Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Saying Thank You!

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.

13 comments:

  1. What a story you have of writing and memories. I smiled from ear to ear because as you know, we DO remember some of our students LONG after they are our of our rooms. We OFTEN wonder what happens to them as they go through life.
    PS I TOO can
    t wait to read your book!

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  2. I have been teaching so long now that these letters are coming to me. I had a student find me on Facebook and write the sweetest thing about how I changed her life by caring for her. These letters are important. I'm glad you are writing them.

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  3. 'Good teachers never stop being your teachers. They are your teachers for life!' Such powerful words and a wonderful post. Thank you!

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  4. I love how exciting it is at (no matter what age or year of teaching) to hear from our former educators! Thanks for sharing your story!

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  5. I suspect you made a huge difference in the lives of those two teachers this week, Michelle. It's just great that you took time to seek them out and write them. And of course, that you remembered them so fondly, and that they wrote back shows they are still those wonderful teachers. Love hearing this!

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  6. Thank you for modeling thoughtful blogging for all of us! I am going to lift this topic for a post of my own; I remember my "difference-making" teachers so well.

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  7. I ran into both of my most influential middle school teachers within the span of 5 minutes a couple of years ago while visiting my hometown. I was able to tell them that I am a middle school teacher and thank them for everything. It was serendipity!

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  8. Oh, this spring I wrote a note to my most influential teacher--Mr. Bauer, French I, II, and III--and just received the sweetest note back. It's amazing how teachers' words continue to influence and inspire us.

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  9. What a lovely action you took to send these notes.

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  10. What a great gift you gave your former teachers. They clearly saw so much in you. And, by the way, history teachers rock!

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  11. I love that notion. I hope my students think of me as their teacher for life, too.

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  12. That's so wonderful, to connect with people from the past! These two teachers were special to you, and many others, I imagine. I'm sure your students feel the same about you! I want that book, too! Get it done! LOL Jennifer Sniadecki

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  13. I found myself smiling through this whole post. How wonderful that you took the time to write those letters! Receiving them had to make their day. I'm guessing that you'll be getting those letters too, from your own students. :)

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