A Letter To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

A Letter To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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To the greatest teacher, I’ve ever had,

It seems almost impossible to me that it was a little over four years ago that I stepped foot into your classroom for the first time -- an apprehensive freshman, terrified of what was to come in high school.

I was lucky enough to have you as my homeroom teacher all four of those high school years. Walking into your classroom on my first day helped put some of my worries at ease. There wasn’t a bare space on the walls. I looked around and saw magazine clippings of animals, cicada shells, bookshelves lining the whole room, and that wasn’t even the half of it. Your classroom didn’t feel like a traditional classroom -- it felt comfortable, it felt welcoming. And before me stood the woman who, unbeknownst to me at the time, would become someone I looked up to for years to come.

Before high school, I didn’t enjoy taking English classes. I hated writing -- it frustrated me to no end. That was until I had your class, first hour, Early World Humanities. It amazed me how someone could make something as boring as studying for a vocab quiz so fun. Before I knew it, I began looking forward to coming to school, something I had never experienced before. And around this time, my love for writing began to grow. The next two years I continued to have you as my homeroom teacher but, unfortunately, didn’t have any of your classes.

Fast forward to senior year. I was ecstatic knowing I got to have you as a teacher again for AP Lit. I remember not wanting to participate in senior skip days because it meant missing your class. Around this time was really when my writing prospered -- this is when I realized how much I loved to write. I’m extremely thankful that you always encouraged us to submit our writing to contests, and your genuine enthusiasm when we would tell you we were published or placed in a contest meant so much to not just me, but everyone who had the privilege of having you as a teacher.

I guess after this trip down memory lane what I really want to say is, thank you. Thank you for everything you did for us throughout your career. Thank you for making class fun and not just teaching by the book. Thank you for your creativity, thank you for your encouragement, thank you for your positivity, thank you for being you. You were more than just a teacher to us; you were a role model, someone we all aspired to be.

If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be writing this article. The last time I saw you I came to your classroom after graduation to come get a book that one of my poems had placed in (again, thank you for encouraging me to submit it). I remember telling you my plans for college and trying my hardest not to cry knowing I had to say goodbye to the woman who welcomed me my first day of high school with a smile on her face and made me feel welcome. Even though my major has nothing to do with writing, you told me to keep at it. And if it wasn’t for your encouragement, I wouldn’t have applied to write for Odyssey -- you wouldn’t be reading this article right now. I would have never continued to pursue my love for writing if it wasn’t for you, and for that I can’t thank you enough.

I don’t miss a lot about high school, but I will forever miss having you as a teacher. I’ll miss the scary stories the class would tell on Halloween. I’ll miss the wall of questions that would consume the hallway to the lunchroom every spring. I’ll miss all the hilarious YouTube videos you used to show us in homeroom to pass the time (especially the goats and sheep song). I’ll miss reptile day. Most of all, I’ll miss you.

Thank you for being more than a teacher to all of us throughout high school, you changed the lives of more students than you know.

Sincerely,

A Student Whose Life You Changed

Cover Image Credit: twitter.com/AlleganHS

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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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Being Unemployed For A Whole Year Gave Me The Break I Needed To Focus On Myself

This is the formula I need for personal gain from the time I lost working part-time retail.

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So, it's official: according to Facebook, by last week, it has been exactly a year since I posted a message about leaving my second (and hopefully my last) part-time retail job at Staples, where I worked for up to six months right after my first job at Stop & Shop, where I worked for a little over two years. Suffice it to say, I have had enough with retail at that point (at any place other than my dream store Barnes & Noble) among other reasons.

I have been out of work since then for a whole year!

Now, don't take that last statement as one of pure excitement from being out of a job for a whole year, which was not my original plan, mind you. Over time, it has proven to be a double-edged sword for me personally.

At the time when I quit Staples, it was mostly because I didn't have to do any more mundane tasks that working retail (and customer service) required me to do, which all grew to be more tiring and grueling to me. Though I knew I wasn't going to be there forever, I still felt empty and unsatisfied and needed to get out.

That was the same feeling I had while working at Stop & Shop, but at that time, I used the opportunity to work at Staples as my excuse to bolt out of there, thinking that it might get me closer to my chance to work at Barnes & Noble (just across the street) and would somehow get better, since I would mainly be working with office supplies and not with food. However, it only proved to be more of the same.

This time around, my excuse for quitting Staples was that it gave me the opportunity to devote more time to my studies and my family. Although I partially benefitted from this reasoning, I still felt restless with myself and hopeless in my job search that didn't involve retail. While I thought that an internship at a major publishing company would have been great for an English major like me, and to get some cash rolling in after months of coming up nothing, because of frantic prepping for final papers, I missed out on the early deadlines for those internships.

And like hell I'm going back to retail.

So, that left last summer completely wide open, void of any work, which just a few years earlier would have been awesome for me, but the constant reminders from my family (as well as deep down inside) to get out and work as an adult would do kept looming over me and sucking most of any joy that I tried to get out of it. While I did apply (again) to Barnes & Noble and actually got an interview at the end of that summer, I was turned down for someone else, someone with 10 years of retail experience, a fraction of which I had and for which I mostly suffered.

After all this time, I realized that while it was nice not stressing about how my work schedule won't conflict with my school schedule and all the personal time in-between, as well as the menial tasks that didn't do me any personal service won't conflict with my schoolwork, I still needed to keep myself busy but with a job/internship that I actually enjoy and to which I can give my all. This is the formula I need to gain back all the life I lost working part-time retail.

So, now it's exactly a year since I quit my last job (and got my last paycheck) and this time, I will be taking advantage of the opportunity that presented itself to me: I went along with SBU's Career Center team to an on-site event at Penguin Random House, where I learned about the different jobs within the publishing business as well as the different deadlines for the different internship programs offered there. I couldn't be more psyched for a working position that couldn't be more perfect for me!

My state of unemployment and restlessness will soon be over!

This long job journey of mine has been a bumpy one, but my perfect fit job is just around the corner and this time, I am not afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve to get it. Though there are definitely some things I would've liked to have done differently, while it did take me a long time to reach this point, I needed at least some time to reflect on what I did wrong in my past jobs, as well as my breaks in-between and afterward, so that I'll be more careful with myself next time.

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