in the collection
A letter to a Teacher
Comments from Annie: Many teachers wrote very moving comments when they signed The Petition. Many more have followed up with moving, heartfelt, longer letters about their experiences with NCLB.
While I wrote this letter to one special, very courageous teacher who took the time to write a very moving letter, I dedicate this reply to all of you: the teachers everywhere who are hanging on by their toenails, suffering the opression, and suffering from the destructive policies of NCLB.
Thank you for everything you do. Please join our efforts to stop the re-authorization of NCLB.
Dear Wonderful Teacher:
I don't know who you are or where you live. But I understand your words and have heard these words, more times than I can count, from teachers everywhere across the country.
Thank you for sharing your nightmare with us. Your words cut through my soul. I want you to know how much I admire your courage and agree with your outrage. I also want you to know that I understand your fears and know they are real.
I read your words at our dinner table tonight with a choking knot in my throat. My 14 year old daughter who lives and shares your same horrors, from the opposite perspective, every day in her school, listened intently. After we discussed the many horrors you detailed, and found many parallel incidents and situations that matched our experience to yours, we knew we had to write to you.
From my daughter comes the following message: "Thank you." She says she wants you to know that she sees that her teachers do not do what they do in the classroom by choice. Her heart breaks for you. She knows that you want to do something more for your students. She knows that it hurts you that you can't. She does not blame you for feeling scared. She says that she wants to thank you because she believes in who you are and that your intentions are important and honorable. She shares your sadness. She wanted, above all, for you to feel her gratitude. She believes that teachers are wonderful people and she revels in your dedication and devotion. Please accept her thanks.
I want to thank you too. My daughter says that teachers never hear those words and that they need to hear and feel them now more than ever. Thank you for caring about your students, and for taking the time to understand who they are and how they grow. Thank you for seeing them, even under these horrific circumstances, as individuals. And thank you for sharing in their sadness when everything has changed so dramatically for them at school, and they are no longer identified as children with many more variety of needs, potentials, abilities, and interests than NCLB addresses.
We are working very hard, for hours on end, and will continue to, to help make these horrors known and stop the destructive path of NCLB. The policies and oppressive tactics that keep you frightened and that keep these stories hidden are wrong minded and dangerous. We will do everything we can to help you to gain back your own professional identity. We will struggle with you to stop the harm being done to our children. We will do that for you and never ask you to reveal yourself to us. Just know that we are fighting for you.
You have our support, we share your outrage, and we agree with you that this is a living hell.
Please know that we care very deeply.
Our best and our heartfelt thanks to you for writing this compelling letter and the tragic truth about the ravages in the classroom under NCLB.
Anne E. Levin Garrison
INDEX OF THE EGGPLANT