In the Lou

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 05 2008

Don’t forget to write

I admit that the text messaging and quick-fire emails in my life has allowed me to adjust to a significantly truncated style of communication in order to get through my days. But this week I was reminded three times the value of taking time to write.

Retired and traveling
Having trained as a journalist in college, I can say that my experiences with my journalism teacher in high school were formative. We have stayed here-and-there in touch — enough such that she knows what, how and why I’m involved in education. I had recently emailed her with “I need to write, don’t let me forget.” Needless to say, I forgot, but she wrote me. It was so nice to be able to hear from her and hear how she is doing now that she has retired. She told me about traveling, she told me about grandchildren, she told me about how many papers she graded last year before retiring (1,976… high school English assignments). I just finished writing her back. It was a sickeningly long email all about me, but it was good to be able to share what I’m doing with her and do so in a personal way.

Going places, I hope
One of my students is currently eligible to attend the very prestigious John Burroughs School. She asked me to be one of her two recommenders. This student is one who I would have no reservations about making a recommendation. While is she is not leading our school in academics, she has the very clear determination and resolve to make something of herself. After receiving my recommendation letter, the student wrote me a thank you note. Inside she, of course, thanked me, but she shared with me her ambitions to become a medical doctor. She took the time to share with me — through writing.

A postcard from home

Yesterday, before going to the art fair being held in my neighborhood, I checked my email. I found a note from my 8th grade English teacher! I was floored, to say the least. As a teacher I can attest to how the students flood by. There are so many, and I get new ones each year. While I, of course, remember this teacher, the fact that my interactions with her nearly ten years ago still remain clear enough that she would not only write but reference some of the things I did while in middle school is really special. It was funny that the way she found me was by doing a Google search for my name. This definitely validates the time I take to ensure I am clearly identifiable on the Internet and also emphasizes the need for me to make sure I continue to update that information! Much like the high school journalism teacher, it is so thrilling to share with them how they helped make me into what I became.

The point here is that I’ll try and be better about writing. I recognize that there are several people that I know and don’t know who read my blog. I should take the time to write and share what’s going on.

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a Teach for America science teacher in St. Louis

St. Louis
Middle School

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