Dear Mrs. Shortell,
I can’t believe you’re retiring. Geez, it’s been about 11 years since I was in your second grade class. Our class was a good bunch. But you were great.
You taught me a lot. Yes, majority of it was academic. But more than that. You taught me to always want to be myself. I’m not sure if my mom ever told you, but in first grade my teacher would scold me in front of my classmates, having them stand in line waiting to go to recess as she told me that I needed to color in only one direction. There were times she’d take me to my mother’s class and tell me she was a neat as a tack, why couldn’t I be like her? I never really had an answer. But you did. To you, I was being me. You’d tell my mom how great my work was and when she brought up the same concerns my previous teachers had made her aware of, you would counter argue that there was more the assignment than how pretty it looked. My work was good.. just in its own way.
In my graduation card, you wrote how you remember how I was sweet and thoughtful, which I’ve been told before. But one thing I had never been called was creative. Everyone associates those terms to my mother and my brother. I mean my mom always has a project, and my bother is a film geek. I never thought of myself as creative. But again, you reminded me, I am good.. just in my own way.
In middle school, I had a horrible self-esteem. Usually kids with bad self-esteems just want to be like everyone else. I was different, I always wanted to be myself. Looking back, I never got how I was like that. I know now, you taught us that year that no matter who we were, what we did, where we went, we were all good.. just in our own way. That there no else worth trying to be because in your eyes were some of the most amazing kids in the world.
Thank you, Mrs. Shortell for teaching me that I should never strive to be “good enough” because I am good.. just in my own way. Thank you for always being fun and loving. Thank you for being so much more than just a teacher.
Enjoy your retirement, you truly deserve it.