"You canít watch the little actors without wanting to cry.   Why do you cry?
I suppose it's happiness, really, and a regret that not all the children in the world could have a Rafe Esquith for a teacher."
- Sir Ian McKellen
Real Talk for Real Teachers: Advice for Teachers from Rookies to Veterans: No Retreat, No Surrender!
Real Talk for Real Teachers:"
Advice for Teachers from Rookies to Veterans: "No Retreat, No Surrender!"
Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World
Lighting Their Fires:
Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World
Rafe Esquith - Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56
Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire:
The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56
Rafe Esquith - There Are No Shortcuts
There Are No Shortcuts

September 16, 2019

Dear Friends:

Jan Miller died today. As with everything Jan ever did, she left the world with courage and dignity.

If you receive this note, you were one of the thousands of adults who spent time with The Hobart Shakespeareans.

Perhaps you were given food and drink in the class; you might have been a visiting teacher who was provided a plane ticket or hotel room; you may have had computers, musical instruments, or books bought for your classroom; most likely, you simply marveled at the remarkable character of the students in Room 56 as you watched a performance.

Jan was responsible for so much of what you witnessed. She was not merely a financial supporter. She spent time in the class and on the road with us. She knew all the students by name and continued to correspond with them when they went off to college.

Philip Glass once remarked, "We talk about mindfulness, but we're not very mindful, most of us." Jan Miller was full of mind. And heart. And soul. And decency. She quietly and humbly always did the right thing.

I spoke with Jan just three days before she died. Suffering from terrible pain, she was determined to make sure all of the current and future Hobart Shakespeareans were taken care of before she passed.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout sadly recounts, "Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We had never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad."

Jan Miller did more than put back into the tree. She grew an entire forest.

- Rafe