To The Teachers Who Give Something More

To The Teachers Who Give Something More

A letter to the heroes in the classroom.
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In high school, I'm more than certain that we've had at least one teacher that we absolutely adored, possibly even enough to consider them a favorite.

I was fortunate to have several teachers like this, and it wasn't even in high school specifically. Most of the teachers I've had from grade school all the way up have impacted my life greatly and taught me much more than simply how to read. Every teacher I've ever had has memories that will stick with me forever -- some good, some bad -- and I, personally, wouldn't have it any other way. All of my teachers have been good me to and have done their best to teach me things both in and out of the classroom, and I must say every one of them has succeeded. With this being said, I'd like to take the time to focus on high school.

Four different teachers, four different years, five different classes.

I know that for my first couple years of high school, it was hard to get me to focus and even do my work, but you didn't give up on me. You didn't turn your head the other way because I wanted to be the class clown. You were hard on me, and rightfully so. I know that at the time of having any of the four of you, I was a little irritated with you getting on my case about things but, looking back, I know you only pushed me because you knew I could do it. You saw the potential in me that I didn't even know I had, let alone saw in myself. If it wasn't for you four, I wouldn't be here writing this article -- that many people will see, may I add -- for a type of social media platform that shares ideas and articles all over the world like a more sophisticated version of Buzzfeed. I hated your homework. I hated your projects. I hated your novels. But I see now that you weren't just trying to teach us the material, you were trying to get us to think. You wanted us to see things from more than one point of view. You wanted us to develop our own voices, our own characters. It was never about answering questions out of a packet, reading Shakespeare out loud in class, or even writing terrible poems. It was about applying ourselves, working through things with several ways to see one situation, expanding our vocabulary which would in turn expand our minds. You taught me so much more than grammar. You taught me so much more than how to pass a state test. I never knew that class discussions were just lessons on how to appropriately communicate ideas and opinions with others until I had to apply that in real time at work.

Every teacher, no matter what grade or what subject, has given us the tools we need to face the real world, and I can bet you that most of us don't even know it. At the time, I surely didn't. I thought teachers were just trying to torture us. I was wrong. Teachers are some of the most important people we will ever encounter in our lives. Without them, this world would be much worse than it is -- and I don't even mean just those who use the wrong "your" and "you're".

Cover Image Credit: Williams Alternative

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Intimidation Isn't Always What It Seems

Always ask yourself this question when feeling intimidated...

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A few months ago, I read something online that really stuck with me. I don't remember who said it, or where it came from, so my apologies for not accurately crediting the genius who spoke these words, but it said this:

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Growing up, you constantly find yourself in situations where you feel scared or uncomfortable. I don't think there's one person on the planet that can say that they didn't feel intimidated at one point or another growing up. Maybe it was by the "popular kids" or by a teacher or a supervisor. So many people can make you feel a certain way and it can be scary when you're a child growing up. Maybe you felt intimidated because they were bullies or they were a strong personality.

But after reading this quote, I started to think about every time in my life that I felt intimidated. Walking into a new job, taking a chance on writing, seeing a group of girls in the cafeteria - whatever it was, I thought of it. And my perspective completely changed.

It wasn't necessarily that the people who I was encountering or the situation I was entering was scary. In fact, most times, those people turned out to be incredibly welcoming and nice, or that situation was nothing but spectacular, but at that moment, I was completely intimidated. It was something new and the unknown can always be scary. But looking back, it wasn't that those situations and people were intimidating - it was that I was intimidated.

Being intimidated is completely natural. It'd be crazy to say 'hey, don't be intimidated' and expect people to actually feel comfortable. But it's something to think about moving forward when you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or even scared. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and let that timidness get the best of you but think of that question and realize that it's not necessarily the situation - sometimes it's you letting the situation get the best of you.

At the end of the day, people are just people. Everyone has boogers and everyone had good and bad days and to be honest, the people who others find intimidating are usually the ones who are just better at putting up a front. They're the ones who find having a hard exterior is easier than being vulnerable and letting others in. Don't let those people scare you. They're usually fighting a battle that they're taking out on the people around them - and that shouldn't scare you.

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Think about it, feel it, let it wash over you, and don't let those feelings get the best of you. Most of the best things in life are just past that line outside of your comfort zone.

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