A LETTER TO A FORMER STUDENT
WORKING IN THE PEACE CORPS IN AFRICA
Greetings from a teacher who is very proud of you! I just read your beautifully written article in Viewpoints, and it all brought a few tears to my eyes. You are such a good person. Of course, I knew that when you were my student, but the article just brought it all back to me -- your kindness, your sensitivity to everything, your utter dignity (including when you played the violin). Your article was the best I've read in Viewpoints for some time -- and others agree with me. It has clarity, sincerity, and grace -- and excellent writing needs no other qualities.
It brought to mind the countless splendid papers you wrote in English class, but more importantly, it brought to mind again your simple and strong goodness. It makes me very proud -- honored -- to have once been one of your teachers.
All is well here. I am actually loving my teaching more than ever (and happy to have you, now, as a colleague in this grandest of all professions). This has been one of my best years ever as a teacher. After 40+ years in the classroom, I am finally understanding some important truths -- like the fact that I truly don't know much about the mysteries
involved in trying to teach other human beings. To me, it's total rocket science. Back when I was a third-rate teacher (and, honestly, that would include when I was your teacher -- and don't try to tell me otherwise, because I know) I thought I knew all there is to know about teaching; now I know that I know almost nothing about it, and so I'm becoming a better teacher. It's a joyous process. Among other discoveries, I've found technology, which is opening wonderful new doors, but I'm also discovering simple and ancient truths, one by one. I have a long, long way to go.
I will keep you in my mind and heart, Elizabeth (or Liz, as you perhaps like to be called). I am with you in spirit as you continue the work of a warrior.