To the Best Teacher I Ever Had


July 6, 2021

Dear Mrs. Yoes,

I don’t expect you to remember me, but I do remember you, and I have wanted to write to you for years. I’m just sorry that I took so long to do it.

I was your student at Northside Elementary during the 74-75 school year in the 6th grade. I didn’t stand out. I didn’t put any effort into my assignments. I didn’t even bother to brush my long stringy hair when getting ready for school. My name was LeAnn Rowland.

I neither liked nor disliked you as a teacher. I just attended school because it was what kids did.  I moved on to junior high and high school, and I never thought much about you again. In fact, I dropped out of high school in my junior year. I got married that summer, and a year later, when I was supposed to graduate, I had a baby. Thankfully, I somehow had enough forethought to get my GED less than a year after my anticipated graduation year of 1981—in February 1982.

The adults in my childhood were disinterested in me, so I didn’t have anyone to guide me. In fact, I never chose to get married. My mother coerced me into child marriage at the age of 16 and put me on a path of pain and trauma. I didn’t think I had anything to offer the world. I started college several times, and I dropped out several times.

But I’m not writing to you to share my traumatic life experiences. I am writing to you to tell you that although I was indifferent toward you as your student, you were the best teacher I ever had. It took years for the lessons I learned in your class to come to fruition—and I find that to be astonishing.

You taught me responsibility and accountability. You always taught meaningful lessons that applied to the real world. You taught me how to think. You taught me how to spell the word necessary.  You taught me more than I ever learned in any other grade or school.

Once, when you caught me chewing gum, you made me write a report on chicle. Now I’m a public-school teacher too. I didn’t become one until I was in my 50s for the reasons mentioned earlier in my letter. I started out teaching high school English. One of my first students turned in a plagiarized essay. So, taking what I learned from you, I had her write a report on plagiarism.

I hope you are well and have had a good life.  More than anything else, I wanted to reach out to you to thank you for everything you gave me.  No teacher ever gave me as much as you. I’m sorry I took so long to tell you.

With much gratitude,

LeAnn Rowland-Skeen

A new chapter of Stand For The Silent has just been officially opened in Lawton, Oklahoma!!!!


Lawton Oklahoma Stand for the Silent

March 14, 2013

First Meeting: To be announced

Our Chapter will be called: Lawton, Oklahoma United To Stand for the Silent

Sponsor: Myrna LeAnn Skeen

Mission Statement

Every Child And Adult Will Unite In The Stand Against Bullying And Make It Known That Bullying Will No Longer Be Tolerated In Our Schools and Work Places, Or In Any Setting Where Children And Adults Gather in Common Areas. Our Commitment Is To Educate The Citizens of Lawton About The Dangers of Bullying And To Ensure That Bullying Will Be Permanently Abolished In Our City.

Intent

To meet once a month: specific date to be determined

To raise funds to keep our chapter active and thriving

To raise funds to pay it forward

To wear our wrist bands every day

To wear our SFTS Tee-shirts once a week

(and on special occasions such as Ty’s birthday – and other similar occasions).

To discuss the possibility of meeting with other SFTS groups annually at a national conference: (To seek Kirk’s guidance on this idea).

To join with regional chapters during the year for special events to be determined.

To share our stories and our experiences and how we can put an end to the bullying problem in our city.

To have a speaker at every meeting to share their personal story.

To arrange for special speakers from other chapters to speak at our chapter meetings on certain occasions.

To make certain that local and state media is always aware of our actions and efforts and that we are in the news as much as possible.

To visit schools and work places to tell them our stories and encourage them to become involved in our efforts

To have gatherings in the parks to include picnics, balloon releases, and other types of activities that enable us to enjoy being together and to feel safe and protected because as a group we stand united against those who have harmed us in the past.

To educate the bullies; to help them change their process of thought that caused them to believe that bullying was ever an acceptable behavior.

To educate the bystanders who don’t know how to help those whom they witness being bullied.

To educate the teachers, principals, and all of the staff members of the schools and the work places who have failed to understand that turning a blind eye to bullying makes them guilty and accountable.

Founder and first member LeAnn Skeen

Members to follow