In the future, whenever I question myself, my pedagogy, my lessons, my reasons for teaching, I will revisit this email I found in my inbox this morning. This is why I teach. This is why I advocate for choice. This is why I advocate for readers-writers workshop every chance I get:
Hello Mrs. Rasmussen,
There’s a good chance you won’t remember me, but it’s NK from your AP English class…two years ago. I’m now in my second semester of UT Austin as a biochemistry major, but I continue to find myself thinking about how deeply indebted I am. Your class got me excited to read and discover new books. I lose track of time while studying until the sun comes up, and I forget to eat as often as I forget to water my plants, but I still find comfort in books– I look forward to reading even on an unforgiving schedule. I’m grateful for the freedom of choice you allowed us, and I’m grateful for how understanding you were as a passionate teacher and book enthusiast. Your passion for getting students to read at their own interest was so intense and pure that it inspired me to soak myself longer and deeper in this vast sea of literature. Both your willingness to give us the chance to grow as readers and your swelling collection of books played massive roles in my newfound appreciation, and I just wanted to tell you,
I have an essay due in a few hours, but while I was reading an article on middle eastern warfare, my mind wandered and started to reminisce about The House in the Sky (I think I finished it in three days over winter break), and of course, that reminded me to finally write to you about my overflowing admiration, appreciation, and gratitude. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging me as a student and reader. I have no doubt your current and future students will feel the same. Again, thank you, thank you, and thank you.