TO MY HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHERS:
This is a letter of gratitude well-earned, and long overdue. English isn’t like math, a great deal of which most people learn for a month or two and then put on the shelf forever. We know that we are going to use the language in a million different ways, for a million different reasons. I am pretty sure I have, in one way or another, used every lesson I ever received.
By the way, I kick ass at it. So thank you for being exceptional.
I’m writing about my teenage daughter. I love her with my whole heart, but we struggle to connect. It can be very disheartening to feel like you don’t know your own child.
Last night, she brought home her assigned homework. It required parent participation, so we ate dinner and got comfy on the couch.
The assignment was called a Lit Chat, I believe, and the ultimate goal was to have an informative, interesting discussion about a short piece we each separately read. The story was “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry.
I was amazed at the rarely used bits of really awesome knowledge that came right to mind. I don’t want to get too specific and bore you but I want you to know we had the loveliest conversation. There was no rushing to get through it, and she was impressed that I was still able to recognize so many components of literature. So was I.
She is incredibly difficult to impress, and you will never know what that little victory meant to me. It opened up new lines of communication. I anticipate they’ll be shut back down by morning, but now that they’ve been forged, finding them again is definitely a possibility.
I want to thank all of you, with all my heart, for teaching because you loved teaching, because it showed me how to love learning.
It is still my favorite thing to do.