I am very lucky to have taught some amazing learners over the past eleven years. Here are some of the wonderful thank-yous I have received from them and from parents.

Email from Bahsan

Dear Mrs. Holly,

How are you? It's been so long since I’ve seen or spoken to you. I don’t know if you'll remember me (Id only hope you would), I was one of your students in Al-Jazeera Academy, you'd probably remember be as the "inappropriate one". I can assure you that hasn’t changed. I decided to e-mail you to see how you’re doing and may I confess you sort of came to mind when I stumbled upon Hurt - Johnny Cash on my iTunes playlist. You played that once in one of our Literature classes and I recall we asked you to play it again and again. I never got the chance to tell you that you were one of the most inspiring and amazing teacher I've ever had. It took me 3 years to realize that (better late than never right?). I want to take this chance to thank you, in some way you molded me to the person I am and the person I will become. You've taught me English for 2 years and I have a profound respect for literature till this day. 

I hope all is well.
Yours truly,

Facebook Entry from Cyrena

Day 16 – A picture of someone who inspires you.

No way in hell could I pick ONE person. Why limit myself?
So without furthur ado, in no particular order, here are my top 5:

Neale Donald Walsch. 
Sejal Hathi. Sylvia Plath. Karen Armstrong. Holly Fairbrother.

My English teacher in Al Jazeera for 2 years, and form tutor last year. I know I am not only speaking for myself when I say that Mrs. Holly changed the way I perceive the world and opened my mind to different lifestyles, cultures, religions, perspectives… she was more than just an English teacher. Without Mrs. Holly’s guidance I would have never left the potential career my parents were pushing me into to study the subject I am passionate about and pursue a career that I have been dreaming of since the second grade. Mrs. Holly inspired me to research different religions, get outside of my comfort zone, taught me how to express myself fully in English, build arguments, discuss theories/ideas, start yoga, travel to places I’ve never been before and most importantly to be myself. So thank you Holly, you helped mould the person I am today and who I will be in the future.

Email from Maha

Dear Mrs Holly,

How are you? And how's your wonderful family doing? It's been so long!!

I was bored going through my old emails - for entertainment purposes - and I came across one of your emails that you sent me after our graduation. It brought tears to my eyes remembering your words of encouragement. You really have changed the way I think and work forever, in the best way possible, and I'll always be grateful to you for that.

I don't know if my cousin ever mentioned it you but I study at VCU now. I got accepted at both VCU and CMU and after a lot of thought I decided to study Fashion Design over Business Studies. I thought I'll probably do better if I loved my major instead of choosing something "safe".
We have to take 5 English courses at VCU and I recently finished them all. At every course, I would compare my English professors to you, and I really mean it when I say this, but none of them even came close to you. You're an extraordinary teacher, and the students you're teaching now are very lucky.. They better appreciate it! :)

So where do you live/teach now?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Kindest regards,