Now, I know what you're thinking. How could middle school be the most influential period in a child's life? What on the surface might appear as a horrid combination of acne, braces, and glasses, middle school is truthfully so much more than meets the eye. Middle school is often a time many people would rather leave in the past. But, what people don't understand is that middle schools are magical. It's the time in your life where you can be anything you want "when you grow up" because you have more miles in front of you. A lot of that magic gets lost in high school hallways and is mistaken for dirt.

The other day I had the pleasure to revisit my old middle school after six years of absence. It was surreal to catch up with teachers like they were old friends I just hadn't seen in a while. Maybe this isn't the case for everyone, but the middle school I attended for those short three years has always had the most outstanding staff. I remember being a little middle schooler, the school walls feeling so tall around me. What I was yet to realize was that those walls feel tall for a reason. They feel tall because you have room to grow. That room to grow is essential to your teenage years. Without it, you become something you don't want to be.

A while back I was thinking about my middle school teachers and what fantastic listeners they were. My then minuscule problems used to take over me like volcanic eruptions. One minute fine and the next, boom. Unable to think about anything else. I took for granted how easy it was to confide in those teachers. I didn't realize how rare it is in life to find people who you can confide in just because they truly care. When you think about it, teachers get paid regardless of whether they handle every single one of your problems, but my middle school teachers were the exception. They helped me at every wrong turn, every fork in the road, and every life lesson there is to learn in middle school. From crushes on classmates to fights with friends, they always had my back.

I remember I had this one Social Studies teacher, who gave me the first of many D's on an assignment I did. I didn't take the time necessary to complete it, but I figured that I was a fairly good student and I would probably get a B or better on this paper. When my teacher returned the paper to me, a big red "D-" was at the top of it. I was outraged and upset because I had never received such a low mark on an assignment in my life. I went to talk to her after class and what she told me next I will never forget. She told me that I wasn't missing talent, but that I lacked the effort necessary to succeed.

After that, I worked harder than you would ever believe. I took my work more seriously and started to understand that no one is entitled to high marks, but that you earn high marks. At the time I felt like my 6th grade Social Studies teacher was out to get me, but what she was doing for me was truly beyond my comprehension. She was pushing me to succeed. She is the reason I am where I am. If she didn't tell me that I needed to work harder, I might have just given up on writing completely. Because of her, I'm the Editor in Chief for this wonderful company. Through words of encouragement, middle school teachers make a crazy amount of impact.

My middle school teachers were gods and goddesses in my mind. I looked up to them with a great deal of respect. Being a teacher has always been a coveted position in my mind, and it's all because I had great middle school teachers.

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This article is dedicated to all of my middle school teachers, but a couple deserve special recognition.

Ms. Palmer,

You believed in me from Day One. I know that I didn't always show my appreciation back then, but I promise you that your efforts have not gone unnoticed. I loved having you as a teacher (even if I didn't always show it) and you're a big part of where I am today. I will never be able to thank you enough.


Mr. Ransom,

You were a big part of the magic I mentioned in this article. You made learning so much fun (even if it was a subject I wasn't very great at, like Government) and I will never forget the stories you told us. You have had so much impact on my life. Thank you for sticking up for me and always believing in me.


Mr. Slater,

If I ever needed a laugh, something to take my mind off of, or even just someone to talk to, you were always there to help me. Your jokes would make my day, and I will never forget how human you treated us. You didn't treat me like I was small, and I appreciate that. I'm sorry again that I was so bad at math and that I asked so many questions.