Did you see the story last week about the man who sent a $10,000 check to his home economics teacher as a thank you for how she had touched and changed his life? Pretty cool, right? Don’t we all have at least one teacher in particular who really reached us? The story had me thinking and remembering back to my high school days.
I was an extremely shy girl, painfully shy. My self-esteem was very low. I had good friends, but never felt good enough. I didn’t really believe in myself. Along came Mrs. T my Junior year. She was my English/Language Arts teacher. I adored her. I don’t know she knows she’s the reason I ended up studying Literature in college. But it wasn’t just what she taught in the classroom that touched me. We kept journals in that class. Sometimes the writing was directed and we were given prompts. Sometimes, we wrote freely. She read them all, which is no small feat for one class of 30+ kids, much less 5 or 6 classes of 30+ kids. She not only read them, she commented.
Her comments in my journal gave me such courage over the course of that year. She helped me believe in myself. She showed me myself through other eyes. She was the mentor I needed. She encouraged, she prompted, she empowered. I found that journal a few years back in a box my mom had been keeping for me. I laughed and I cried as I read it. The things Mrs. T had written – they were things I would say to my daughter now, and they were things I needed to hear then.
I will never forget Mrs. T, the fun things we did in class that year. We wrote our own Canterbury Tales. We learned to (kind of) read and speak Old English (hilarious adventure by the way…you should try it). It was my favorite year of English in high school. When it came time to write my Senior Thesis in college, I chose Spencer’s Faerie Queene because she’d given me a love for it.
Mrs. T – you may never read this, but I wanted to say thank you for encouraging a young, shy, awkward girl. You gave her more than you’ll ever know.
Which teacher touched and/or changed your life?