To The Teachers Who Taught Me That Class Is More Than Passing Notes And Sitting Next To Your Friends

To The Teachers Who Taught Me That Class Is More Than Passing Notes And Sitting Next To Your Friends

Without you, we wouldn't be where we are now.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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High School Seniors Should Be Excited For College, Not Scared

Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.

Cassidy
Cassidy
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Going into the summer after my high school graduation, all I could think about was college, and how I was going to prepare to go to a new school and move away from home. Just know, it is not as stressful as you prepare yourself for it to be. You don't need to worry about not having any friends or not knowing how to get to all the different buildings because you have to remember everyone else on campus has been in the exact same position you are in, and there are tons of people on campus to help you.

One of the things I was most worried about was classes and how to know which classes to take. My advice is to go to counseling and plan out your classes before you register. Planning out classes will drastically help you stay on track and the counselors will help you make a balanced schedule that you can actually handle.

Another piece of advice would be to not bring as much stuff for your dorm as you think you will need. By all means, bring the essential things that you will need, but remember a dorm room is very small and you share it with another person. You won't have a ton of space for extra stuff and you want to have space to move around and actually live in your dorm.

Finally, if you are concerned about meeting people and making friends, just try and be as outgoing and open as possible. Everyone else in the dorms is just as nervous as you are too meet people, it really helps to try to branch out. Joining clubs or greek life also helps you meet people around campus with common interests as you.

College is not something to be scared of. Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.

Cassidy
Cassidy

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