In 1983, while I was in my junior year in high school, I was struggling with problems both in the school and at home. While I became stronger and was fitting in by being involved, there were many times when I just wanted to give up on life. I was taking a chemistry class, and each of the first three marking periods, even though I tried hard, I was always a couple of points from passing. Robert M., my teacher, was always there for me, helping me to get my grades up and being there to talk to me. Even though I never told him of problems I was facing, he knew things were going on and he encouraged me.
Through his persistence, I was able to get a passing grade on the last marking period and I passed the final with an 80. His belief in me helped me resolve the issues I was facing and I became a stronger person. In the middle of my senior year, my parents moved from Long Island and I went on with my life. I realized that I had never thanked my teacher, who I considered to be a friend. For a while I was never sure if I would ever get a chance to thank him since I hardly get back to Long Island and I did not know what his address was. However, last spring I got the chance. I spent several weeks searching the Internet and I found his address on whitepages.com. There was the small chance that this was not the same person or that he had moved. I took the chance and wrote a letter to him thanking him. And he replied back touched by my letter
Yours is a very heartwarming story and one which I am delighted you chose to share with us. It only takes one person such as your Robert M to make a difference to a young person's life. I am so glad he chose you:) Thank you so much
His kindness made me a stronger person...made me more confident and a harder worker
2007-2008, my freshman year of high school at a brand new school in a new zone where I knew nobody, I had an English 1 teacher named Mrs. Deville. She was a very eccentric lady, with a laugh that even a gremlin would love. She was obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe, and by the time I got to her class I had already read through a book of his works. I had never met a teacher that actually loved Poe as much as I did. In fact, most teachers would grimace when I would mention that he was my favorite writer.
She had this way of making complex works of literature make complete sense. She was perfect at making everything relevant so that we understood what was going on. She even had a Shakespearean Insult class, where we would go through and talk about the insults throughout Shakespeare's works. When it came to creative writing, she was The Queen. As our final project, she made everyone create a creative writing portfolio. She encouraged all of us to be ourselves through our writings. She didn't want to see some made up, flowery language. She was ok with curse words in our writings, because after all, they are modern ways to express strong emotions in writing. My portfolio was delightfully demented of course, full of vampires, zombies, dying lovers, and my emo side. She loved it, and I ended up making her a copy.
Mrs. Deville pushed us all to think about literature differently, but she also made us see ourselves and helped us realize that we are beautiful no matter what. This really helped me when I came out at gay three years later. Unfortunately, her cancer that she was silently fighting when she taught me metastasized and took her in 2010. Every time I pick up a pen and write something, I think of her and the look in her eyes when she would read Poe to us, or when she was dissecting a great work of literature with us.
She was the most influential teacher I ever had, and to this day she inspires me to be myself. I know she would be proud of who I have become, and I hope she enjoys my writings as I travel for graduate school!
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