To My High School Biology Teacher

4/12/12

Dear Mrs. Rubenstien,
            I hope this letter finds you well. I haven’t been back to the old high school in several years, but from what my mother tells me, things are going very well. You will be pleased to hear that I recently earned a Bachelor’s degree and have a stable job working for a landscaping company. I also do some freelance writing, when I get the chance. 
            I must convey to you my thanks for the seemingly endless pages of notes you gave our class during my two years of high school Biology. The frantic, fast paced, short hand note taking style that I developed in your class helped prepare me for my college lecture courses. Also the last minute study habits and 11th hour memorization techniques, which I perfected in your class, proved to be the critical difference between  “D+”s and  “C”s on multiple occasions. For this, I am eternally grateful.
            I’m sure you will be delighted to hear that I have also begun substitute teaching on the side for additional income. Teaching in the public schools has stretched me in many ways, not the least of which is a new found, deep respect to your dedication to teaching high school students for all of these years. Lord only knows how you’ve maintained your sanity throughout, but I’m sure that there is a special place in Heaven for people like you.
         I must make a long overdue concession. In high school, while I was feeding my dreams of becoming a writer, I often asked myself (usually as I was cramming for a section review) “When will I ever need to know this stuff?”
         This question has been answered. Several weeks ago, I was called in to substitute teach Jr. High Biology. I was expected to help the students with their homework and answer any questions they might have. So, to be equipped to do my job, I got to the school early and began frantically reviewing the previous days assignment and the lesson for that day. It is a unique form of humility that one acquires while cramming before class when you are the one teaching the material. The class went well for the most part; I didn’t give to many incorrect answers (Those tough biology questions are a heck of a lot easier when you’re holding the answer key).
            So yes, you win Ruby. It didn’t even take that long for me to find out that, yes, I did in fact need to know some of this stuff. I hope that you will take this admission graciously and will not rub it in my face too harshly should our paths cross again.
            Best wishes for the present school year. Keep pushing the notes and remind your students that they should really pay attention, because they never know what adventures await them after high school or what they’ll wish they remembered after the tests are finished.
                                                                                                                                Sincerely,
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                              Andrew S.
                                                                                                      
P.S. Is it too late to come in for an extra study session? The 8th grade has a big test coming up and I want to be ready…just in case.