To My Teacher,
Most teachers chose their profession because they were passionate about a topic and wanted to bring that passion into young peoples’ lives. They might have even had a high school teacher or college professor who inspired them to find their passion. That is the person you were to me.
I came into your class unsure of myself and unsure of where I wanted to go. It was coming on the time in my life where I had to make so many decisions about my future, and I truly didn’t feel ready. And you saw that in me. Without every directly saying it, you made it your mission to help me find what I cared about. Within a week, I was talking to you after class about current events and extra credit assignments.
Your class could have been miserable. First of all, I knew most of the material like the back of my hand before the semester started. Secondly, many of my classmates were people who had spent years treating me like garbage, and I knew I would never want to speak up in class. But you made sure I felt included. You brought up topics that were slightly above our level to give me a chance to learn. You called on me when you knew I had something to say but was afraid to say it. You announced my name to the class when I had made an interesting point to you and you felt it needed to be shared. Most importantly, you stood up for me when other students said nasty things.
Even though you could’ve simply taught facts and statistics, you didn’t. You were enthusiastic every day, and you taught us more about why the subject matter was so important to you and to us than any other teacher I have ever known. Tests, essays and scores were secondary, but you spent hours crafting those assignments so that they would help us learn in the best way possible while still not overloading our schedules. We may have been in our late teens, but you still brought treats and games in some days because you knew we needed to have fun. Thank you for that.
Thank you for spending all those extra hours running extracurricular activities. Thank you for staying up all night to write tests and create fun, educational assignments for kids whose other teachers just handed them papers to write and books to read. Thank you for taking the time to discuss my passions with me because they aligned with yours. Thank you for saying “I think you can do it” whenever I expressed a goal. Thank you for always being there, even after graduation, to guide me through a challenge. Most of all, thank you for helping me find what I loved and always encouraging me to follow that passion.
You are the first person who comes to mind when I get asked who my role model is in interviews, even though I have graduated. Your passion for not only your subject matter, but also your life is so inspiring and contagious. Never lose that.
Your Former Student