||Volume 10, Number 1, September 1997|
Teachers' Efforts Appreciated
by Brent Crich
In my first year of teaching, some students asked me to write them letters of recommendation for scholarships, post-secondary entrance, and employment. I was thrilled and honoured to be asked to take such a critical part in shaping a young person’s future. I spent over 100 hours developing, critiquing, and rewriting these letters of recommendation, and I know the students greatly appreciated my efforts. But something was missing…
I write letters about students that I really care about; perhaps those students could write letters about teachers that they really care about. The students could help shape a teacher’s future. It would be a mutually reflective and beneficial activity.
So now, when I am asked to write a letter of recommendation, I ask the student to write a letter about a teacher, any teacher from Kindergarten through Grade 12, who has had a profound influence in that student’s life. The letter doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be typed, it doesn’t have to be an essay; it just has to tell the teacher what he or she is doing right and that the teacher’s efforts are appreciated. Then I (via my local association) track down the teachers and forward the letters to them.
This sampling of letters is not designed to showcase a few individual teachers, it is just a local reflection of the great appreciation for the hard work and teaching excellence of the tens of thousands of teachers in B.C.
Keep up the wonderful work fellow teachers! I encourage you to ask your students to write letters of recommendation about teachers, as well. Receiving such a morale-boosting letter generates tremendous feelings of self-worth and professional-worth—the kind of feelings that are necessary to keep us healthy throughout our teaching careers.
Brent Crich teaches at Maple Ridge Secondary School, Maple Ridge.
Dear Mrs. Derinzy
After being in your class for two years I feel that I have gained a knowledge of English literature that has allowed me to expand my mind and thus, improve the quality of my life. I thank you for your eternal patience and understanding in your dealings with me. You have made my time in high school a more tolerable and pleasant experience. I will carry what I have learned from you with me for the rest of my life. Thank you again.
To Michele Manaigre
Hello, this is David Willis. You may not remember me but you taught me in Grade 6 at Eric Langton Elementary School several years back. I’m graduating from MRSS this year, and as I look back at all the teachers I have had over the years, you stood out in particular as one of the best.
I just wanted to let you know that you made a big difference in my school life, and that my year in Grade 6 seems to stand out as being one of the best years in school. As I move on into university now, I’ll always remember that year as being one of the highlights of school. Thank you very much.
A significant teacher in my life
I remember my Grade 6 year as being the strongest of all my years. The best part, and most influential (school-wise), was my teacher, Mme Lapierre.
Mme Lapierre was always there to support my imagination, I especially remember the one occasion where David Nilson and I wrote a story about the adventures of “ViK,” literally a novel containing many inappropriate passages but nevertheless a fine piece of literature for two 10-year-olds, both structurally and creatively. I remember my mom almost seized my paper after reading the parts about ViK’s unfortunate encounter with rhinoceros droppings and Nazi terrorists. She even put markings on the story, apologizing for my “bad taste.” But I also remember, to my great relief, getting an “A” for creativity and grammar.
I think the last effect, as a result of my year with her, was a great sense of confidence in pursuing my own academic endeavours, which prepared me for my last year at Laity View Elementary School and for my secondary-school education.
I must say again, that it was an honour and blessing being taught by Mme Lapierre in my 6th year of elementary school, and had I not been in her class and if I had not received all those opportunities, I do not think I would be the same person I am today.
Brendan Yiu Bong Wong
Through my academic years I have had many teachers, most very good. The teacher that I learned the most from taught me to look ahead so that I would be prepared. I was taught to teach myself and to be self-sufficient. He told me to never quit learning and I hope I never will. He pushed me to become responsible and I appreciated it. I was preparing for the real world—that is one of the most important lessons coming out of high school.
This teacher is Mr. McCain and I would like to thank him for his lectures, his comments, and his frustrations, from which I always learned something.
As I reflect over the education I received in the past years I recall several of my teachers that have stood out. One in particular is Mr. David Bird, my Grade 6 and 7 teacher. I believe he influenced me the most because he expected the best of what I could do and in return he wanted me to expect the best out of him. I found his teaching very informative because we not only learned inside the class, but outside.
He is an experienced outdoors man and he passed that experience to us on our field trips for skiing, hiking, cross-country skiing, etc. He had a really strong perception of the real world and he introduced it to a Grade 6 class the best way he could. For example, he brought in computers for us to use and insisted on us using them.
David Bird, I believe, is a man who feels that the school should be a place where one would want to go and enjoy being there. He truly was one of the best teachers I have had and I feel that I am not the only one who knows that.
I had the honour of having Bill McCaig as my Grade 5 teacher at Webster’s Corner Elementary School. For the year I had him as my teacher, he instilled in me a strong work ethic, a mature attitude toward school, and an interest in expanding my knowledge. Mr. McCaig was an incredible teacher and he was an inspiration to his students. He was a positive role model who his students could look up to.
Bill McCaig was a very involved teacher. He took time to ensure that every student in his class understood the lessons being learned. If any particular student was not sure of what was being taught, he would take the time to explain it one-on-one to the student. He motivated all his students and demanded they do their best.
Bill McCaig is both an outstanding teacher and a very nice man. He will always have the time to talk to you if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to have a friendly talk.