I have been “away” working on a variety of campaigns and other political stuff-and-such over the last month and have neglected this poor little blog for too long. So it was kind of a nice surprise to receive an email from Mr Ewen, a friend who also happens to be a Surrey teacher. He asked if he could do a guest post for me because of an email he had received. Here is his guest post;
I woke up Friday morning, I hadn’t slept well and I wasn’t feeling too encouraged about either teaching or the pending job action. I was feeling down. I picked up my iPad and checked my email, like I do most mornings, and this is what I read,
Hi, Mr Ewen,
I hope you remember me, I was in your 2005-2006 class at ———–. That seems so long ago. Still, every time I hear about the BC Teacher’s strike, though, I still manage to think about you and that class.
Nobody quite prepares a shy, immigrant girl about the brutality of being twelve. I am so grateful that I had the blessing of being in your class during those times. I remember one lunch period when I walked past you in the halls and you stopped and told me what a bright girl I was and how you felt lucky to have me in your class. I remember how much brighter my day became, and how wonderful it felt to hear something so positive when everything in my life seemed so negative.
Since your class, I’ve moved around a lot. My parents’ business ventures took me to —— first, then to ———. Now, somehow, I’ve settled smack dab in the middle of ——— and have spent the past year here. Add the schools I attended before —————– to the ones I’ve attended since then and I can confidently say that I’ve probably met hundreds of teachers. Out of those teachers, you are one of the first to come to mind when hearing about the strikes or writing an essay about a life-changing person. Because you were the teacher who first exposed to me to international issues like what’s happening in Israel and Palestine, who read my short story out loud to the class, who taught with such passion that I still remember many lessons vividly.
Some of those lessons, especially the ones involving global topics, have left a strong impression. I’m graduating in less than four months(!!!!!!!) and I plan on attending University of ————- campus and majoring in political studies. In high school, I’ve been actively involved in Human Rights Club, Multi-Cultural Club, and the Gay-Straight Alliance, along with French Club, Student Government, Leadership, Choir, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Drama. It’s a long list, but I go for everything with passion because I believe in myself. I can honestly say that whether I’m speaking in a school assembly about bullying issues or auditioning for the lead role in the school production, the words you told me when I was an awkward twelve year old always flash through my brain and the bliss I felt then comes surging back to me. I get this amazing sense of empowerment every time I think of it. I know how cliche and dramatic this sounds, but you really did change my life, Mr. Ewen. In your class, I never felt stupid or silly saying anything, and you were probably the only teacher who didn’t make me feel awful for my absolute incapability of keeping my desk clean. (I feel as though too many recesses were gone to waste cleaning out my desk- they certainly didn’t teach me any organizational skills. Plus, my room may resemble a post-nuclear war zone but my grade 12 average is 96%.)
I meant to write you a short e-mail, but this turned out to be more of a pouring-my-heart-out-essay. Maybe I should’ve just tweeted you! 🙂 I just wanted to thank you for being such an incredible person and teacher, who not only taught me basic biology and fractions but to believe in myself, as well as others. I hope you are doing well.
PS: Every time I make a connection, I still think to myself, “I just got smarter.
So I started to reflect on my “job.” And I once again reminded myself that this is so much more then just a job. Now I know that there are folks out there that will mock this and some will claim that the letter itself is bogus, but every teacher I know out there, will recognize this letter. They will recognize the moment when a student “gets it,” whatever it is, that look of recognition that we all really live for. That may or may not be a curricular understanding, as often as not it is a life understanding or a conceptual growth, and not just a piece of information to be remembered all too briefly. That is why so many teachers feel so passionately. This is what makes this more than worth getting up every morning for, this is really what it is all about.
I am proud to be able to say that I am a teacher.