Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dear Students (Day 26)

To my first college class in Alaska:

I was scared to death to fail, but I was even more scared not to try. So much you would never know was on the line: my self-esteem, my confidence in latent abilities I was afraid I'd lost forever (or at least for a while), my earning potential, my husband's view of me. In my mind, all were riding on how well I did as a teacher.

How well would I teach you how to write about literature? Could I teach a classroom of military professionals and self-professed nonfiction readers how to appreciate poetry, short stories, and Shakespearean tragedy? I may not have succeeded with every one of you - a couple of you were really tough nuts - but I think I won over a few others of you - the ones who laughed at my jokes, who teased me a little bit, who liked that I cared.

Thank you for sticking with me, for showing me that yes, I've still got it - the teaching part of me I gave up five years ago to follow my husband and where I was not able to find a teaching position. Where I thought I lost the teacher-me, traded in on the coach-me. Thank you for letting me make mistakes (way too many for my own standards), and for giving me a little grace as the new-to-Alaska girl. Thanks for the tips and the advice, for laughing with me about the butchered moose, and for being concerned about my hearing.

I hope I gave you the useful tools, and I pray you are able to complete your next classes well and successfully.

Mrs. R


Dana Portwood said...

Dear Pattie,
You are amazing. Anytime you doubt that let me know because I'll be happy to repeat it loud and long. Thank you for sharing your new-to-Alaska life with me. I'm loving every vicariously adventurous moment of it.
I love you.

Most Sincerely,
Dana P.

Beth said...

I like what Dana said. I think you are pretty great too!