Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Come close and listen carefully.   I’m going to tell  you something really important.   I have found out the secret to happiness and I am going to share it with you.  Are you ready?  Here we go:  you can’t find happiness by looking for it.  Happiness comes to you when you stop pursuing it and start pursuing ways to help others.

I’ve learned this by experience.  I’m lucky enough to have a job that serves others.  Ultimately, my career choice was law or teaching.  I had excellent LSAT scores and undergraduate grades, so most likely I could have gotten into a top ten law school.  All my friends did.  But by the time I was ready to make a real career commitment,  I was already a mother, and I wanted to have a work schedule that would work with my daughters’ school schedules.   Law would be a good financial decision, but I really wanted to have time with my children and all my lawyer friends seemed so unhappy.  All they ever did was work, and they spent very little time with their children.

Besides which, I came from a family of teachers, and teaching seemed like a good fit.  I understood how to become a teacher: I knew the kind of graduate degree to get, and my mother-in-law even had connections with the union in the city, so negotiating the labyrinth of paperwork to get that job would be smoothed for me.  I didn’t expect to be happy in my career.  Both my mother and my mother-in-law hated their jobs.  Happiness wasn’t the point.  I was looking for a steady paycheck and time with my kids.

Well, I got that steady paycheck and I had time with my kids.  But now my girls have grown up, so the reason for my choice is no longer operable.  So why don’t I regret that decision?  Because I got so much more out my choice than I anticipated.

Every year I get a new set of students of my very own to serve.  We discuss books and morality and life.  We wrestle with difficult texts and struggle to write clear and cogent analysis.  We contemplate the most difficult questions of the ages, such as, “What is the human condition?” and “When do I use lie and when do I use lay?”  Our days are filled with the cacophony of moving desks and group discussions and the silence of individual concentration.  The whirlwind of school and the complete immersion in helping students to improve themselves calms me and focuses me on the needs of others.   Helping my students takes me out of myself.  My own selfish cares sweep away.

So that is my secret to happiness.  Don’t go looking for it.  Happiness will come to you when you stop looking for it and start looking for ways to help others.

25 thoughts on “Parting is such sweet sorrow.

  1. Ms. Quinson, this has been an amazing year and I have learned so much. Everything you have wrote and said is true. Happiness can only come when you help others. Thank you so much for teaching us.

    • I have learned so much. I learned how to read difficult texts and analyze them. I learned how to write much better, and I can see the improvements from the beginning of the year to now. Happiness is what we attain by helping. Personally, Ms. Quinson has been helping me ever since I started the speech contest in middle school. She taught me so much and her way of teaching helped me remember things so much better. Her teaching style helps create a comfortable environment for all and she makes us enjoy things we would normally dread. She makes everything easy to understand and fun! She take lessons that most teachers explain with notes and turn them into exciting things like debates, mini-movies and even the Socratic seminar. Ms. Quinson is, by far, the best English teacher anyone can ever have.

  2. How do I start this? It’s our last blog of the year, so here we go. From this passage from Ms. Quinson, I learned a lot. One thing Ms. Quinson does great is connect with her students on a personal level, and this is exactly what she did here. She explains that the key to happiness does not come from personal gain or from within, but instead from helping others. I think this is the key reason why Ms. Quinson is the best English teacher I have ever had. She is just so outgoing and helping. She basically transformed the way I write and I want to thank her for that. As a whole, I think she made us better people as well. Just think, on the first day of school, we were all still a bunch of annoying seventh graders completely freaked out because of this class. But over the course of time everyone loosened up and this class became a place to go to and relax. A lot of us became great friends, and I’ll be sad to see that go when many people go to a different high school than me next year. Everyone said that Ms. Quinson’s class was hard, and in ways I agree. But her class was one heck of a ride and I wouldn’t give it up for a minute. I’m sure next year’s class will be the same way. Nervous seventh graders that ultimately come to love English class. But it sure won’t be as fun as this year. No chance. Overall, I’m glad Ms. Quinson gave us this advice and on this last blog I would like to say thank you to Ms. Quinson for giving us an awesome year with some great memories.

    • Great blog! I completely agree with how you said that Ms. Quinson connected with us on a personal level. I also agree with how you said that she helped transform your (and probably everyone else’s) writing. I know for a fact that my writing is much MUCH better than it was when I first came into 8th grade. I would say keep up the good work, but we won’t have blogs anymore. Keep up the good work anyway! 🙂

  3. Last blog of the year! I really liked Ms. Quinson’s message; don’t look for happiness, instead, help others, and happiness will find you. I really enjoyed English this year. Ms. Quinson made class fun even when we were trying to analyze Great Expectations (which should have been impossible. How can one have fun reading Dickens without her?). Ms. Quinson helped us through Shakespeare and Ethan Frome, too. I am very very very glad that she finds happiness in teaching us. I know many people who do not enjoy their jobs and regret their decisions. Ms. Quinson loves teaching us and in happy, which is very rare. I think that more teachers should be like Ms. Quinson. If that were the case, we would all learn so much and would all be in heaven. Ms. Quinson always seems to teach us something new, even if it’s completely off topic. I always find myself looking forward to third period every single day. One thing (out of many) that I loved about this class was that we read through books with a fast pace, but still managed to hit all the key points. I know other classes take forever to read a single book that should have taken a few days, maximum. We always had a decent amount of homework, and our topics on the blog were always very interesting and sparked conversations. I am very happy that Ms. Quinson finds pleasure in teaching. After all, that’s what makes her the best English teacher in the universe. THANK YOU MS. QUINSON I WILL MISS YOU VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!!!😻😻😻😻

    • How can one have fun reading Dickens? This seems impossible. This is a question Arina asked in her blog, and I agree entirely with her in that Ms. Quinson makes the unthinkable happen. Not only did I enjoy Dickens, but I enjoyed going to English class. I am fine with school but, in previous years, English teachers would intimidate me. Ms. Quinson created a comfortable environment where I felt free to speak my mind. I am also happy that Ms. Quinson has just as much pleasure as I do coming to class. I’ll see some of you in, high school and I hope you all enjoy your future jobs just as much as Ms. Quinson enjoys her current one.

    • Arina,
      I remember that we first met in this class, and I’m so glad we did! We have so much fun together, growing and learning! We help each other through everything! I am hopeful and very sure we will keep in touch! I really loved having you for my first friend in class after being sick for so long. You already helped a person, me! When I was a little down, I’d see you and see your happiness!!! It radiated through me, and it made me a better person. You are one of the most geniunely awesomely special friends I have ever known. You remind of Mrs. Quinson with your light and your brightness! When I felt I was alone, I had you to be my companion! I know we will always be friends, no matter what!

  4. I can’t believe that this is our last blog! It feels like only yesterday when we were struggling to keep up with Great Expectations. This year was amazing. While some of the work was hard, I have gotten closer with so many different people. I think happiness is something that everyone wants to find and live by. However, the answer to obtaining happiness was never really discovered. Ms. Quinson made an extraordinary discovery. Happiness comes from helping others. I agree that we should all just live our life helping others, and happiness will find its way to us! We shouldn’t focus on obtaining happiness, because focusing on getting it, will not bring it to you. Thank you all for this amazing year! ahhhhh I’m gonna miss everyone

  5. It has been a pleasure being able to experience everything this year in English class. Back in September, I was nowhere near the level of writing that I am at now. I have learned a bunch about essays and the like. Sometimes we wonder what the point of school even is, but in this class we asked questions pertaining to gigantic topics that really matter like life and happiness. If there’s one lesson I’ll carry with me, it’ll be that I shouldn’t look for happiness, but let it come to me by helping others.

  6. I can’t believe we have reached the end of our eight grade english year. I truly don’t know what to say, other than thank you to my peers, and especially Ms. Quinson. English has always been a subject that has come easily to me, and this year truly gave me the foundation for a successful english career. Not only have I learned about sentence structure and how to tackle hard literature, I’ve also learned life lessons. Ways to create a structured argument, love, impulsivity, and what makes us all human. So I truly mean it when I thank you, Ms. Quinson. You have been taught us wonderfully and made our class one of a kind. I’ve never had a teacher connect to us so much in the way that you did. I’ll never forget this class.

  7. This year has been fantastic and has gone by so quickly. As I’m writing my 87th blog, I’m thinking back to my first one where I felt I would be overwhelmed by this English 9H class. Instead, with the help of Ms. Quinson, I have blossomed into a much better English student, as well as a better student and person. I have learned many important and actually useful things, which are nowhere to be found in any other class. We discussed real-life topics, essay strategies, and advice for our future. Thank You Ms. Quinson, for being the best English teacher I’ve ever had (by far) and helping me understand that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. The way you engaged with the class and connected with your students made this year an incredible experience. Above all, the person you are makes you special. No one else that I’ve seen is as kind as you are. It is clear that you want to help others, and not only focus on yourself. I can promise you that you easily accomplished that goal, more than you ever thought was possible. Thank you so much Ms. Quinson for all that you have done to help me this year! I’ll come back to visit.
    {87 blogs-30,907 words}

  8. Ms. Quinson you have been an excellent teacher. Beyond a doubt, you have been my favorite English teacher. Beside your positive attitude and radiant energy, you’re my favorite because of how much you have made me learn. Every single one of my essays you fill with comments on how to improve. In every story we read, you help us find hidden meanings and interpretations. You always find time to sneak in essential lessons of necessary skills, like grammar and debate. Furthermore, the discussion never ends in class, you are the first teacher I know of who allowed us to learn and talk to other students outside of the short class periods through our blog. I wish all students had equal access to your knowledge. Other 9H English students have to read each novel painstakingly slowly and still don’t get the information we do. Because of all the benefits we gained from you, it is only fair that you enjoyed teaching us. Before I end my final blog, there is a famous quote I would like to share. “To say goodbye is to die a little.” (Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye) So instead of saying goodbye, I am just going to say “see you soon,” and hopefully I will.

  9. I can’t believe that it’s the last day of the school year. Even more, I can’t believe it’s my last blog. You’ve taught us so much. I learned about author’s craft, I learned how to improve my writing, and I learned how to look deeper into the text. But more than that, you’ve taught me to be myself. To develop my own ideas, and more than that, to be proud of them. And it really pains me to say goodbye to this English class. You have made this class, by far, the most enjoyable English year I’ve ever had throughout both middle and elementary school. And it really sucks that this year has to end. It was a lot of fun. But I get to walk away with all the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the course of the past 9 (and almost-a-half) months. And so I thank you. And who’s to say we won’t meet again in the future? As Charles Dickens said in The Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”

    • Great blog Arjun! I do have to say for myself that it is a little bitter sweet because I’m so sad to leave but typing this, I’m a little bit happy that this is our last blog! It’s been a long time coming but it was all worth it. Nice job!

  10. Mrs. Quinson, thank you for teaching me this year. My skills in reading and writing have drastically improved, and this year’s course has helped me develop much more than any past English class had before. This class was not the standard English class of writing essays and paragraphs and taking memorization tests. Your true effort was shown in every lesson you taught, which is something rarely seen today. Thank you for all you have done for me.

  11. I would just like to say that I am so beyond thankful that I got to be apart of this class with you as such an amazing teacher this year Ms. Quinson and everyone else in this great class. I can’t believe that we’re at the end of our year together and I’m honestly so proud of everyone for getting through this year and for being able to all work so easily together. From the beginning with Great Expectations to the end with Of Mice and Men. I can definitely see a difference in who I am as a student and a writer and I for sure credit a lot of that growth to Ms. Quinson. I feel as though I have accomplished a lot this year and done a lot more than I ever thought was possible. I mean think about it, I didn’t think going into this, that by the end of the year I would be able to say that I had memorized Shakespeare, debated and created a website. I’m going to miss everyone in this class a lot and I quite possibly would be a different person and for sure a different student if I didn’t get lucky enough to be in this class expressing different ideas with all of these amazing people. So thank you so much Ms. Quinson for having one of the biggest hearts and being the best teacher that I have ever had. Thank you for pushing each and every one of us to take that extra step and extra thought so that we could do something beneficial for ourselves. Hope that you all enjoyed yourself as much as I did, because I really loved this class so much. Thank you so much Ms. Quinson, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we’re glad you chose to be a teacher all those years ago. Have a great summer, can’t wait to come back and visit!

    • Ryan, I am going to miss you so much. You have helped me out throughout this class and were always there when I was struggling to help explain things to me (even though they were usually very simple). I don’t know what I’m going to do without you next year. Good luck at North, and always remember, you are welcome at South.

  12. Dear Mrs. Quinson,
    With all the struggles and hardship that came with the year, I couldn’t have asked for anything better than this class. The maturity of the students, and the way you taught brought us from a 2- dimensional understanding of not just Writing and English, but life, into a whole new perspective. All the hardwork and love that was put into this class all year really helped me understand my path unto the pursuit of happiness, the way to help others, to cure the ailments of the heart. This wasn’t just an English class, but a life class. Nobody has taught me more in my whole life than you and the experience throughout this and last year. The books we read, and topics we discussed helped the growth and development of mine and my classmates’ maturity. New friendships blossomed from your class. I remember meeting my best friend, Arina for the first time in your class! I remember being sick at home, reading Great Expectations and thinking: ” Wow, wouldn’t it be great to see Mrs. Quinson and her students in the classroom!” The time that I spent was priceless with everyone here, and I learned many life lessons. I’ve always known that no matter how hard it is that I made the best choice to take 9H! This was the best preparation for life that I have ever gotten! The way you have connected to everyone on such a personal level really helps bring the messages from all our learning into the lime light. I learned that no matter what, even when you’re down and sick, you can always enrich yourself, and you can always give back. This year was the best year of my career in school so far! I really wish for the best for everyone in the classroom!

    Thank you for the wonderful knowledge,

    Shine On!
    Mia Bronfman

  13. I know I did this blog late, but I forgot and the i remembered while I was putting my head down on my pillow. Anyways, I loved your essay and your voice over! Throughout I have doubted myself countless times. I thought that “this is too hard” or “I’m gonna fail this”. But I never failed, and it turned out it wasn’t too hard. I’ve learned so much by coming into your class 3rd period every day and just talking. That’s all we did most of the time. But everyone was so smart and Mrs.Quinson would add in and help us understand. I’ve also learned how to analyze(thank the heavens for auto correct) hard texts like Dickens and Shakespeare in a way I never knew I could. One way I knew this was by watching Finding Nemo. When I was little and even at the beginning of the year, it was just Nemo was lost and his dad is finding him. Mrs.Quinson has teached me to get the “so what” out of that and everything else. This year was challenging and there were nights where I fell asleep while reading Great Expectations. But it was all so worth it. Looking back on everything we’ve done this year, I’m sad it’s coming to an end. I will truly miss everyone in the class and Mrs.Quinson’s happy attitude all the time. I remember thing on the first day of class “Yay! I have a little happy elf as my English teacher” I wasn’t wrong. Mrs.Quinson, thank you so much for putting up with me and my questionable statements. Sometimes the we’re so wrong, we’ll most of the time actually now that I think about it. I will miss you Mrs.Quinson, Good Bye.

  14. Thank you for the wonderful year Ms. Quinson. I learned so much because of you. School had removed my motivation to write, but because of you that motivation is back again. Although are days together have passed, I wish to see you again in the future. Despite what everyone said, I thought that all your book choices were wonderful. It was a bit hard to catch up with the big amounts of homework, but they were really amazing. Because of you, I’m able to read books that are out of my comfort zone, and my writing skill has been increased. Once again, thank you for the wonderful year, and have a great summer. Goodbye.

  15. I am beyond thankful to be part of this amazing class with an amazing teacher. I have made so many bonds with other students in this class that I hope to never lose. And Ms. Quinson, you are the best teacher I have has in my entire life. You made class fun, but still challenged us to do our best. I am so proud of all of us for getting through this class. I know there were times when I thought it was too much and I wanted to drop, but I didn’t and I am so glad I made that decision. From Great Expectations to To Kill a Mockingbird to Shakespere to Of Mice and Men I have seen how this class has grown. This class has been my favorite class I have ever been in, despite how hard the course was. I am about to cry writing this because I am going to miss this class so much. Ms. Quinson, thank you for putting all of your time and energy into us being the best students possible and helping us to grow. You have taught me lessons that I will take on to high school. I don’t know what I would do without you in my life. Bye everyone and good luck in high school.

  16. I just want to say that I have learned so much this year. I have learned how to truly do hard work. I have also learned to love literature and find the deeper meaning behind it. I think that Ms. Quinson’s ideas of happiness are very important. Both of my parents went to college to become accountants, but once they actually became accountants, they absolutely hated it. I think my parents realized the same thing as Ms. Quinson, that they would be much happier helping people. Now my mom is an IV nurse at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and my dad is an assistant principle. Learning from them, I know that whatever career I pursue, I want to be happy and enjoy my job, that is what is most important. My favorite parts of class were our creative projects, and those are the ones I put the most time and effort into, like our Maycomb newspapers and the shakespeare scene. I think I will be most happy in a creative field where I can work on projects like that, and I am so happy we were able to do that in class this year. I am going to miss this class so much, and I am so happy we learned so much and had a great time.

  17. Wow. I’m definitely going to miss this class. For some reason, we all seemed to be interested in whatever we were learning (with Ethan Frome being an exception). As a class, each of us brought a different energy, and that is what made the class so much fun. Each day always had at least one laughable moments with it. This class was a group that was especially enjoyable for me, and I hope all of you other folk feel the same.

    As for our wonderful teacher, this part is for her:

    Ms. Quinson, I don’t know how I can thank you enough for everything you’ve done. You’ve motivated me to read more, challenge myself, and always put everything I can into my work. You taught me how to write essays that had insight and weren’t boring. You showed me that vocabulary flash cards are 100% the way to go on vocabulary tests, and that they are so easy to make. You showed me how to view different sides and make connections to deepen my understanding. And to add to all that, you showed me how to express my own views and thoughts in not only the most intelligent way, but also the most effective way. I don’t know how I could repay you other than buying you a new car. You’ve given me knowledge that will stick with me for life, so maybe I’ll have to buy you a few cars as they get old.

    As always, I love this class and will miss all of you so much. For the final time, it’s Matt Feliciano. Good luck everyone.

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