To my junior year English teacher,
As a former student and frequenter of your classroom, I have two words to say: thank you.
Thank you for working tirelessly not just on my behalf, but on the behalf of every single student who was lucky enough to take your class. We were tired, overworked teenagers at one of the toughest high schools in the country, crumbling under AP pressure and falling grades. Yet your classroom was a safe haven, a 50-minute escape from the stressors of the outside world. You did not pretend to understand what we were going through. You did not diminish our problems, or act as if getting into our dream colleges was easy. You facilitated an environment where the cutthroat competition was free from our minds, where the most important topic at hand was the meaning of the green light in The Great Gatsby. And for that much-needed break amidst the chaos of our lives, I could not be more grateful.
Thank you for helping me through the most excruciatingly challenging period of my high school experience.
All I needed was someone who cared, and you were there for me without hesitation. I'll never forget the lunchtimes and passing periods spent in your classroom, entrusting you with the broken bits and pieces that characterized my junior year life. You didn't know it, but at the time, I could count the number of trustworthy people I knew on one hand. You didn't know it, but I'd been let down before; your consistent kindness wasn't something I was used to. And you didn't know it, but every moment you spent listening to me meant the world.
Thank you for being one of the best role models I have ever known.
By being the strong-willed, sensitive, and confident woman that you are, you've epitomized the kind of personal success I hope to someday see out of my own life. In our STEM-oriented Silicon Valley town, where science majors are produced like parts on an assembly line, I'd always imagined success to look a lot different. But you showed me that the outspoken, sensitive girl who loved English and history could be triumphant too. You are living proof that that girl can go on to make an impact in the world, and I want you to know that.
Thank you for stepping above and beyond your role as a teacher.
You understood that five hours a week with teenagers during one of the most critical development periods of their lives is more than just preparing them for college - it's about preparing them for a meaningful life. As students, we enter your life for nine months and then abruptly exit, too rushed to even muster a goodbye. But among my peers, it was simply common knowledge that you were one of the good ones. Even the kids who slacked off during class and talked during your lectures appreciated you to their cores. We were tired, we were rude, and we weren't deserving of you, but we needed you. And the world as a whole needs a whole lot more like you.
Not many people can say that the woman who graded their papers was the woman who changed them for the better but I want you to know that your influence shaped me into the person I am today.
I am thriving in college and making strides in both my academic and professional lives. I want you to know that this letter speaks not only to my experience, but to the experiences of countless students who have walked through your classroom doors. I want you to know that if you ever feel down on yourself, you should remember how much you matter - most especially in the context of our high school. And, I want you to know that your impact on me is something that I will value forever.