Last week, I was talking with another teacher friend, Mme H. (prof de francais excellente!), about whether or not, when we think back to our years of school, we have that one teacher that stands out as the one who inspired us to teach, or the one that changed our lives. While I would have liked to tell her about that special teacher, I couldn't think of one. Neither could Mme H. I have had wonderful teachers in school, but the ones who have impacted me most definitely came in college. However, tonight I realized that, although she did not inspire me to teach, I was lucky enough to know one special teacher from ages 7-18, and this teacher did change my life. She was my piano teacher, Mrs. N. I was planning on writing a blog here about how special she was to me, but I think I'd rather write it as though it is a letter to her.
Dear Mrs. N.,
It's Miss Teacher, your former piano student. Do you remember me? I wanted to write you this note to tell you some exciting news: I'm going to be a teacher next year! As I've been preparing for the upcoming year, I've found myself musing over some of the great teacher's I've had in my life.
Mrs. N., while you were not my classroom teacher and I didn't see you every day, you are one of the teachers that most touched my life. After studying piano with you for ten years, I have so many vivid memories of my lessons. You made piano fun by helping me pick music I already loved and challenging me with music you knew I was capable of playing. You listened when I was frustrated with a piece. You never cringed when it was bad, but helped me improve. When I absolutely hated a piece of music, you know that sometimes it was okay to let me move on to something different--you understood that not every student needs to play the exact same thing.
Mrs. N., piano lessons with you made me fall absolutely in love with music. Music was such a defining part of my childhood and young adulthood, and I am so grateful to you for helping me develop that love early on. From Billy Joel to Broadway, Debussy to the Disney Princess Collection, you knew that by playing what I loved, I would love playing.
I have so many wonderful memories of the non-music parts of my lessons, too. You always knew when I had something special going on at home or school, and I remember excitedly showing you my pictures from Homecomings and Proms. You knew that sometimes those parts of lessons were as important as working on my music. You did what so many teachers wish they could do, or don't even know that they should: you learned who I was as a student and as a person, both accepted me and challenged me, and showed me that you cared. Mrs. N., I hope that someday I can teach my students the way you taught me. I hope that I can inspire them and share my love for learning with them, as you shared your love for piano with me. And finally, I hope that I can make my students feel as special as you made me feel every week for ten years. I will never be able to thank you enough.
With Respect, Gratitude, and Love,