Friday, July 13, 2012

The Reason We Teach - In One Post: A Student Letter

Today, I received a message on my Facebook account and found this message from Lisa Blade, a student of mine from twenty years ago:
So, I added you because I remember you as "Mrs Hooper" in the 91-92 school year at Indian Ridge Middle School. You knew me then as Lisa Nieves.

I'm 33 years old and I still struggle with math, but I do remember 3 total teachers in my 12 years of school that helped me actually understand math. My 4th grade teacher, Mr Mikalian, 8th grade math teacher, Mrs Hooper and high school, Mr Hutchins.

You're also the teacher who introduced me to the predecessor to the internet and you're wholly responsible for me receiving a modem for christmas of 91... We had dreams of meeting "Sven from Sweden!" Haha funny story that, since I used my modem to connect to the Rio Grande Freenet hosted by El Paso Community College and after I graduated, around 1999, I got to go to The Netherlands and meet all the people I had been chatting with since I was 14.

Being online helped me become familiar with technology, which had eventually put me in the career I am in now. I have worked for all sorts of technology companies including Hewlett Packard and Earthlink. I currently work at DHL in Business IT, doing, well, all of us wear a lot of hats in this place. I was even a technical trainer at one point, and I will be teaching again.

I know that it feels good as a teacher to make a difference in people's lives, and you certainly had an impact, a significant one. I'm so glad to have found you again, even to see that you're still in education, still showing more people how to use technology to further their lives. I'm super proud to have met you and I hope that your years past and years to come have been immensely happy and fulfilling.


Once I caught my breath and wiped away the tears, I took a moment to reflect on what this means.  Lisa has accomplished so much and clearly will continue to do so.  She's a success by all accounts.  This is one of those days to celebrate and that gives meaning to what we do every day.  This is the reason for the planning, professional development, revising,  and rethinking.  For sure, this is the reason  that I believe in educational technology and why it is important to remember that we are more than just the content that we teach.

Lisa is referring to MathWorld Interactive (originally started as MathWorld FidoNet) which I wrote about here:  Revisiting MathWorld Interactive International Math Problem-Solving Project.  She even found the Fidonet announcement of winners for the project from 91-92 posted on FidoNet.

Thank you, Lisa, for the message.

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