An Open Letter To My Former Teachers

To All My Former Teachers Who Totally Rocked It,

How can I thank you enough for not only instilling in me a love of learning, but also for setting an amazing example of what it means to be a truly gifted teacher.  In my own classroom, I have always strived to make my little friends feel about learning the way you made me feel.  I’m not sure that many of you even know who Mrs. Mimi is, or if you do, what you think of her frequent use of the word “douche” and many references to pee.  I hope she makes you proud – because, despite her saucy ways, she loves teachers.  And she loves them because of you.

I cringe when I think of my former student self- definitely not always fabulous.  I mean, I was a good student and rarely got in trouble but those glasses!  That hair!  Those pegged pants with Eastlands….ugh!  I think perhaps worst of all is that I have now realized that I was the type of student who today would drive me a bit nutty.  The goody-two-shoes, always-wants-to-help-the-teacher and (gasp!) stay-inside-during-recess to work on special projects kid.  (Nerd alert!)  Let me just apologize now for showing up at your door during lunch.  If only I had known how precious those child-free moments of your day truly are.

Some of my best memories are of the amazing projects you enabled me to do…and dream of being able to find the time for with my own friends some day.  I remember burying all those “common elementary school trash items” in our Garbage Garden and waiting with anticipation for the day when we could dig all it all up and see what had happened after a few months.  (Yes, at one time, Mrs. Mimi didn’t mind the dirt.)  I remember planning the first and only Pet Show at our elementary school and writing a fourth grade friendly guide on pet care.  I think it was during those days that I developed my obscene obsession with all things Post It and my love of list making. 

I also remember (and probably owe you a belated apology for) the day when we threw wet globs of toilet paper on the ceiling of the bathroom so that they would dry and fall on some poor, unsuspecting child.  (Come to think of it, I probably owe all the recipients of that little prank an apology too…) Oh!  And I’m sorry for throwing a raw egg against the bulletin board in sixth grade when we were in the midst of that Take-Care-Of-An-Egg-For-A-Week-Project.  But, truth be known, a boy in our class, who shall remain nameless, dropped my egg (named Henrietta….genius, right?) on the ground ON PURPOSE, so really, you see, I had no choice.  However, I do feel badly about ruining a perfectly good bulletin board now that I know what a pain in the behind they are.

And to the best teacher EVER and one I’ve been lucky enough to see in action, Big Mama Mimi.  If only all teachers could be as big a rock star as you are…


P.S. – Now, all of you, promptly take yourself out for a fabulous cocktail.  You deserve it!

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  • So, in the spirit of Teacher Appreciation Week, I wanted to comment not specifically on this post but on the blog in general. I've been following via Google Reader for a little while now, and this is one of the teacher blogs that really makes my day a little better. You make me so nostalgic for the third-graders I student-taught, and for all the campers I taught in my 10 years of rocking out at various summer camps. You help me keep a sense of perspective, and I am in awe of your organizational mastery, since I have triaged some of that out this year in favor of gaining some classroom management mastery as a first-year HS teacher. (But the former stage manager in me longs to get back to lists and files!) I am super-excited for the book-blogging project, especially since I JUST re-read The Egypt Game, like, this week.

    In short, thanks for the blog–although I don't have time to post often, I thought this would be a good time to chime in.

    May 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm
  • Thanks for reminding us that we (the public schools, the teaching profession) have a history.

    Our teaching style and attitude have a lot to do with our own experiences as students.

    I was not the goody-two-shoes, wanting to please everyone type of student…which is why I spent the last 20 years of my career working with kids who couldn't sit still…who didn't know where their homework was (assuming they even did it)…and who thought they were stupid because they "couldn't learn like the other kids."

    I hope I was as good for them as my teachers were for me.

    May 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm
  • Stu – you're right. We take our experiences from school with us when we enter the classroom. That's why we need as many rock stars as possible in the classroom, not people who fear for the jobs and test scores.

    Jesse (insert me running to get the tissues),
    Thank you so much for what you wrote. It meant so much.

    May 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm
  • Check out my post at

    Gave you the Sunshine award for always making me laugh when I read your blog! Thanks!

    May 8, 2010 at 9:57 pm
  • Thanks Mrs. B! I enjoyed your blog – all those boys…sounds pretty fabulous!

    May 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

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