Dear Mr. Cole

posted by Momo Fali on September 7, 2009

Dear Mr. Cole,

I have thought about writing this letter so many times. Hundreds of times, in fact. However, something always comes up. Life got in the way of me doing something I should have done 20 years ago.

It is long past time that I thanked you for being a great teacher. It is hard to believe it has been more than two decades since I was a junior in high school and sat in your American Studies class.

My mom and step-father has just gotten divorced, I was working long hours after school and staying up late to do homework. My life was in turmoil and by the time I sat down in your class in the late afternoon, I was exhausted. I remember falling asleep at my desk almost every day. I was struggling.

My other teachers didn’t notice; or didn’t care to. You did. One day, you returned one of my papers with a hand-written note…I know you’re going through a rough time, but college is not that far away and you need to start thinking about your future. I know you comprehend what I’m saying. You’re smart and you write well. Don’t blow it.

Knowing that someone cared and that someone believed in me, at that point in time, was life-altering; possibly life-saving. Thank you for that. I knew that if I really needed to reach out to someone, you would be there.

Thank you for your knowledge and your kindness. Thank you for teaching me the beauty of the written word, for sharing your faith and for reaching out to a slacking student.

Thank you for being the best teacher I ever had.




  • Laura (Mom2HandR)

    I hope he reads this. Teachers need to know the profound effect they can have on a student.

  • Momo Fali


    I have his e-mail address and will send him this link. Hopefully, it won't take me 20 years to get around to it!

  • Lynn

    I had a teacher in grade 10 who had such an impact on my life. A great teacher can change a kid's whole world. I hope you send him this post.

  • Avitable

    Aw, that's very sweet. It's always nice to have that one teacher who you really respected.

  • PJ Mullen

    That is a great letter. Teachers can have profound impacts on our lives, but we don't always make the connection until years later. I friended my 6th grade teacher on Facebook and shortly thereafter she left me a wonderful comment on an article I wrote for the Examiner. It was very touching to get her support after all of these years. I'm sure he'll appreciate your thoughts when he gets your email.

  • Comedy Goddess

    That is beautiful. So glad you had each other to learn from.

  • Always Home and Uncool

    Your debt has been paid. Well done.

  • ♥georgie♥

    That was lovely Diane…

  • Mum-me

    It is special when a teacher takes time to write a note of encouragement.

    It takes a special teacher to notice and care about their students.

  • Maureen

    That was wonderful… with all the crap that teachers have to deal with, I am sure he would love to read this. It needs to be said more often.

  • Rachel

    I hope you send this to him.
    Every teacher deserves and needs to hear this.
    Fabulous lovey.

  • Melisa with one S

    This is a beautiful letter! I hope you do send him the link SOON!

    I've been working on my own letter to a teacher (I just found her address!); I'll keep you posted!

  • Hockeyman

    That's awesome. I had several teachers I loved so much that until I quit college the first time I was going to be a teacher.

    Do not hesitate to send this to him. Knowing several teachers as friends and being married to a former one, it will mean the world to him.

  • anya

    I love stories like this! I got teary. It's nice to hear about people who really care.

  • velocibadgergirl

    Fantastic. Thank goodness for all the Mr. Coles in the world!

  • Heather

    I had a teacher like this who helped me in this exact same situation, 'cept I was a senior in high school.

    I should write her a letter 🙂

    Excellent, my friend. Excellent.

  • felli bonni

    My son is going to Grade 1 tomorrow. I hope he will meet a good teacher who cares.

  • surprised mom

    I owe many teachers in my life thank yous. There are some standout teachers who deserve to be recognized by their students, but rarely are.

    Send that link to him soon. I'm sure you will make his day.

    This was an excellent post.

  • ZDub

    That's rad that you still remember that.

    Great post.

  • Monica

    I love this. My husband was a teacher for many years, and still gets letters like this from "kid" who are all grown up and having families of their own. It's always amazing to get those letters. You gave him a gift. Will he get to see this letter? Are you sending it the old fashioned way too? Hope so! Links are good, but nothing beats pen and paper (or printer and paper).

  • Mike

    There are a handful of people that have flitted in, and out of our lives. Now that we have time to just sit back and catch our breath we see the impact that these individuals' small gestures have had on us.

    Divine Intervention, genuine compassion, call it what you will; That one small gesture could possibly have averted a cascade of bad decisions in our lives.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have foresight into who could possibly be in need your "intervention" so we could pay it forward?!

  • Sadia

    I'm fortunate to still be in touch with the teachers who touched me that way. In fact, I'm hoping to get to see my fifth grade teacher this December.

    My girlies are back with THEIR teacher who cared enough.

    Teachers matter. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Corey~living and loving

    What a great letter. I really hope you sent it.

  • Jodi

    That's so awesome Momo!

  • WeaselMomma

    Sounds like one heck of a teacher to me.

  • Neil

    So cool! We all have that one teacher we remember most of all.

  • Angella

    What a blessing to have had him as a in your life. He embodies what being a teacher is all about.

  • Jaina

    It's stories like that that make me cry. I love teachers like that, who really care. Those are the kinds of teachers we need.

  • AlisonH

    If you deliver that to the school district, they might be able to get it to him personally.

    And wow, what a good teacher.

  • Lisa@verybusymomwith4

    Isn't it amazing how such a simple, kind note can effect us? A lesson to us—write encouraging notes!
    You rock sweetie–glad you did NOT blow it 🙂

  • Aunt Debbi/kurts mom

    You've made me think that there is a special teacher out there that I really need to thank. She works with my little sister now so it won't be hard. Thanks.

  • James (SeattleDad)

    If you are reading this Mr C, kudos to you for caring about your students.

  • Amy

    Bless Mr. Cole. Every kid needs one (or twenty) of him!

  • meleah rebeccah

    Oh! That was the best letter I have ever read. I sure do hope HE reads this! xoxoxox

  • geeksinrome

    teachers literally save the world one kid at a time. I hope you can let him read this, because teachers love to hear someone out there listened and that they had an impact (but you know that 😉

  • Kim

    Oh my goodness..this gave me tears in my eyes.. I hope he gets this.. this will indeed make him smile ear to ear..

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from O Captain! My Captain! - Momo Fali's
    Monday, 11 August, 2014

    […] managed to climb out with the help of three things; a great teacher, extended family and, you may not believe this, but it’s true, Dead Poet’s […]

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