Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Beth, Anna, Kathleen & Deb for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.
I have been writing a lot this summer. Part of this journey has taken me back...back to remembering where my love of writing began and who supported and encouraged this love. I'm blessed to say that the list is long, but I want to focus on two teachers who made a difference.
Miss Leone. Miss Leone was my history teacher in high school. She taught US Government. When I think back on my teachers, she always stands out! She listened to us. She talked to us, I mean really talked to us. It was the first time I felt like someone was treating me like an adult. Miss Leone got so excited, genuinely excited, about history and current events and politics. It wasn't my favorite subject, but I couldn't help LOVING it when I was sitting in her classroom.
In thinking about Miss Leone, I decided to look her up and send her an email. She is STILL teaching at the same high school. Thirty-six years of teaching! WOW!!! I graduated high school in 1989, so I had no expectation that she would remember me. She did! She remembered classmates, she remembered me coming in talking about a movie I'd seen with my dad! She talked about school and what's been going on in my hometown.
She ended her email with these words, "Let me know what else you have been up to. Your note to me shows that YOU TOO are one of those teachers that your students will not forget. Good luck with the rest of your writing workshop. Thank you again for your wonderful note. Always - Lynn Leone"
Another teacher that made a difference in my life is a professor, Professor Daly, I had in graduate school at Seton Hall University. He taught Social Studies Methods. (Hmmm, I never noticed the theme of history teachers before.) He made class interesting and interactive. He made me want to be a good teacher. I remember meeting with him in his office one day. We were discussing a piece of my writing and he said, “I can’t wait to read your book. You are such a good writer, I know you will write a book and I’ll be first in line to buy it.” Those are powerful words!
I emailed him too. Again, he was my teacher over twenty years ago, so I had little to no expectation of him remembering me. I received a response today! Here's what he said, " I am the professor you had! Thank you so much. I absolutely recall the name. Congratulations on completing your 20th year – and I still plan to buy that book! Taking the time to send these kind words is deeply appreciated. As a teacher you know from experience how much such comments mean to us. I hope that your students have been thoughtful enough to let you know how much you mean to them. If you are ever near campus, with some free time, would love to catch up over coffee. In any event, good luck at the retreat, and with that book!"
Good teachers never stop being your teachers. They are your teachers for life! Knowing that I am that for my students out there is powerful and humbling. I'm grateful for Miss Leone and Professor Daly for showing me how it's done.