Dear Monica, Thank You for Tooting My Horn

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I received this letter from Monica and I just have to let her toot my horn.

Every time I look back to my childhood, in one of those random reminiscent thoughts we get from time to time, I’m always reminded of my favorite teacher. And so, I was intrigued to look her up! What else is the World Wide Web good for anyway?

My 5th grade teacher at Calvert Street Elementary school in the little city of Woodland Hills, California was the best, and one of the only teachers from grade school I can ever remember clearly. Not only did she teach the normal 5th grade agenda in a fun, insightful way, she also taught me how to use and express my creativity, how to be accepting of others with Tolerance, and how earthworms help turn pencil shavings and food scraps into useful dirt. With her encouragement, and tenacity for creativity, she would assign my peers and I projects such as entering county art contests and making our own books. SERIOUSLY, she showed us how to write them, how to bind them and do everything ourselves…I even made mine into a pop up book. I also won 2nd place and a $500 savings bond in a county art contest. But, best of all, she taught me about life without me even realizing it.

Mrs. Clapkin, I was only 10 years old at the time I was in YOUR class. And now at 25, I can say whole-heartedly that I am so grateful for the experiences shared in your classroom. Because of your enthusiasm for knowledge and discovery, you shaped my perception of this world and our country in an enlightening way.

A fond memory I have is seeing my mother’s reaction to the Holocaust exhibit during a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance. Even my mother was taught something about history that day that I am sure she wouldn’t have ever known otherwise. She emigrated from Mexico when she was just 9 years old. After the field trip, she said that she had not ever seen anything like that when she was in school and that she really liked you as my teacher.

There are no words to express my appreciation for all you did for me and hopefully still do for others today. I think children in this generation would greatly benefit from more teachers like you, although I don’t believe there are any out there that can compare to you, Mrs. Clapkin. I hope you have had a blessed life and continue to do so.

Your former student,

Monica

Dear Monica,

Your letter wins all prizes. Thank you.

Please contact me with your phone or email.

I want to take you and your family out to dinner.

I forgot to tell you something.

Love and respect,

Mrs. Clapkin, but you can call me Sheila now.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Reene
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 16:49:12

    why are you so surprised? Reene

    Reply

  2. Dina
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 20:10:20

    Monica summed you up perfectly! Monica, if you are reading, you should know my mom’s dedication to teaching is why I am a teacher today. If I could do half the good she has done, I would be thrilled! She is my very best friend. Love you mama. xo

    Reply

    • Sheila Clapkin
      Jan 14, 2015 @ 14:35:25

      Dear Dina.
      You are doing more in many ways that I was able to do. I am glad I was/am able to model for you. I got lucky to have you by my side and love me. Thank YOU!
      Your Mama

      Reply

    • Monica
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 16:33:41

      Without a doubt, I’m sure you are an AMAZING teacher just like you mother 🙂 She’s a great role model. If I had her patience and compassion for teaching, I’d be a teacher too! Teaching is such a self-less and empowering job that, I believe, only a few are truly meant to teach.
      “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
      -William A. Ward

      Best,
      Monica

      Reply

  3. Nuala Ryan
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 21:11:18

    Monica, thank you for taking the time to affirm your brilliant teacher. I found her about 4 years when I joined the Book Forum in Tarzana. In December, 2014 our reading assignment was Sheila’s awarding winning book, Letters to Dr. Du Bimo. It’s a must read for you!
    I am privileged to have Sheila in my life.

    Reply

    • Sheila Clapkin
      Jan 14, 2015 @ 14:29:13

      Monica, I am privileged to have Nuala in my life. We talk about so many issues of the past and how they led us to where we are now and how they will draw us into the future. Nuala knows truth and purpose and thank you Nuala for teaching me about gratitude. Thank you for your friendship!
      Love,
      Sheila

      Reply

    • Monica
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 16:01:11

      Nuala,
      I just looked up the book and am purchasing it on Amazon. Thank you! I didn’t know Mrs. Clapkin had a published book!
      I can’t wait to read it and reminisce of my childhood days hearing her read out loud in class. I always liked reading but I think Mrs. Clapkin made me LOVE it. And also appreciate it.

      Best,
      Monica

      Reply

  4. Sandra Lipschultz
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 21:46:52

    I agree with Nuala: “I am privileged to have Sheila in my life.” I have Sheila’s quotations up in places in my house where I can see them easily. So I don’t forget. My favorites (but definitely not my only) are: “Don’t leave your mind idle. Somebody else might use it.” and “You may have been born with a silver spoon, but it still needs polishing.” And I don’t even care if she wrote them or quoted them. What is important to me is she brought them to my attention. That is what good teachers do. Even though she is not officially my teacher.

    Reply

    • Sheila Clapkin
      Jan 14, 2015 @ 14:25:10

      Dear dear Sandy, Funny, it takes one to know one. You have always been one of my idols with your clear, crisp understanding of the world at large. I always marvel at your take on things and then adopt them as my own. Love and hugs,
      Sheila

      Reply

  5. Aileen Paterson
    Jan 14, 2015 @ 07:49:24

    Dear Sheila It was lovely to read the blog . I’ve I had not known it was you who was being spoken about I would have guessed you . Hope you and Skip are well love to you both xx Aileen

    Reply

    • Sheila Clapkin
      Jan 14, 2015 @ 15:01:45

      Dear Aileen,
      It is me here. All is well here in Southern California. I continue to think of you often and hope all is well with you, far,far away in Scotland. I look at the weather there and see we are having lots more sunshine these days. Your baby granddaughter is way beyond outstanding. Have fun with her. You know a visit to Southern California is not out of the question. I enjoy blogging. It is good for me to have this opportunity and a great outlet for writing. Thank you for reading and guessing Monica was talking about me so long, long ago.
      Love,
      Sheila

      Reply

  6. Sally Sacon
    Jan 14, 2015 @ 09:09:38

    I know through my mother how wonderful it is to get feedback from old students, however many years later. You deserve it! Calvert St. Elementary looks exactly like my children’s school, Chime Charter. Is that photo older? Could it be the same?!? Sheila, I hope to see you at the next Book Forum!

    Reply

    • Sheila Clapkin
      Jan 14, 2015 @ 14:22:48

      Your mother must get tons of letters. I would like to write her one myself. Calvert looks like Chime because their signs match. If I had kids school age, I would pick Chime and Calvert because they are such humanitarian schools and have good scholastic scores. See you at next Book Forum! Thank you for commenting!

      Reply

  7. Monica
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 16:14:57

    Dear Mrs. Clapkin,
    Your horn remains heard despite it being tooted.
    I’m flattered that you turned my comment into an entry on your blog 😀
    If there is such thing as a Teacher of the Century Award, you’d be my nominee!
    The quotes of your’s I read in the comments are TOO good and somewhat familiar. Perhaps you might have said them in the class I had with you 15 years ago. WOW, how the time flies by!
    Thank you again for the lifelong inspiration.
    Your former student,
    Monica

    Reply

  8. Sheila Clapkin
    Mar 05, 2015 @ 13:16:10

    Oh Monica, let us remain connected now that we have found this connection.
    I took the liberty of putting uproar letter because there was no way to trace it to you. Usually I ask permission. I looked for months to uncover you. Yea here you are. You are truly a beautiful writer and should help yourself to a blog on WordPress.com. It forces you to write often and build your confidence. I will see if I can contact you with my phone number so you and I can spend a little time chatting.

    Reply

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