This local teacher – and published author – brings lessons from his writing desk back to the classroom in unique and engaging ways
The business world just wasn’t for Greg Prado, and that’s fine with him. He graduated from UCF in 2008, just as the Great Recession was taking hold, throwing his previous career plans for a loop. What happened next, though, changed Greg’s life.
“I became a teacher by chance,” he says. “There was an opening at my wife’s school for an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) paraprofessional, so I took a chance. I fell in love with the kids, and the rest is history!”
Greg, now with a master’s degree in the field, is an ESE teacher at Bear Lake Elementary School. There he supports students with disabilities who are struggling with curriculum content.
As an individual with special needs himself, Greg feels like he can truly understand the challenges his students face.
“Because my students know that I struggle with focus and attention, it helps them to feel more normal,” says Greg. “These kids are amazing, unique, and so deserving of love and quality instruction. I’m so glad I can come in and provide them and their teachers with the assistance they need to be successful.”
One of Greg’s strategies to connect with his students is to share not only his trials and tribulations, but his triumphs, as well. And chief among them is Greg’s successful quest to become a published author. When he’s not in the classroom, you can often find Greg hard at work behind his laptop penning a new novel.
An avid storyteller since boyhood, Greg always had the desire to create imaginary worlds and characters. It wasn’t until college, however, that he began to explore writing more seriously. He wrote a book and asked his mother-in-law, who is also an author, to edit it for him. Though it wasn’t a best-seller, that first effort was the impetus Greg needed to grow into the writer he is today.
His genre is science fiction. Greg’s sci-fi fascination dates back to his childhood when his love for video games, sci-fi television shows, and comic books took hold. The rich and inventive tales he read about, watched, or played in were actually the foundations for the stories he creates today.
“I have always been fascinated by space and the unlimited grandeur it offers,” says Greg. “Our limitless universe enables me to think up any setting I’d like for a story and make it seem realistic.”
To date, Greg has published three novels and two novellas, with several more books in the pipeline. A self-described undisciplined writer – he says that’s the ADHD in him – Greg admits it may take him a bit longer than most to get his stories to come to fruition. But, he never gives up, and that’s a key lesson he shares with his students.
“I use my struggles with focusing as examples for my students quite frequently,” Greg says. “I remind them that even though I am a published author, I get writer’s block, too, and I often struggle to connect plot points. I share with them how I get through that and turn it into a fun lesson for my kids when they feel like giving up on their own writing assignments. They also think it’s funny when I stop what we’re doing so I can jot down a note for a book that pops in my mind. They think I am stopping the lesson, but really I am modeling a memory strategy.”
Writing, Greg says, is a family affair. His wife, Devyn, is often on-hand for him to bounce off ideas. She tempers his more outlandish urges, which Greg says creates his unique style of controlled chaos. Greg’s mother-in-law is still on the editing team, and his mother has been known to lend a hand in developing creatures and characters for his stories. Greg’s greatest muse, however, is his one-year-old daughter, Delia, who provides him with inspiration and endless cuteness throughout his writing process.
Greg suggests that anyone who has a desire to become an author should surround themselves with people who can help hone their craft, like he has. He also says to just write!
“Don’t be afraid to toss that first story in the garbage,” says Greg. “I knew there was no way I could redeem the plot holes that filled my first book, so I abandoned it. That’s OK! You can always take your favorite characters, settings, and ideas from those failed attempts and pepper them into newer pieces. The point is, don’t be afraid to write.”
Ultimately, Greg hopes his students learn that lesson, as well. Everyone has their challenges, but it’s how they deal with those challenges that builds character... maybe even a character good enough to star in a story.
To learn more about Greg Prado and his books, visit GregPrado.com or find him on social media @GregPradoWrites.
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