Chances are you never were a student in Mrs. Levitt’s class.
But you may have known her anyway, if by a different name and in a different place and time. For I don’t know how many hundreds of us, she was that remarkable teacher whose lessons continued to resonate through the decades and throughout our lives. For I don’t know how many hundreds of us, she became a lifelong friend and inspiration.
That’s why, when we learned that her disease was terminal and her dementia rapidly progressive, a number of us created a Facebook group called “Mrs. Levitt’s Class,” where generations of her students compiled a sort of accidental anthology as a tribute, and a final “thank you.”
Over the course of her illness and beyond–a couple of years, as things turned out–the Facebook posts accumulated and formed what I think is a remarkable portrait of a remarkable person. Nearing the first anniversary of her death, we collected them all in a limited-edition book to make the commemoration more tangible, and also created an e-book version.
Today through Saturday, that e-book is being offered for free on Amazon, and it just might strike a chord even for those who never experienced Mrs. Levitt’s English classes, or the Great Books classes she conducted in her home for a couple of decades.
Brilliant, demanding, funny, piercingly honest, tirelessly committed, she was a rare teacher, to be sure. If you are lucky, though, you may have had such a teacher yourself somewhere along the way (or, luckier still, you may even be such a teacher).
On the chance that you’ll recognize her, let her other students and me tell you about Mrs. Levitt. . .