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Hi There.

It’s me, your English teacher from high school, but also the one who taught elementary school when she was younger and thinner and more idealistic.

The young third grade teacher, who made turkeys by tracing your hand against butcher paper, listing five things to be thankful for, like “puppies” and “Notre Dame” and “Jesus.”

But it’s me, the English teacher, who has been teaching high school English for 20 years now and REALLY loves Faulkner. As a matter of fact, she’s thankful for Faulkner, even though she isn’t the slightest bit Southern or male or schizophrenic. And she’s also thankful for Plath and Sexton because she IS female and weirdly identifies with their domestic nightmare vibe. She’s grateful because you gave her a patient platform to reveal all these delights, even though you just wanted an “A” or wanted to get into an Ivy.

And it’s me, your former English teacher, who still teaches at your high school and probably will for another 10 years until her pension kicks in.

She still remembers you and the conversations you had about Supernatural (#SPNFAMILY) and its connection to Milton, as well as Sam Shepard (there is no family for him) and toxic masculinity BEFORE IT WAS A THING.

I am addressing you, two of my former students, who have been published in The Prompt.

You, who I am so grateful for. And I want to tell you both of you this: This week in the midst of COVID craziness, we had another hollow exercise of students writing us notes about why they are grateful for their teachers. And I got one, from a student much like both of you, who said, “You deserve happiness.”  I was floored.

And so I’m here, as your teacher, to tell you: I am so grateful for both of you, because you continue to enrich my life even after you have left my classroom.  But I am also here to tell you that “you [also] deserve happiness.”  I am so grateful that she told me that. But I am more grateful that I have a medium to pass it onto you.

Joelle Ostrich

Mother and teacher in suburban Pennsylvania. Hoya, INFP, chaotic good, Virgo, skeptic. A member of the 45 percent. Firm believer that the Duplass brothers will save the world.

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