I always conclude my dance classes by saying "thank you" to my students. Afterward, I hear a collective "thank you" in response. Then I'll typically have 4-5 students approach me to give thanks personally or give me a hug. Sometimes I'll have the older students who shout their appreciation as they leave or sometimes I'll get a message after class. I understand why they tell me thank you. As teachers, we give a lot of ourselves to our students on a daily basis. But I'm not entirely sure my students know why I give them my thanks and appreciation after every class.

You give every passing day worth. No matter how old you get, no matter how many years ago you graduated, you'll still be one of my "kids." I'll always love you as my own. I spend more time with you than my family. You give my life purpose and I look forward to spending time with you day after day. I never get tired of walking into the studio to see your bright smiles and hello's. Thank you.

You give me the opportunity to change you for the better. By letting someone like a dance teacher into your life, you're in for a lot of change. We'll challenge and push you to achieve things you never thought you could. You may have been nervous or anxious to let me in, but you did anyways. You gave me the chance to make a difference in your life. Thank you.

You trust me. I can't even imagine the number of times you've thought I'm absolutely nuts. But you never say anything. You never question me, my decisions, or my authority. You take in my instruction and listen to my words. You trust I have your best interest in mind and you should because believe me, I do. Thank you.

You give the most undeniable effort. You're here dancing 6 days per week. I know you're tired. But never once do I hear you complain. Never do I hear a sigh or huff of frustration or annoyance -- even when I pull "one more time" six times in a row (you know this is a "class dance teacher" line). If you're fatigued, I could never tell. You push so hard and never even consider marking the choreography. I keep you late, I say "do it again", and you just do it. No questions asked. Thank you.

You help me become a better teacher. I learn just as much from you as you learn from me. The countless lessons and take-aways are what help me be the best educator and role model I can be for you. Different strategies, patterns, and phrases to keep you on your toes challenge me to stay ahead, think differently, and improve my methods. Thank you.

You are a sure-source of happiness and laughter. How could I not be happy walking into a room of beautiful people who share the same passion as myself? Your intelligent questions, ability to retain corrections, and funny jokes leave me beaming. Don't even get me started on the joy I feel when the "light bulb" moment happens or when things just "click." It's indescribable. Thank you.

Your sacrifice of time and a social life doesn't go unrecognized. No time for homework, no time for sleep, or for anything outside of dancing. You have weekend rehearsals, 5-day competitions, conventions, and other commitments that don't leave you much time for anything else. Yet you still make the choice to be here, working hard. You come in on your one day off to practice. You struggle to memorize your tap steps in your bedroom at midnight. You spend your Friday nights in lessons with me taking corrections and perfecting your solo. You live and breathe dance. That isn't an easy feat being a teenager -- especially as you battle temptations. Thank you.

You respect me. You don't talk back. You don't roll your eyes (to my face at least). You take what I say, listen, and accept it. You make the necessary changes. You value my opinion and take my words as important and worthy of considering. Thank you.

You are always eager and excited to work hard. It really does make a huge difference. I thrive off of good energy and positive vibes in class. When you're just as excited as I am to have a productive and awesome rehearsal, we can only go up from there. Thank you.

You never fail to bring my visions to life. No matter how crazy and out of reach they seem, you still hear me out. You still support me and my ideas. You (somehow) take my unrealistic and risky concepts and bring them to life. You make my dreams a reality. Thank you.