Here's to You, Mrs. Robeson

Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Thanks to Google, I learned today that it’s United States Teacher Appreciation Week 2019. And now I can share this letter I found in my dad’s personal belongings. A teacher sent this letter home to my great grandmother and so now, the pages are yellowed with age and the script is a lovely cursive of faded black ink. But I can still read the words:

My dear Mrs. Crider,

It is my pleasure and privilege to have your son, Herman, in two of my classes. I must tell you that he is a most remarkable young man, but this you know already. Further I must tell you that he is working too much entirely. I learned just now that he studied all night last night. Please get him to promise you that he will not do this again.

Mr. Crider has made 100% in almost all of his final I should say mid-term examinations, but a world of hundreds are not worth his health.

Accept my hearty congratulations upon being the mother of a son such as Mr. Crider.

Yours sincerely,
J***** Robeson

Isn’t that a great letter? I’d never laid eyes on it until after my dad died and so I’ll never know if the letter was saved because my grandfather wanted to get a good night’s sleep or if his mother was just so proud to receive a letter such as that. I suspect it was a little of both, but I am sure that my father saved it all these years because that teacher wrote wonderful things about his father.

But I’m not sharing this letter just to brag about my grandfather’s smarts. Nope, I’m all about Mrs. Robeson:

I love that she expressed not just the pleasure but the privilege of having this student in her class. Imagine how special a child would feel, knowing a teacher considered it a privilege to have him or her in class!

I love that she believed a world of hundreds was not worth this student’s health! When I think of all the anxiety we see in students today with all the testing and getting in to the “right” schools and scores and grades and…well, I know many teachers whose hearts break, seeing the results of all that stress in students from kindergarten through college. Then, as now, all a teacher can do is try to get a parent to see that there are more important things in life than grades.

And finally, I love that Mrs. Robeson took the time to write this letter. We’re all about writing here at WOW! and so we understand the value of words. And when those words are written in a tangible letter, no matter how simple and brief, it can be saved and treasured through the ages.

You never know how far a teacher’s impact will go, do you? Mrs. Robeson and my great grandmother, my grandfather and even my father are gone now. But I am certain this one teacher influenced my grandfather and thus my father. And so Mrs. Robeson influenced me and my children as well. Perhaps someday my children’s children will see this letter and their hearts will swell with pride and gratitude, too.

So thank you, Mrs. Robeson, and thank you to all the teachers who give their best to make us the best we can be. And maybe you can find a few minutes this week to write a thank you letter to a teacher. You never know who might be reading (and sharing) it a hundred years on.

~Cathy Crider Hall


Sioux Roslawski said...

And how wonderful that could tie in your title with one of my favorite songs (and movies).

Teaching IS a job full of privileges. Teachers get to see students blossom. They are privy to writing that is mind-blowingly fabulous. They are so fortunate...

What an incredible memento.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I actually changed the name of the post after I realized how perfect that name would work, Sioux, because I LOVE that song, too. :-)

Such a wonderful memento! And happy Teacher's Appreciation Day to you, Sioux! Thank you for helping kids become writers (and for doing it with such style and enthusiasm)!

anita said...

I love that your Dad kept this lovely note! I was choking up trading about this caring teacher. I'm glad you now have this note, Cath, a special connection to our family.

Anonymous said...

Reading, not trading!

Linda O'Connell said...

Proof positive teachers make a positive impact. What a family treasure, Cathy. It is amazing when a teacher taps you on the shoulder and leaves an imprint on your heart and soul.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Love this post, Cathy. Made my day reading this. Thanks so much for sharing.

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