Stella Castella is my pen name. It came from telling hundreds of students, over the years, “If my name was Stella, I’d be Stella Castella.” (I said this in order to help them know how to pronounce my last name – spelled Castellaw). Over time, I just really grew to like the sound of it!
Castella (Castellaw) is my married name. I have had it now for quite some time – much longer than I had the name with which I was born, Shauna McMahan. The name Castellaw came with a lovely man; we’ll call him Greg, because that’s actually what his folks reported for his birth certificate (well, Gregory). He and I consider ourselves to be so, so lucky to be the parents of two exquisite children, a daughter and a son. You will probably see lots of pictures of them, if you read this blog over time. They are quite nice looking now, but not half so cute as they once were, since they’re both old enough to have children of their own! (That exclamation point could possibly be taken by them as a suggestion, if you ask me).
Well - you are probably thinking, “This blogger must be pretty old.” Right you are! I am old enough to prefer two spaces behind every period and the Oxford comma, to boot! Attaining this advanced age has allowed me to do several things, in addition to raising the aforementioned extraordinary children.
I got my first classroom assignment when I was 21. I’m not saying that it was a good idea; the students were only nine years younger than I. It made for some entertaining blunders. After starting my career in sixth grade, I got a chance to teach fourth and fifth grades. At one point, I had a very interesting job that allowed me to work with first through sixth graders on a rotating basis. Another opportunity that I relished was serving as a writing instructor for gifted and talented kids. My last stop, before moving on to teacher education for 25 years, was as a preschool coordinator. All of this was very educational (especially for me)! I really have to thank Greg for his career moves – without them I never would have been able to try my hand at so many teaching assignments.
Writing has always been of keen interest to me. Since I have retired from full-time teaching, I finally have a chance to do more of it. Please join me in this adventure! Of course I would like it very much if you enjoyed my poetry, but I also want to invite you (and your own students and children) to contribute your poems. I like writing poems at least as much as walking, riding my bike, picking berries, and kayaking; I hope that you do, too!