Sometimes, people send me emails from Jane that I like to share–they are treasures, nuggets. I’m calling this series Jane’s Diction. What is so special about the following words by Jane is that they are from an email that she sent to her daughter Sarah in 1997. Sarah is also a teacher, and I asked Sarah to share some of her mother’s words with us.
So, as you are preparing for the last day of school and looking forward to the first day of summer break, take care of yourself. You need much deserved rest. Then, reflection. Then, rejuvenation . . . . In the meantime, here are some of Jane’s words to you and for you. She was completely dedicated to her family, kids, and devoted teachers. Enjoy.
Friday, December 5, 1997
. . . you must always study what you love because it must carry you for a lifetime.
Teaching has been that for me. Every day is different, some better than others, always rewarding to talk to kids. My juniors are getting grammar better this year because I think I am doing a better job teaching it this time around. Bertrand Russell wrote that his desire to allay fear and pain (rough paraphrase) was one of the things that drove him through life–not a bad goal to have. The seniors are fearful about college admissions. The freshmen are fearful that their voices will break in the middle of reading Of Mice and Men aloud in class. The juniors are just plain fearful of me–I know I am a scary person on the outside–but they are wising up to the reality underneath. My special Study Failure class is fascinating. Now that I have my extra computer installed in my room with grades, book reports, and other stuff on it, they are more likely to drop by and sit in the chair I leave next to me to ask about their grades (a pretense in part) and just hang out. One boy is leaving the class to enter drug rehab; he is probably one of the five brightest minds I’ve had in my career, and he thinks he hides his intelligence well. I told him today that he couldn’t hide it from me, and he gave me a hug. It was a sweet moment.
All the good teachers I know and admire are Holden Caulfields. They want to catch kids before they go over the cliff. My teachers saved me in high school, and my passion is to do the same to my charges. I have always told you: the way to repay such a debt is to pass it on to the next generation. It is the only legacy that counts.
From Deborah: Remember, you matter a great deal to many people. You will never truly know the impact you have on those faces and those lives. Cherish the memories: good and bad. They all have meaning in your life. And from one teacher to another, thank you.
Note: Please feel free to send me Jane’s words to post.