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.

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.


A Student Whose Life You Changed

Cover Image Credit: twitter.com/AlleganHS

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7. In middle school, you watched a lot of reality dating shows.

8. Abercrombie and Hollister were so "in," but your mom always pushed for Gap or Old Navy.

9. Had to have one... or five.

10. You probably have a lot of memories from the skating rink.

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An Open Letter To My Youngest Self

From, the young adult finding comfort in the past while lost in the present.


Dear future big person,

Speaking from experience, the world is a crazy place. It's sad, yet exciting to know what the future holds for you. The world has been taken over by devices and electronics most never thought were possible.

If you're wondering why I'm writing to you, it's because I care a lot more now than I did back when I was you. I'm your Marty McFly, here to tell you how to prepare for the future. (Don't ask me what that reference is –you figure it out!).

For starters, let's talk about this technology thing. Gameboys, Nintendo DS', Wiis, Xboxes –don't mess with them. Television is fine –if the people from the Cold War survived it, we can, too. I want you to spend time enjoying the real world, not the electronic, fake one.

I want you to go outside and sit in the grass, pick those dandelions and mash them up into "paint." Paint mom something nice and maybe go for a bike ride with dad. Catch lightning bugs at dusk and bottle them all up in a mason jar. Eventually, let them free, all together.

Your brother is gross and weird, but he actually turns out to be a pretty cool kid. You don't have to be all mushy with him, but be sure he knows you love him. After all, he is family.

Make friends in the neighborhood, even if they are boys. So what? Challenge them. Race them on your bike with awesome purple and white streamers drifting from the handlebars. Push hard, through the soles of your Sketchers covered feet.

Pick up a piece of chalk and create a world of your own world with 3,000 Toys R Us stores, one police station, and only a few stop signs. Create and color your own flowers, whether they actually exist or not. Let your imagination run wild!

Turn on the radio and dance like crazy! Scream the lyrics to Smashmouth's "All Star" and Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape." Change the station every now and then to hear something new; it's always interesting to see your reactions to these interesting creations.

I want you to wear what you feel like and don't care what the others say about you. If you want to wear your purple dress-up shoes with your matching purse and hat, then do it. If you want to wear a Hula skirt in the dead of winter, do it (but please bring some leggings so mom doesn't flip out). If you want to wear those bedazzled jeans, then rock 'em.

If you're wondering why I'm telling you to do these silly things, it's only because we lost these traits along the way. I don't want you to miss the experiences that only come from the natural world because you had your head stuck in a tablet; it will all pass you in the blink of an eye.

I don't want you to ever feel trapped inside your house, no matter the weather. There is always a way out.

Don't let other people stop you from getting something you want. Don't let them intimidate you or talk you out of something you are passionate about.

Your friends will be the people you escape to when the house seems inescapable. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.

Your imagination is one of the greatest gifts you'll ever have. It drives you –your hopes and dreams, your wishes in the fountain and your kisses to the dandelions. Don't ever stop chasing them.

Always, always do what you want to do. You sing karaoke to that super catchy song because you know you'll kill it. Wear what you want however you want because you know that you look good in some strange way. (As long as you're not naked, that is). Stubbornness is good.

Your family will always be your family. What they do affects you, and vice versa. Bring them good, positive news. They don't need any more trouble.

Stand up for yourself, for your friends and family, for your beliefs and wishes. Be proud of the work you do and the life you live. Many people around you wish they could have lived like you did.

Most importantly, do not let your past define your future. A lot of things will happen, some of which may or may not go horribly wrong. There is nothing you can do to stop these things, except hope. You can always change for the better as long as you don't look back. Be proud of your past, but be known for your future –whatever you want that to be.

Please, promise me these things. I can't stress enough how important it is for you to never lose these traits –hold them tightly and never release them. I can't tell you how this life is going to go, because that simply isn't the way this world works. Just breathe through it and listen to your gut –that's the future guiding you.

I, and many others, love you –your character, your curls, your studded jeans,your pink Power Ranger costume, your Hello Kitty backpack, and your goofy smile.

Don't ever forget that.

With love,

The Girl Who Is Lost And Trying To Turn Back Time.

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