This is my third post about the teacher characters which appear in my books. If you’re enjoying them, I’d love for you to comment and tell me about your own favourite teacher character.
Who is my teacher character? Miss Timms
What book does she appear in? Toppling, illustrated by Rhian Nest James and published by Walker Books Australia.
Why is she there? A lot of the action in Toppling takes place at school as John and his mates struggle with the illness of their good friend, Dominic. Because of the number of school scenes, there needs to be a teacher. The way she interacts with her students is really significant to the plot of Toppling.
What role does she play? As the teacher of a class of year 6 students, she see them daily and knows them well. It is Miss Timms who has the job of telling the class that Dom is sick – and who also helps them deal with this. She is a really caring teacher, who seems to know how her students are feeling, and gives good guidance.
What did I learn writing about her? I wrote Toppling soon after I wrote Pearl Verses the World. I needed to be careful that Miss Timms and Miss Bruff were not too similar. I wanted them both to be nice people but not one-dimensional. So I learnt, as I wrote about Miss Timms, the importance of fleshing out a character who has only a few scenes. I show, for example, her impatience when Ky, the bully, is mean.
Favourite Miss Timms moment? The scene where Miss Timms announces that Dom won’t be coming back to school for a while because of his illness. I like it because it shows her efforts to be compassionate and honest, but still her level of uncertainty about how to deal with the situation. Good teachers are willing to show their human side to their students.
I hope you’re enjoying learning more about my teacher characters. Later this week I am going to post about my non-fiction teacher character, Mary MacKillop.