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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dear Ms. Anglin - An Open Letter to my Grade 12 English Teacher.

Dear Ms. Anglin,

Twenty-one years ago you were my grade 12 English teacher.  You never chose me when I raised my hand to share my poems, my short stories, or my thoughts.  You consistently gave me terrible marks without any words of encouragement or offers of help.  You almost failed me on the final exam and our final major project. You gave me the lowest grade I ever received in an English class. You tried to make me think that I was an imperceptive reader and an uninspired and disorganized writer. You tried to make me think I stunk at English.

Maybe it's because I was so brilliant that it intimidated you.  Or maybe its because I wasn't male-or more specifically, Michael Greenwood, who was clearly your favorite and whom we all suspected you had a crush on.

You were a terrible teacher.  And you were wrong about me. And I knew it...even back then.

I got A's all through university in English.  I've worked as head of children's books at Chapters, in publishing, and even became an English teacher.  An amazing English teacher. Because of my "terrible" writing, I've won blenders, books, and movie tickets. I've had letters published in magazines and newspapers. I've been interviewed on TV and radio.  I get paid to write.

Some people even like my writing so much that last week, they sent me to France to write about it. 

France.  As in Paris.  As in the same place F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and Sylvia Plath went to write.

I guess some people don't think I suck at writing.

So Ms. Anglin, how do you like them apples?

Respectfully yours,

Cayla Hochberg
writer






7 comments:

  1. This is the best blog post EVER.

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    1. Thanks, Vicky. I'm sure I can't be the only high-school underachiever/writer out there. In fact, I remember reading about Stephen King's English teacher scolding him for not being more versatile.

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  2. Great post. Bet that wine tasted extra sweet.

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  3. Did you go to YMCI? Is this the same Miss Anglin who told me that as an immigrant I might become bilingual, but that my English will never be idiomatic? I'm working towards my MFA in creative writing now!

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    1. Yup, YMCI. Definitely the same Ms. Anglin. While I'm sorry for your experience, it's comforting to know I wasn't the only one.

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  4. It was so long ago that I suppose it is better to forger about it. Now you are a good writer and you can proud of yourself! You know as about me, after I ordered several times essays on this site 99papers.com I decided to enter writing courses and improve my writing skills.

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  5. Wow, definitely not the experience I had with Ms. Anglin! As an ultimate underachiever I found her supportive, helpful, and encouraging. She pushed me to be a better student, a better writer, a better person. She always had time after, or before, class to answer any questions I had. Often she would instead fire a question back at me knowing that I actually knew the answer to the very question I was asking. For me, along with Mr. Pelech at St. Andrew's Jr high, the best teachers I ever had.

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Thoughts?