California Educator

November 2011

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE THANK YOU, TEACHER GLBT CONFERENCE 26 28 TEACHERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF THEIR STUDENTS EVERY DAY, BUT SOMETIMES, IT TAKES A THOUGHTFUL NOTE FROM A FORMER STUDENT TO REMIND THEM. It was one of these notes that got CTA staffer Mary McNulty thinking. Her husband, Granite Bay High School Assistant Principal Brian McNulty, had shared a letter that history teacher Brandon Dell'Orto had received in the wake of a school tragedy last spring. The note moved McNulty to suggest we do something to showcase these letters of thanks. "I don't believe that we can ever take too many opportunities to let those who have impacted us greatly, especially our teachers, know just how much we appreciate them," Mary wrote in an e-mail to the Communications Department. We agree. MANY OF US have written to our own favorite teachers or counselors or bus drivers to let them know how much they meant to us. These notes may end up tucked away in desk drawers, pasted in scrapbooks, or tacked onto a bulletin board to be read on a particularly bad day and then tucked away again. Still, they serve as tangible proof of the positive impact one person can have. These notes are worth sharing — especially at a time when shameful attacks on teachers have reached epidemic proportions. That's why we are launching the "Thank You, Teacher!" Project to remind the public — and each other — of all that educators do. Over the past several weeks, we've asked you to send in those cards and letters that keep you going. And send them in you did. You sent in "love" notes from first-graders, thank you notes from college-bound high schoolers, updates from post-grads, and letters of appreciation from grown adults who have achieved success and happiness. Beginning in this issue and over the next few months, the California Educator and the website will feature those heartfelt notes to teachers, counselors, librarians, community college faculty and education support professionals who educate and support California's students. MARGARET FUJISAWA, an educa- tion support professional who is a member of the Association of Classified Employees – Culver City, has received her share of thank- you notes in her work as a guid- ance technician at the Culver City High School College Career Center, including this one from a college- bound student: Thank you so much for all your It was just a short note. Four words. But it meant a lot to MARDIECE PATRICK, a third-grade teacher at Truckee Elementary School and a member of the Tahoe-Truckee Education Association, who sent us an e-mail that read: A student gave me a note the last day of school which ready simply, 'You changed my life.' I will never forget it, because that's why I do what I do! JONI MICALS, a special education teacher and member of the Hart District Teachers Association, has developed a cache of thank-you notes since 1975, the year she started teaching. One of her former students wrote: In the two years of you being my teacher, you helped me to control my temper better and brought my grades [up]. … Before I met you, I was any teacher's worst nightmare, but some- how you calmed me down. Before I met you, my history grades were ter- rible, but you make it fun to where I wanted to learn. 26 California Educator / November 2011 help thus far in my high school career. Already you have assisted me in ways that I haven't even imagined, opened doors that I did not know were there. I would like to take this time to show my gratitude for recommending me to receive the scholarship for Santa Mon- ica College and working tenaciously so that I could receive priority consider- ation for the Culver City Community Scholarship. There were many things that you did not have to do for me, but you went out of your way to fight for me and still continue doing so today. … You've already done more than I could ask for. T h EAn T Ck yo E a Hu R

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