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A Beautiful Letter from a Former Student

April 23, 2015

In the week prior to graduation, one of my colleagues has her senior English students write a thank-you letter to a teacher of his or her choosing.

Today, I received one of those letters. It reads as follows:

Dear Dr. Schneider,

My junior year I took your STAR teaching academy course. I knew before I stepped foot in the class that I did not want to be a teacher. I figured it would just be an easy course, something to boost my GPA, but it became so much more than that.

Throughout that year I learned so much about the school system and the changes that needed to be made. This was during a time where I was deeply interested in politics, and being able to learn the political side of education really caught my attention. It made me want to make a change.

You also taught, whether you meant to or not, one of the most important lessons of life. You taught, or rather showed me the necessity of passion and conviction. Throughout the course my appreciation for teachers grew, because I was able to see the passion and care they had for their job and their students. When a great teacher is in front of the class a fire can be seen and in that you can see how happy he is in that job.

I knew I didn’t feel that fire for teaching, but because of you I learned that in order to be truly happy, I needed to feel that fire for something. When I felt that fire, that passion I followed, and it led me to where I am now. This fall I will be majoring in psychology and following my true passion. Thank you for the lesson Dr. Schneider.

Your gracious student,


What a treasure that letter is to me.

lillies                                                From my garden, April 4, 2015


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication June 12, 2015.

CC book cover

  1. That is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it, and for helping to instill such values in our youth.

  2. That’s pretty awesome. Good for you.

  3. John permalink

    The rewards of teaching

  4. Making a difference…that’s why we do what we do!! :-))

  5. 2old2tch permalink

    Chills down my back; tears in my eyes.

  6. Laura chapman permalink

    And today at 80 I too had a version of this from a savvy teacher who keeps in touch and a former of student of mine. Today’s gift from her was a transcript someone made of governor Kaisch desperate attempts to say something about the common core, PARCC, curriculum, who should be inventing the next Google and PayPal, who should be in charge of education and then something about Bobby Jindal. Sad and hilarious gibberish.

  7. I would love to hear more about that course–I’m assuming it was a high school course, and listed as an English credit? For years I have thought how cool it would be to develop and teach a course (high school or even earlier) on the history of education (including philosophy, politics, economics, different forms and traditions), but didn’t know if that kind of thing would fit into the curriculum or maybe seen as too controversial, or just not as valuable as “the basics.”

    • Hi, Toes. The teaching academy course is one that was developed (and valued) prior to corporate reform taking over in the governor’s mansion and the state department of education. I no longer teach the course– which was for its own credit, not English. The course still exists (the teacher in charge of internships now has it), but enrollment is low, and I am needed to teach an extra section of English II.

  8. Congratulations Mercedes. How fortunate for this student and all the others who have had you as their teacher. How lovely for you to know that you’ve touched so may lives.

    And now, although I’d like to stay in this positive place, I must ask you if you have seen the April 27th issue of Time Magazine? In it the current 100 Most Influential People are chronicled.

    On page 62 Kira Orange Jones is written about by Walter Isaacson. I would love to get your views on what he says about college graduation rates and ACT scores. It’s clear that results from Orleans Parish are included in the statistics given. And the way Isaacson blends “public-charter-choice” makes it appear once again that the Charters have been successful. Plus, he does not reveal that many are for -profit. I would like to write in response to Time but am not the expert, you are.

  9. There is no amount of money that can replace feedback like this.

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