I’m pleased to welcome Indie author Doug Lucas to Ancient Children. Doug tells readers the fascinating story of how he came to take up writing after a career with the military and police. He also talks about his latest book, The Flats Teachers’ Test.
My name is Doug Lucas, well in reality it’s Raymond D. Lucas. Like most people I sometimes forget I have a first name. Mine was borrowed from my father —I tend to confuse myself when I tell others my first name is Raymond.
My dad had dreams of sending one of his sons to West Point; I had of escaping any form of academic endeavor. Neither one of us was a total success in making those dreams come true. He did manage to force my nonacademic, rebellious mind and body through high school. I managed to join the Marine Corps right after high school before he could inflict the pain of higher learning on my soul.
I began a twenty-five year odyssey that in the beginning worked very well towards the completion of my life ambition of not being forced to endure any more formal education. The Marine Corp started my “reeducation” by training me to become a machine gunner — this worked well for me because no college was required for this position. After my first tour in the exotic Far East the Marines waited for me to reenlist and then changed my status to Combat Photographer, a reward for some misdeed that to this day I am still unaware of committing.
I once again found myself in academic situations, but with a twist that added zest to my desire to learn. Fail a military school and for the most part your career is over at all levels. You might say that I became a very enthusiastic student, with a new-found motivation to excel at academics.
As a reward for completing the “schools” I was selected for, I was returned to the Far East to apply my new found knowledge of combat photography in a practical environment. I learned very quickly that in a combat situation, taking a shot with a camera was far less rewarding than taking one with a machine gun.
In the time that I served in the Marines I manage to become a Drill Instructor at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina and serve a tour as a recruiter at RSS Long Island, New York. I have no idea what crimes I committed that forced the Marines inflict those punishments on me.
During this period of travel and education I did managed to entice a lovely young woman to share her life with me, on the condition that she controlled the purse strings. This condition has worked very well for us over the last forty some odd years. At least it has managed to ensure my bills were paid on time. She presented me with two sons and a daughter.
Both of my sons had the same attitudes toward higher education that I had. I would often tell them that they may roll across the stage in a wheel chair on graduation day, but they would graduate from high school.
I take all of the credit for raising our daughter, who now has her Master’s Degree in literature. Having read some of what I’ve produced, she has requested that if I ever publish a book, I not mention her name.
After retiring from the Marines I went to work for the Pennsylvania State police as a forensic photographer. I liked that job a lot because it was for the most part very quiet and peaceful — you might say dead end. After working at that for a few years I became interested in forensic video analysis. I think my main reason for interest in that field was as a way of proving to my father that you can make a living watching television.
I am now totally retired from all forms of work, with the exception of those small requirements my wife now inflicts on me. Tasks that are preformed for little or no pay, I might add.
My lovely and gentle wife added to this blend of joy and frustration by acquiring an attack dog for home security. Very few people have the slightest conception of the sense of failure a former Marine achieves as he walks behind a six-pound miniature Yorkshire terrier, appropriately named Trouble.
With the profits from my book sales, I hope to be able to afford a “pooper scooper.”
Teaching in the Flats
A great teacher is a rock jutting from and sometimes engulfed by an ocean filled with the rip tides of passion, ineptitude, arrogance and ignorance. They are protruding spikes of granite which cannot be eroded easily. These are the teachers who make every effort against tremendous odds to polish young minds into the building blocks of society.
Great teachers are awe inspiring in their efforts to create excellence and their influence is powerful, extending beyond even their own lifetimes.
A fortunate few of us have had exceptional teachers who gifted our lives with knowledge as they challenged us and created a need to meet the potential of what we might achieve. These individuals changed the way we thought, possibly sent us down a career path or simply gave us a passion for learning. A passion which will move forward with us for all of our lives.
All of us have encountered educators.
More than a few of these educators started out to become teachers, only to be crushed at some point in their career. Those individuals have lost the desire to teach. Once this desire was destroyed, they ceased to care about anything but themselves and their retirement.
A number of these educators can and should be faulted for their effort to instruct their students. There are more than a few teachers who’ve simply been beaten into submission by the very system they drove themselves to become part of.
Most of those teachers who’ve been destroyed by our education system, toiled under the constraints of weak administrators. Administrators who care more about the system and the political realities of their own success, than education. For this type of administrator the people on the front lines of education and the children they strive to entice, excite or simply drag kicking and screaming into an academic environment are of little or no consequence.
This type of administrator creates educators out of gifted teachers. In the process, they destroy the gifts and fervor for knowledge that could have been passed to future generations.
I invite you to wander through the very foundations of our education system and spend a few hours with a few truly great teachers. When you finish I’d ask you to answer one very simple question, “Would I be a great teacher or end up an educator?”