Thank you, Mrs. Brown

When I was in high school, I had an English teacher that changed my life.

If I am going to be completely truthful, you should know that I was terrified of her. Terrified of her. Not because she was mean, but because she demanded respect and didn’t put up with less than one’s best. No one messed with Mrs. Brown. Because of the tight reign she had on her class, it was a room where learning could take place, and did.

She taught me to love Shakespeare. She taught me tools for writing that have helped me formulate thoughts and then spit them out on paper on a daily basis. She taught me to do my best work, for anything less wasn’t worth the effort. She helped prepare me for college, and for that I’ll always be thankful.

Unlike most teachers who stuck with multiple choice tests, Mrs. Brown gave essay tests. I found that I excelled at tests that don’t test particular factoids, rather whole thoughts and concepts and their application within their context. I remember writing my little hand off during test periods and hoping that whatever I put on the paper would please Mrs. Brown.

One day I came to class excited and yet dreading getting my essay test back. I was sure I had done a good job, yet I was scared that maybe I didn’t meet her expectations. I was nervous that I would get my test back and be disappointed. I remember sitting in class waiting, waiting, waiting to get my paper back. When the time came to pass out the graded essays, Mrs. Brown said the words that would change my life forever. Simple words, but completely meaningful and hopeful to me.

She said, “I wish all of you could write the way Angie writes“. For the first time in my life I felt like there was something that I could do well, and that made me incredibly happy. The praise gave me the courage to write more often and on different subjects and to explore the written word. I felt like her words gave me permission to overcome my fear of writing failure and at least try to organize sentences and paragraphs; thoughts and feelings into one cohesive whole. At a time when I didn’t feel confidence in anything, her words gave me a sense of confidence is something.

I’ll never forget Mrs. Brown.

24 comments on this post.
  1. T Rex Mom:

    It's always amazing when a special teacher comes along and changes your life. I've been fortunate to have a couple of those.

    I'll always remember a college professor who talk me to "massage the data" – that was a tough lesson to learn but I was a better student for it.

  2. Amethyst Moon:

    I had a great teacher that impacted me, my senior year, because he was so open and non-judgemental. What I didn't know until, the day I graduated was that he felt I was influencing him. Interesting how you never know how or when you will have an impact on someone.

  3. Lolli:

    Sounds like a fantastic teacher! I've had afew of those myself. I was able to connect with my 5th grade teacher when I was in high school and had moved far away. It was great!

  4. Jenners:

    I hope you can find here. I bet it would make her day to hear from you. And aren't the best teachers the ones that push you? That make you want to learn more? Great post.

  5. Jen:

    I had a teacher like that too. And I did get to tell her how she effected me. It was a great moment.

  6. Amy:

    I hope you find her. What a great story. I had a few teachers I really enjoyed too.

  7. Honey Mommy:

    I had some teachers like Mrs. Brown in high school. I had a choir teacher that I absolutely adored as well… I wonder where they are now?

  8. Justine:

    I never had one teacher that left such an impression on me as your Mrs. Brown did. I wish I had. Maybe I would have pushed myself to do better. Maybe I would have went to college. Maybe maybe maybe. It's so wonderful when people take the time, 20+ years later to remember a teacher who affected them so deeply.

    Justine :o )

  9. Are You Serious!:

    ♥ I had a teacher like that! Same feelings. She had cancer the last part of our school year. She passed away that summer. The saddest time ever! I hope you find her that would be quite the reunion!

  10. Swirl Girl:

    You are the best. After a real crappy day…I am comforted by the fact that there are still good people in the world who have the powere to change lives…and do.

    I can't wait to hear about your search.

  11. Lace:

    My favorite teacher in high school was a Mrs. Brown too :) & we're still in touch! Thank Heaven for Facebook!

  12. Live.Love.Eat:

    I hope you find her!! She sounds very special & more teachers should be like her!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Susie:

    Teachers are one of those types of people who NEVER know what effect that they have on kids. I hope you can find her to tell her what she did for you:-)

  14. Mayhem and Moxie:

    What an utterly fantastic post, Angie. I have long believed that you are a fantastic writer. It is great to learn a bit about the person who nurtured your talent.

    -Francesca

  15. Mama Kat:

    I love this! I would use that search to find my favorite teacher too…I'm sure he'd be thrilled about that.

  16. Grand Pooba:

    I've never heard of MyLife before, that is pretty dang cool! I bet Mrs. Brown would LOVE to hear from you!

  17. Jennifer:

    So you're saying Mrs. Brown sorta spearheaded 7 Clown Circus? ;-) We should have more teachers like her around. The world would be a much happier place, I think.

  18. Renée aka Mekhismom:

    I love reading your memory of a wonderful teacher.

  19. Liz @ Sugarplum Creations:

    I'm new here, but oh my goodness, I had a Mrs. Brown for an English teacher, and she sounds exactly like the lady you describe! Too funny. What a wonderful tool to searching out a very special lady!

  20. Elaine A.:

    My senior English teacher was kind of similar. Everyone was scared of her but it was because well, she was kinda scary. BUT, she was a good teacher and I learned SO much from her.

    I'm glad you had Mrs. Brown in your life. We need more teachers like her.

  21. Pippa:

    Its great to be able to tell someone that thanks to them, to an event they don't even remember you are the person you are today.

    Good luck with finding her!

  22. Jenay:

    Hajehlulal! I needed this-you’re my savior.

  23. Vladimir:

    Dear Belmore South Public School,I would love to learn Mrs Penmans secret to maikng apple pies. Sounds really delicious. Due to the pictures I bet everyone had so much fun!Happy Regards, Charlotte

  24. Mahmuod:

    Hi, would you be able to email me these cards by Thursday? I’m in charge of games for a frnied’s Saturday shower, and love these! It would be helpful for me to have a couple of days to work on printing them out, as I’m also planning my son’s birthday party this week, ha!Thanks so much,Lydia

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