You may remember me...or not. I'm the one who wrote passionate, page long answers to your questions like "What is your favorite book?"and "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" and you'll be happy to know that I can tie To Kill a Mockingbird into just about anything (and I did, in an essay on the AP English Language test yesterday-I'm not allowed to talk about specifics). But enough about me.
I'm here to talk about you. Collectively, you are the craziest, most passionate group of people I know. Some of you were odd balls, or just plain grumps, but I understand how teaching long enough can make you that way. You each have your quirks: one of you is afraid of hair (Journalism teacher), another of you used to teach 3rd grade math and made us play math games in class, and you, my current english teacher, are obsessed with Batman and John Keats (nicknamed Junkets). And I love you for it. Even the teachers I'm not particularly grateful for have taught me something, even if it's only, "Don't grow up to be like her."
And without you, ALL of you, I might never have discovered my love of language. The books we read in elementary school stay in my memory to this day. And the books after that, and the books after that. Harper Lee, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Alice Walker. Their voices stay with me. I can hear the words running through my mind, and what I was feeling when I read them, and what I was feeling when you talked about them in class. Your voices run together into a collective voice, at times passionate and inspiring, and at times serious, asking the tough questions, telling me to think harder than I am.
You teachers don't get much recognition. Chocolate, maybe, at Christmas time, and lots of Barnes & Noble Gift Cards. But real recognition? For everything you do? Every day, you deal with math loving *shudder* middle schoolers *shudder*. I'm sorry I never told you how I feel. I hope my love of English was evident in my writing. I hope, even in those dark ages known as middle school, that you knew I cared. You were the ones who planted the spark. The spark that makes me sit down and write every day. The spark that keeps me up to all hours of the night, reading. The spark that makes every essay a personal challenge to outdo myself, and every question like "What is your favorite book?" a dissertation.
So thanks for being there. For pushing me when I needed pushing, and praising when I needed praising. Thanks for showing up at awards ceremonies. Thanks for showing up, period. Because even if we seem like thankless slobs who can't even remember to do our homework, we will never forget you. And that's the truth.
On a loosely related note, this is what our current english teacher wrote about John Keats on out final exam review sheet:
"In order to adequately prepare for the rest of your life, you must learn to embrace John Keats [know the glorious date of his birth, know that Fanny could never deserve the greatness of his love, and know that "When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be" is his most truly awe-inspiring poem!]"
Yeah, she's cool, right? And for those of you who are interested, here is my summer reading list:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Started reading it but never finished.)
How to Read Literature like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster (Same as above.)
Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Never read. Excited about this one!)