the Read Across America Program. I got to meet and hang out with a great group of kids and two fantastic educators at the Wesson Attendance Center (in Wesson, MS)!

I had a great time sharing my new book, Squirrelly McNut Goes to School, with the kindergarten class of Jennie Skinner and Karen Sullivan!

So what is Read Across America?

The National Education Association (NEA) launched the Read Across America Program, which is an initiative on reading that began in 1997 to encourage children to read more books and also to get them excited about reading! On March 2, 1998, the very first Read Across America Day was celebrated, and since then it has become an annual event.

Read Across America Day is also known as Dr Seuss Day. Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as “Dr Seuss”, was an American artist, book publisher, animator, poet, and a political cartoonist, as well as an author. He is best known for authoring over 60 children’s books, including the popular Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, and of course How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

The holiday mainly focuses on motivating children to read as it improves their performance in school. On this day, many hospitals, bookstores, community centers, churches, and libraries, as well as schools of course will host various events.

NEA members and a total of approximately 50 national associations as well support the Read Across America Day. The National Education Association provides various resource materials for people who want to celebrate the holiday in their unique way. Some organize reading pledges, book fairs, or just read aloud to groups of children.

At the end of the day, in my opinion, here’s what it’s all about…

When people take the time to read with kids, you raise the awareness about the value, importance, and fun of reading! Read Across America gives us the opportunity to help kids to enjoy and relate to stories they read by linking books and reading to other experiences in their lives.

When you read a book for a group of kids and a couple come up to give you a hug afterwards, you realize that your story touched them on a personal level. They related emotionally to a character or a situation, and realized that they were not alone. And as an author, WOW… what a feeling!

Squirrelly McNut Goes to School – About the author

Squirrelly McNut Goes to School.

About the author :

Dwayne Anthony Smith is the author of Squirrelly McNut goes to
school, he currently resides in Mississippi with his wonderful wife
Lauri who he married in 1995 and their 8 rescued dogs. Dwayne
graduated from Topeka-Tilton High School in Mississippi, but is
originally from south Louisiana where he went to Jean Lafitte
Elementary School. Yep, named after the Pirate. Do you know what
a pirate’s favorite alphabet is? It’s “RRR!”

Growing up on the bayou, his grandfather Henry Vinet always made
sure he had interesting pets, like turtles, baby alligators and neutral
rats. Those are basically swamp rats with two big orange front teeth.
Oh, he had dogs too…

Dwayne’s father-in-law Bill Crumm, Arizona fast-pitch softball hall of
famer who won the world championships in 1970 and 1974 has also
been a huge source of inspiration for him. This all around great dad
instilled the credibility, strong work ethic, and values that he has
today.