I am Kati Walker from the Hoover High School class of 1973. You were my teacher in the 11th and 12th grade. I'm not sure if you remember me, but I remember you. I have thought of you so many times over the many years that have passed since those Hoover High days.
I have attached my senior picture to jog a memory, as well as a picture taken 40 years later (yikes !!) I've even sent you my resume, so that you can see what I've been doing.
Miss Irwin, you were my favorite teacher in high school. You demanded the most of me. Thank you. I always appreciated our shared love for the Lakers and the way we would make fun of the things that Chick Hearn, their announcer, said at the games.
You were the one who taught me that it was okay to write in a book. For years, I have annotated my thoughts in the margins of my books. You let me take on challenges. I remember once we had to choose a book to read. I wanted to read Of Human Bondage. You said it was too long for me to read in the prescribed time. Of course, you let me take the challenge, and I did it.
Probably my greatest memory was struggling for an A in the final class of my senior year. You did not give those A's away - we had to earn them. On my way to the graduation field, cap and gown on, you yelled at me from the parking lot, "Walker, you got an A." Such a happy moment, one that I will never forget.
So much of what I am today is because of wonderful leaders in my youth. You, Miss Irwin, are the one of I think of when I'm in a presentation, and they say, "Think of the teacher who inspired you the most." When I have hints for new computer passwords and one is "your favorite teacher," your name is the one that I type.
My current fourth graders are reading a novel. I ordered them all their own copy and have taught them how to annotate and write all over the book - their thoughts, their predictions, their questions, and more. I learned that from the best.
Thank you, Miss Irwin, for choosing to be a teacher !!!
Yes, there are several things about those GREAT teachers that I realized after I wrote this letter to Miss Irwin:
They know and share our interests
They have a sense of humor
They encourage us to challenge ourselves
They acknowledge us when we truly do meet their high expectations
We want to be like them
We never forget them
Oh, one day, I hope that one of my students will think of me as I think of Miss Irwin.