A Letter To My High School English Teacher
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A Letter To My High School English Teacher

You gave me a voice through my words.

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A Letter To My High School English Teacher
Green Chameleon

To my high school English teacher,

Thank you. I have considered writing you so many times over the years but didn't know where to start or what all I would say. I hope this letter does my thoughts justice.

Everyone has a favorite teacher when they look back on their days spent in classrooms for countless hours. I must say I have had a few over all of the years, but you will always be the most influential. I'm sure you've inspired countless students over the years and will continue to inspire and influence so much more. I had you all four years of high school in different English and creative writing classes. You gave me a voice through my words. For that, I will always be grateful.

I struggled through schooling because I have dyslexia, a learning disability that greatly affected me in my younger years, and will always linger. I was constantly made to feel like I was stupid by a lot of teachers growing up, and I never really had a teacher I could open up to about my learning struggles until I met you. Dyslexia greatly impacted my reading and writing. I still use spell check on everything and mix up different forms of words. It's something barely noticeable now, but I was constantly self-conscious about it in school.

You were the most compassionate teacher I had ever met. You told me your office door was always open and you would help me after class with anything I needed. I want you to realize how much you taking the time to actually care about your students, like myself, means. You didn't see me as just another student in your class; you got to know who I was and pushed me to see the potential in myself. You gave me the confidence to excel in school, in areas I didn't see possible because of my learning disability. Thank you for actually wanting to be there for your students.

I survived an incredibly hard period of depression in high school because you taught me the power of words. The power of words was one of the reasons I was so depressed. Words on social media that were written to me or about me and words said to me by classmates in the hallway, they all haunted me. But words also had the power to free me, I learned. Thank you for teaching me the weight that can be carried with words.

My junior year of high school I started self-harming. I was trying to feel anything besides the numbness of my depression. I thought I could handle myself and my feelings, but it got to a point where I was terrified of myself and what I was capable of doing to myself. I didn't know where to go or where to turn to. That was, however, until I found a pen in my hand and paper under my aching wrists. I sat down and I wrote a letter, probably the hardest one I've ever had to write. You taught me to never be afraid to be vulnerable in my writings, so that is what I did. I wrote a letter to my parents asking them for help. Asking them to help me find closure on the emotional scars of my past that I had now physically etched into my skin. I didn't know what to do, so I wrote. I still wonder what would've happened if I hadn't written them that letter. You never knew this, but you helped develop my love for writing, and it was all I had to turn to in my time of need. Thank you for saving my life, without even knowing it.

You weren't just a normal English teacher. You also taught some pretty fantastic elective classes. I took one of your classes called "Harlem to Hip Hop," and you took us on a journey of music through different genres and eras. This was the moment I started listening to music, really listening. People don't always realize that hearing and listening are different. Everyone can hear music, but not everyone listens to the message it is conveying. This class is what made me into the "lyric girl." Some people hear the beat of the music and connect with the instruments, but I listen to the emotion of the lyrics and connect to the words being strung together. The best way for me to clear my thoughts and reset after a long day is to simply just walk and listen to music. Song lyrics are one of the most beautiful forms of writing to me. Thank you for teaching me to listen.

I didn't end up going to an Ivy League school, and I'm not in a masters program right now. I did not follow the path many of my classmates have. You were a teacher who understood there is so much to be learned from the world around us. You always encouraged us to explore and travel and learn from every experience in life. You never wanted us to think that learning stopped at the classroom door of a lecture hall. I realized just how right you were. I went to college out of high school, transferred, then did missionary work, and then just decided to work full time and save some money and move out. I currently work two jobs, live with a roommate, and am paying my way through school to work towards a degree for something I really want to do.

I used to think that this made me "behind" everyone else my age because they graduated already and are pursuing careers. I realized, though, just how much I have learned from not being in a classroom every day. For me, I honestly wouldn't change the past 6 years since I graduated high school. I needed to travel, I needed real world experiences to appreciate what I was taught, and I have still been continuing my education in and out of a classroom. Thank you for teaching me there isn't just one "right" way to learn.

I hope this letter finds you well. I hope that this makes you realize that what you do in that school is so incredibly important and will change lives. I know you probably have days you want to quit, I'm sure there are days you wonder why you do what you do. Everyone has those days right? I just had to let you know that everything you do in the walls of that school have great meaning that you won't even realize sometimes. Thank you for being one of the most influential people I've ever met.




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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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