Dear Mrs. C.,
You should know I’m still a teacher, Mrs. C. I think you had something to do with that. You should know I’m generous with my students. I expect a lot, but I listen to them. I care about them. You should know you modeled that for me. Among other things. Like patience. Like passion.
I remember how we used to eat lunch together, you at your desk, me at the one next to yours up in front of the rows of desks. I was freezing, and you were always hot. I wore long underwear every day under my clothes, and you kept the room set at 60. But now, when I look back on the months we spent together in your classroom, I don’t remember the cold. So many of my memories of living in Northern PA are steeped in a chill that made me long to live somewhere warmer, but not from 7 until 3 when you were my mentor and I was your student teacher. I had soup every day that fall. I can barely eat cans of chicken and wild rice, creamy tomato now, maybe one every six months or so. I don’t miss Progresso in my life. I do miss you.
Thank you for teaching me how to be a teacher, what it means to be a teacher, a good teacher, a great teacher. I want to be great in the classroom. I’m working on it. Every class. Each lesson plan. I’ll keep at it. For you. For my students. For my future students.
I hope you know how much you meant to me. I was a newlywed, a recent college grad, and six hours away from my family. I needed a strong, kind woman in my life. And you were so much more.