Holler at My Teachers

I keep Googling them, and nothing comes up.

Hear this: All Ye Amazing Teachers I Had the Luck to Encounter as a Youngster:

You know who you are. Your names are below. If you exist, I have this to say: THANK YOU for being a brilliant teacher. For taking this job seriously. For being a comfort and inspiration when I stare at a sea of blank 14-year-old faces, wondering what the hell I’m going to say next, wondering who I think I am trying to teach somebody something. Thank you for your honesty and flair, your humor and patience, your idiosyncrasies. For telling it like it is, for treating me like an adult, for teaching me that to let someone know you’re listening you have to look at their eyes, that to curse was unimaginative, that you have to project all the way to the back of the auditorium when you sing. You are stuck in my mind, my craw, my heart; unforgettable, true.

Mr. Martin (4th Grade: Alvin Dunn Elementary)
Bruce Altschuler (6th Grade: Alvin Dunn Elementary)
Mr. Rogers & Ms. Orahzda (Directors of the Alvin Dunn Elementary Chorus)
Nancy Cunningham (a.k.a. Elizabeth Ashworth?) (7th Grade Humanities: San Marcos Junior High School)
Mr. Smith (8th Grade American History: San Marcos Junior High School)
Mary Jane Vierra (8th Grade Communication Arts: San Marcos Junior High School)
Heidi Schipp (English: San Marcos High School)
Vicki Behrends (Drama: San Marcos High School)
Jerry Franklin (Western Civ: San Marcos High School)
Madame Heyman-Hogue (French: La Costa Canyon High School)
Ms. Afzali (P.E.: La Costa Canyon High School)

I would add Barbara Dagman (AP English Literature: La Costa Canyon High School), but she already knows it; we’re friends and colleagues now, can you imagine?

And P.S., Denise Lehr (AP English Language: La Costa Canyon High School)? If you’re listening, I’m sorry I was such a pain in the pretentious ass. I think you had us your first or second year, and we were so snotty. YOU TAUGHT ME HOW TO LOOK AT AN AUTHOR’S CRAFT. You taught me close reading with that excerpt from The Scarlet Letter, and I never looked at literature the same again. Also, you were so organized, and you did it by hand! And I loved that you had us journaling in the mornings. Your class was one of my favorites, and I was too self-obsessed to let on. Forgive me.


3 responses to “Holler at My Teachers

  1. Vicki Behrends

    Thank you, for the thank you–it reminds me of the time I left a note on MY English teacher’s desk many years after having seen him last—to thank him for his Shakespeare knowledge and his art of teaching. (Though he was the very best of all teachers on the planet). I’d love to know who you are and where and what you are teaching. VB

    • magnoliaavenue

      Vicki, it’s me, Claire Cox from SMHS 94-96 — am seeing this just now & don’t know if I ever replied! Going into my 10th year of teaching English in Brooklyn. Got an MFA in 2013 & finishing first novel. How are you? 🙂

  2. I’ve looked for Denise Lehr too. As a 16 year teacher myself, she deserves much credit. Love this venue…thanks.


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