Dear Mr. A,
Wow, has it been this long? It’s hard to believe that it has been two years now since I graduated high school. Honestly, it feels like a lifetime ago because so much has happened since then. I am in this class titled “Writing in Disciplines” and I am learning how to be an Ally as a teacher (yes, believe it or not I am still pursuing this, and yes I will still probably become your administrator before you become mine). I didn’t immediately think of you when I thought of an ally, but as I unpacked what an ally is and how to be one to your students, your name definitely came up. It feels cheesy writing you this letter, but is it apart of our assignments, and you might receive this in the mail – but I just want to let you know how much I appreciated, and still appreciate your commitment to your students, especially me, in the last few months of my senior year.
As I am sure you recall, a lot happened in those few months, to which I moved to Colorado, and you changed school districts. There was way too much political turmoil, but amongst this turmoil you chose to stay with your students and teach them rightly rather than abandon us. I easily became involved in the political turmoil because I could see the injustices happening to you as a teacher and to myself as a student. I was curious, and I wanted something to change because it wasn’t right. And you supported me. You allowed me to be curious, and you chose to include me rather than exclude me. You treated me as an equal and I cannot express enough how much that meant to me. You didn’t degrade me as a student, instead you welcomed my opinions, my curiosity, and my political activism.
This was so incredibly important to me at this time, and I don’t think I really recognized this until now. I could be honest with you and express my frustrations, and even be devious because, let’s face it, being devious was fun because it was like we had nothing to lose.
It was hard to learn that you were switching districts, but I know it was for the best. There was way too much happening in that school that was stupid and even illegal, and it fell on you as a teacher. But you remained an ally to me. You remained a safe place where I could express my frustrations and my victories. I couldn’t put a word to it then, but I can see now that you were an ally to me, and to my fellow classmates. You remained honest with us and you didn’t hold anything back because you saw us as adults. You treated us like acting members in society, because we were, and you have helped shape my view on education and teaching in an amazing way. Students are worth everything in education, and you fought for us and fought for yourself.
I am grateful that I had the honor of attending one of your classes. I am honored to say that you impacted my life. You care about your students, more than just the material you teach. You also teach them how to behave, how to defend themselves, how to be aware, and how to actually be a functioning adult. You were an ally for me, and, I’d like to say, a genuine friend. I know you will continue to impact your students as you have impacted me.
By the way, I am doing amazing. School here is phenomenal, and I still have my voice and I still lead out other people in organizations here. I have the most amazing community here through my church, and I am exploring the world through mission trips. I will be in Mongolia this summer. You have helped me get to this point where I can say that I have made it past all of the crappy events in high school. It was crazy, but it didn’t weigh me down because you taught me how to respond, and remain aware, and how to defend myself.
You’re amazing, which I am sure you know. Thank you for choosing to run towards your students and support them, rather than turn away. Your commitment to your students is seen. Thank you for seeing me.
Your AP Calc Student,