Storyteller Mary, Stories Make the World Go Around

Mary Garrett, writer and storyteller, tells folk tales, humorous tales and personal stories.  She shared stories with her students at Francis Howell North High School and has since told at the Kansas City Storytelling Celebration, Texas, Timpanogos (Utah), O.O.P.S. (Ohio), and NSN (national) conferences, the St. Louis and St. Charles Storytelling Festivals, the Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire, day care centers, parks, scout events, elementary through high schools, and retirement communities.

John Fussner, Mary’s father, was the first storyteller in her life. She credits him with instilling the love of make-believe. Mary believes in the world of story and the power of story to make this world a better place. After experiencing Mary’s stories, you can’t help but take some of that feeling with you.

Mary is located in St. Charles, Missouri  —
Second Monday Story Swap — 6:30 p.m.    McClay Library, 2760 McClay Road.

— but travels nationwide.You can contact her  via e-mail   and on Facebook

Daddy John and Uncle John books available from Mary.

Frog and Friends and Courage and Wisdom: Stories Make the World Go Around   CDs available from Mary or from iTunes or CD Baby.
From iTunes

Teaching and Storytelling  — Stealth Storytelling in the Upper Grades

I spent 26 rewarding years teaching and enjoyed middle and high school (and for one glorious summer, preschool) students! (NCLB and administrivia, not as much.) Stories helped make those hundreds of classes for thousands of students much more fun and rewarding — and helped students learn more quickly and easily as well.

I knew in kindergarten that I wanted to teach, and my father encouraged that. He warned, though, that “since Daddy is a working man,” I would need good grades and scholarships in order to go to college, and I listened. I went to college with a National Merit Scholarship.

———- (Detour from teaching) ———-

That may sound like a simple career path, but life is never simple. About a year away from graduation at the University of Minnesota, I was given the news that there would be very few teaching jobs available.  The ending of the baby-boom “bulge” meant that schools would be RIFing (Reduction in Force) teachers.

In the 70’s, help-wanted ads were divided into “male” and “female” listings, and most liberal arts female graduates ended up working as clerks or secretaries, which I did, working for Prudential for eight years and learning organizational skills from Lorraine Lonquist. When Prudential decided they needed a woman agent, I was offered training in sales (changing corporate language from “men” for agents and “girls” for secretaries).


What does that have to do with teaching? Quite a bit — teaching definitely involves the same sort of persuasive techniques and telling stories. “Is every author your favorite, Miss Garrett?” “Well, not quite, not Hemingway.”

When I finally found my way to employment as a teacher back home in St. Louis, my substitute work turned into a full-time position at Downtown Daycare.  The director there sent me to my first storytelling class.  It was pure joy teaching those itty-bitties, but a day care teacher’s pay would not support me for long.

When I was hired to teach junior high, I thought I put aside storytelling; those students were “too old for stories,” we thought. Years later, an e-mail from a student, “I remember all those stories you told us,” let me know that I only thought I’d abandoned stories. By the time he sent that e-mail, I had consciously incorporated stories into all my classes whenever I could.  Stories helped with learning and with classroom atmosphere.

I had also begun to take stories elsewhere, to festivals, school and scouting events, retirement communities, anywhere people gathered and needed stories. Now that my schedule is more open (how did I find time to teach six classes a day for 180 days a year?) I can take stories and storytelling workshops on the road — life is good!


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