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.