Former TMS teacher holding essay contest

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A North Shelby man is looking to give a student from one of five local schools a chance to win $100 by penning an essay on his book.

Phil Fishman, who wrote the book “Teacher’s Gotta Dance” chronicling his brief full-time teaching tenure at Thompson Middle School in 2006, is offering a writing contest to advanced placement English students at Thompson, Pelham, Oak Mountain, Spain Park and Hoover high schools.

Through the contest, the AP English students must submit a paper comparing and critiquing Fishman’s book and Frank McCourt’s book “Teacher Man.”

“I subbed at those five schools before I took my teaching job at Thompson Middle School,” Fishman said. “I know there are some very talented young writers out there.”

The papers must be at least 500 words long, and will be judged by Fishman and AP English and International Baccalaureate teachers from each school.

Individual high school essay winners will receive $25, and the grand prize winner will receive $100.

Contest participants must contact Fishman at fishmanpm@gmail.com before Nov. 3 to be eligible to compete. Essays must be turned in to Fishman by March 30, 2012, individual winners will be announced April 20, 2012 and the grand prize winner will be announced May 4, 2012.

Copies of “Teacher’s Gotta Dance” are available at the Vestavia, Hoover, North Shelby, Pelham and Helena public libraries. A copy is also available at the THS library, and are for sale at Books, etc. in Pelham and Little Professor in Homewood.