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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Open Letter - To My Teacher

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Dear Otamay,

I'm not sure if you would even remember me, but I hope that you would. I was one of your students at Summit Valley School, back in the days when you were still teaching in eastern Washington. I wanted to write to thank you for the influence you had on me when I was just a young boy. You were one of the best teachers I ever had—and I have thought about you many times over the past years of my life.

I still remember the day I first saw you—you had come to the school and were talking to Mrs. Cornwall in the back of the room. When I heard that you were going to take her place partway into the school year, I was mortified, and that first little while having you as a teacher was hard for me…but as time progressed I loved having you as a teacher. You had a remarkable ability to manage a room full of fourth, fifth and sixth graders at the same time in that two-room schoolhouse, giving us each the time we needed. It was you, Otamay, who helped me learn division, it was you who had faith I could learn fractions and wouldn't give up on me until I was able to do them on my own. Even at times when I tried to cheat on my timed tests by just scribbling answers, you and Miss Blue wouldn't let me get away with it but checked my times tests each time.

I will never forget how you made otherwise mundane afternoons into something magical. I loved it when you read us stories, and it was from you that I gained a deep appreciation and love of literature. I have since been an avid reader since elementary school and have encouraged all of my students to do the same. It was because of you that I discovered wonderful books like James and the Giant Peach, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of N.I.M.H. among many others.

The years have fled since the days that I was a young boy in your classroom, and I look back at those memories from so long ago…it is those memories of a teacher who took and made the time to make a childhood more wondrous, and helped me to realize that there is still magic in the world. It was this (and other things) that helped me decide what I wanted to do with my life when I grew up.

I wanted to teach.

I just wanted you to know that I graduated college and pursued a master's degree; I have since become a teacher. I have been a teacher now for twelve years, and have had hundreds of students pass though the doors of my classroom.

In closing I just wanted to thank you for everything that you've done for me, and I wanted to let you know something else...I felt a real connection with you when you would pull out your guitar in the afternoons and have us all sit on the floor and sing songs I will never forget. It is because of this that I learned how to play guitar and have played many of the same songs we used to sing. My students absolutely love them! I read many of the same books you read to me, but most importantly, I care about my students just as you cared about me.

I hope that this letter finds you well and that you can understand why I am writing it. I just felt that it was important for me to thank you for being such a vital part of my life.

Thanks again for everything.



Sue said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if she somehow came across this letter?

But even if she doesn't, I think you have (in a way) thanked every teacher with this post.


diane rene said...

what a great post!

I had the opportunity to go back and visit my favorite elementary school teacher about 12 years ago. She was still teaching at the same school and she even taught my oldest daughter.

if you can share it with her personally, I think that's wonderful. teachers (and coaches) really do touch lives

Natasha said...

Thank you. I must be hormonal or something today because I cried while reading this...on my lunch break at work.

Every once in a while when I go back home, I run into my 2nd and 3rd grade teacher. She still remembers me, all these years later and we share a big hug. She was the best.

I think often, teachers touch more lives than they even realize.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I am sure your teacher would be beaming if she received this letter...There are only a 'few' good teachers it seems and it looks like u were lucky enough to have this lady.

jayniemoon said...

No doubt you'll be receiving similar letters on many of your students' blogs (or whatever new media technology has made available) as they, in turn, decide to teach because of how you taught them.

Rachel said...

Jayniemoon's comment is pretty much what I was going to say. Wouldn't it be incredible if all children had teachers like you?

You're an amazing teacher. There is no question of that! Good luck this year. New adventures await!

Corine said...

*sniffle *sniffle... don't ask me why; I don't know. That was so sweet. Appreciation is a great blessing in this wonderful world. :)

PS You sure kept me blog hopping today, Jason! It's been fun! :D

PPS I have been thoroughly reminded today (by a great teacher... I presume ;) that I need to get ready for school. I wish I could read everyone else’s blogs today, but the job of teaching is calling out to me. Thanks! TTFN!
Corine :D

T said...

having just written to an old teacher last week (and it wasn't sweet and mushy like yours, just a howdy and a "what was that again") and having received a very nice response... I'm realizing how nice it is to let people know the impact they made...

only a handful of former students have found me, but I cherish each note from them! (and in defense of those who haven't found me... really, they were in K-garten... I'll be lucky if they remember my name, they'll never be able to spell it!)

tiburon said...

What a sweet tribute! I like to think we all had at least one great teacher. Mine was Mr McDougall. he was the best!

Jenny said...

Really great letter. The teacher who made the most difference in my life, was Ms.Murray from High School.

Farscaper said...

This brings to mind a bumper sticker on my roommates VW bug. It use to be the car her dad drove to work. He was a school teacher for many years. The bumper sticker said:

"I touch the future, I teach."

How true that is. Teachers (school, church, parents etc..) all have the chance to influence a child for life. What a great thing to be.

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