To my teachers and professors that believed I could do better,

When your class started, you weren't my favorite. Mostly because, like many high schoolers, I wanted to get an easy A.

However, you were passionate and taught me that the easy A's weren't nearly as satisfying as working hard to earn the grades (even if it was a B). You weren't one teacher or professor, but a handful of different people who wanted to share knowledge and genuinely push your students to succeed.

I didn't appreciate your efforts like I do now. At the time, I really wanted to sit next to my best friends and do things my way. I didn't understand why I could never make the best grades in your classes, which eventually forced me to put in better quality attempts. But teens need more structure in their lives and some tough love every once in a while. I know I needed it.

Even though I talked in your class a lot, I still enjoyed all the subjects that we covered. Like the adventures of Odysseus and how photosynthesis works.

A fifteen-year-old me wasn't aware of how much your lessons would stick with me, or just how rude it was to pass notes during the lecture you spent all night composing.

In my school, most of us wanted to fly under the radar and coast through classes. But some teachers strived to reach out to students with lesson plans that were designed to be interactive and creative.

You were one of those.

The expectations promoted us to get involved with the community and to believe in ourselves through hard work.

Did you ever have one of those classes where the middle of the semester would sneak up and suddenly you realize that you will really miss that class, with the same classmates, teacher, and lessons? I did.

I'm so grateful to have had the chance to be faced with challenges that allowed me to better myself during teen years. I'm sure most people are able to think of at least one teacher who pushed them and one they maybe even ended up admiring by the end of the semester that they didn't want to end.

All the teachers who bust their butts to be the driving force of positivity and, at times, the bad guy for the greater good- thank you! I know your job isn't the easiest. You changed our lives, even if you don't know it.

Small acts of kindness and encouragement can go a long way. Especially for teens who need extra support.

You created an environment where students could thrive, academically and socially, and you should've gotten a daily award. Because teaching large groups of adolescents with raging hormones is one impressive feat.

You go above and beyond to ensure you're doing everything you can to see your students succeed.

You are the unsung heroes of our communities.

I thank you for helping me find balance when I didn't have my own, for inspiring so many students to never give up, and for believing in me when I didn't.

Oh, also for giving an occasional curve on the cumulative exams.

Sincerely,

A thankful but talkative student.