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Mrs. Jennifer Mattson – Brighton High School

This letter is being written for you to consider Mrs. Jennifer Mattson in your Teacher Feature. She teaches at Brighton High School, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dan Rather said of teachers, “The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.”

William Ward explained it this way, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others” ~Author Unknown.

Jennifer Mattson is the head of the English department at Brighton High School. She teaches two AP English classes, one creative writing class and an honor English class (Imagine the number of papers that need to be graded). She is also trying to finish her Master’s Degree in amidst teaching. To say the least her free time is nonexistent.

She teaches my son Creed in her AP English class. Included below is a letter I sent to Mrs. Mattson thanking her for being a: Great teacher because she inspires her students, because she is constantly poking them with the sharp stick of truth, because she lights the way for her students, thinking nothing of herself.

My son Creed is number one in his graduating class and hopes to become a doctor. However, because of Mrs. Mattson he thinks he will major in English in college. That’s a major about face for someone that has always considered science and math to be his forte. Mrs. Mattson has made English come alive for Creed.

Mrs. Mattson is one of those rare teachers that make a difference. Letter to Mrs. Mattson is attached below:

Dear Mrs. Mattson,

There are very few teachers that are real teachers, who care and have the ability to teach. There are even fewer who can take a hard core subject, like English, and make the students love the subject. I don’t know where it comes from because no one knows how to teach it. You either have it or you don’t, and you have it.

Creed walked into your English class content to get his A and walk away, dreading every class. Now he has talked about majoring in English even though he still wants to go into medicine. When asked what happened he said, “Well I read Heart of Darkness and thought it sucked and Marlowe was basically dead the whole time. Then Mrs. Mattson started telling me what it was that I read. Wow! Every word meant something.”

Teachers often tire and fall into the quagmire of rote teaching year after year. It takes someone special to avoid the muck. It takes someone special to care. It takes someone special to really teach, to “seize the day.” You like John Keating in The Dead Poets Society have the ability to make students sit up and listen.

I just wanted to take the time to thank you for going above and beyond and not just as a teacher. Somehow, somewhere you went out of your way to uncover information about Creed in order to write his letters of recommendation. By the way you did a fantastic job and I think you hit the nail right on the head. I know he didn’t tell you about himself so it took some work on your part to find out all of those details that you included.

So here’s to you Mrs. Mattson, my hat’s off to you and the job you do as a teacher. And thanks for taking the time to come to know Creed and to teach him. You are his favorite forever teacher.

Dennis and Liz Mangrum

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