Thursday, September 4, 2008

It Is Worth It

I want to share something with you and I hesitate to do so because I feel awkward about it. I am not one to 'toot' my own horn and self aggrandizing is very uncomfortable for me. But if there are others out there who are in the field of know it is a hard job.

We are driven by test scores, negative media, and demanding parents. We have kids who often times are not interested in learning and disrupt those who are. Today I was reminded again of why I get up everyday and do what I do and I hope my experience will remind you of why you to do it too. Because we truly do make a difference.

I am lazy about checking my staff mailbox and did so today for the first time since school started. I found an envelop with my name (spelled wrong) hand written on the front and a students name I had had several years ago written below it. I was stunned. Inside was a two page hand written letter. This is what it said (certain things have been changed to protect myself and her and sp corrected):

Dear Mrs. W......

I'm not sure how well your memory is of me seeing how you have had hundreds of students but I would like you to know how much of a inspiration and support you were to me in my years at M.... If you recall my life had started to go down hill 7th grade. I started to lose friends and my mother's addiction hadn't just become unbearable it also created incidents that scar me today. The reason I write you is because all the things I needed at that time I found and was given in you. You were a friend who never turned her back on me and was always true. You were the mother figure and teacher who showed me right from wrong and listened when I needed to share and gave the perfect advice when I needed to know. And most of all you made me feel loved when I needed it most. You as I said were everything I needed but also you were everything I wanted to be. You truly knew how to carry yourself. You were a bright classy witty woman with just the right amount of attitude to pull off perfection and I hope someday I am half of what you are. Thank you Mrs. W for being the best role model a girl could have.

If you didn't hear already my freshman year I left school to go into rehab for pills. And oddly enough it was the best experience I ever had. I can tell you I have 20 months clean today and the thought of you has some credit for that. I never wanted to disappoint you so I took your strong will and gave it to myself and it kept me alive. Thank you. There are no words to describe how grateful I am. Love, JE

So fellow educators...on your worst days and your best, remember this letter. This young woman was my student three years ago. I have not seen her since then. But I will remember her forever.

Thanks for letting me share.


Epijunky said...

You just inspired me to write a letter to my inspiration. My favorite HS teacher.

Even 14 years later he still leaves a mark on my head and my heart.

Jean said...

Bless her for letting you know how much you matter.
This brought tears to my eyes, I cannot imagine how it touched you.
Be proud, dear.

Brigid said...

What a wonderful display of appreciation. My best friend is a teacher, and I see all that the job entails, and how little respect mainstream public gives it.


P.S. and thanks for the note. Meant a lot. I wouldn't be surprised if we'd even lived by one another when I spent 8 years up there.
best to you,

I See You!