An Open Letter to All My Previous Teachers

An Open Letter to All My Previous Teachers

Thank you all so much.
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As a new freshman in college, I’m going to go through many professors in the next four years of my life. Making connections with them and determining who will be the ones who help me through the next four years, and who will just be another professor who teaches me for a quarter (my school runs on quarters, not semesters), will be difficult- but I’ve already found a few teachers whom I really want to keep in touch with.

But, before I even got here, I realized the ones who got me to where I am- my high school, middle school, and elementary school teachers. They were the ones who set up my success and had to teach me based on how well the previous teacher taught and hope that all the students did well in the previous year- especially in math. I was lucky that I got teachers who motivated me and always helped me without a second thought. But, I also had the teachers who made it difficult to learn and killed my motivation to try and do well in it, even when I wasn’t that great at the subject- like math (even though I was a grade ahead) and physics.

During my senior year of high school, towards the end of the year, I wanted to write a thank you letter to each of the teachers I had during my high school career. I only had 2 teachers who weren’t there anymore, and had a few teachers I had multiple years (i.e. foreign language, choir, P.E.). So, it made it a huge task, but something I felt like I should do. But, I never did. Now I have my chance.

To all my elementary school teachers: You were the ones who set me up for success originally. Without such great elementary school teachers, I couldn’t do even the simplest of things- reading, writing, math. Not only that, but you also in a way have to act as parents. You teach us social skills, make sure we’re taken care of when we get hurt, teach us discipline, and make sure we learn to be overall good people. You quickly learn where our strengths and weaknesses academically are and help us do better where we’re weak, make sure we get the help we need to keep up with the material; but also motivate and encourage us in our best subjects. I still keep in contact with many of my old elementary teachers, but many of them are retired now. Either way, without having them, I wouldn’t have known the basics and could never have moved on to any sort of higher education.

To all my middle school teachers: You were the ones who took my basics and expanded them and started to shape them. You were with us while we were going through puberty and we were trying to figure ourselves out, and probably didn’t care too much about what was going on in class. But, still you stuck with us and tried to help many of us. Middle school kids are hard to deal with. Our personalities start to develop, cliques form, friends are lost and made. It’s very much the years where we start thinking of what others think of us, and start worrying about relationships. You guys have to compete with us to make sure we get an education, rather than focusing on ourselves. It’s not easy. But, at the same time, we do find teachers and classes that we fall in love with. Classes we’re willing to put the time and effort into doing well in and pay attention in because we want to or simply because we like it. This is when we start realizing what subjects we like and what we hate.

I know for me, I absolutely loved my choir and hand bells classes. Without those class and having an amazing teacher- who was like a mom to me- I know I wouldn’t have stayed sane during middle and high school. She encouraged my love for music and opened me to whole new one as well. I also had an amazing algebra teacher who always wanted to make sure we did well in his class. But, he taught it in such a motivating way. He encouraged us to always offer answers to solutions, because being wrong isn’t a bad thing, and to not be scared if you offer up an answer that no one else has- because it might be right. He helped during tests by helping us work through problems we didn’t understand, so we could get the best grade possible. I still remember to this day a quote he said when I told him thank you for offering tutoring (as I was struggling in his class), and he said, “Well, the grade you get on the report card doesn’t matter too much. I think people focus on that too much and they don’t really learn the material the way they should. I’d rather you get a C in my class, but be able to say that understand how to do everything, than get an A but have no idea what we’re doing.” I’m still so thankful to have had him as a teacher, whether he remembers me or not.

To all my high school teachers: Thank you for preparing me for college. You also have a hard job as well. It’s difficult to put up with high school teenagers. We’re really in a state of mind of usually thinking of ourselves, relationships, friendships, family problems, drama, and what others think of us. I’m happy to say that I worked hard in high school and connected with many of my teachers. But, high school teachers put up with a lot, and have to deal with students who truly don’t care about being there or how well they do, but also have to deal with students who may be smart but don’t try, or students who don’t do well but want try so hard to get good grades. I managed seven classes, and eight my senior year. I was a grade ahead math and excelled in English.

This didn’t mean I struggled though. I hated math, and had a teacher who killed my motivation to do well in the class and didn’t help me- the student teacher helped me more than she ever did. I hated physics and the teacher didn’t ever give much help when I asked questions- though I was lucky and was one of the only ones who excelled in that class (but I usually had no idea what was going on). But, I was lucky to have gotten amazing English teachers who was open to not only teaching, but was there to talk to us about personal problems. My AP Lang/Comp teacher opened me to learning everything, and really learning about what’s going on in the world, expanding my mind, knowledge, and opinions, but also learning how to give a proper argument. I hated writing so many essays, but I can truly say I enjoyed his class, and try to really learn about a subject before forming an opinion.

I got to learn American Sign Language because my school was lucky enough to have a teacher who was an interpreter for many years and also got a teaching degree. She opened me to a whole new world, culture, and way of looking at the Deaf community. I’m friends with a few deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and I’ve been able to teach a few of my friends some signs. It’s even come in handy with working with children, and gives me an ability to talk to other people, especially special needs children who may not be deaf, but use ASL, to communicate with them and know what they want when my other coworkers may not.

I felt so incredibly prepared for college because of them. Even if I sometimes went against what they suggested, it’s because I had a structured plan put out that made sense and worked in my favor. I got lucky to have high school teachers who motivated me and helped me when needed- especially three out of my four math teachers who worked hard to make sure all their students understood what was being taught and helped them to do well in the class. I was lucky to have middle school teachers who opened my eyes to subjects I previously hated and opened my mind to new ones. I was lucky to have elementary teachers who set me up for the rest of my life and wanted to see me succeed. All school teachers are important, no matter what grade they teach. I’m happy that I’m still in contact with a few of my teachers, especially one from high school who I had all four years. Her class helped me figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, she was there for me personally, and is like my mom (I nicknamed her my school mom). I can’t wait to see what new connections I make and see how my new professors motivate me to grow and in learn in my classes and faith; but to all my previous teachers that I had or didn’t have but got to know- thank you. Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am today. Everything that I’m doing in school and who I am is because of you guys, and I think that’s pretty cool. I hope you knew all this already. But, if not, thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Emma McGee

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Cancel Culture Is Toxic And Ugly

Stop deciding for me who I can and cannot like.

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I was really hoping that canceled culture died in 2018, but unfortunately here we are in 2019 still "canceling" whoever we personally deem "problematic." Whether it's tweeting from six years ago or falsely made allegations, waves of people will grab on to anything they can to bring down whatever celebrity or influencer seems to be doing well at the moment.

Of course, it is important to bring light to horrible things such as racism, misogyny, domestic abuse, etc., but remember these horrible things are still happening TODAY. We need to focus our energy on combating the horrible things people are currently doing and saying; it is truly such a waste of time to bring up the problematic words and actions that someone in the limelight did almost a decade ago.

Let me be clear, there is no one person I am trying to defend here. I honestly don't care much to personally defend anyone who is being canceled by angry twitter-users who found something just bad enough to hold against them for eternity. I truly just find the idea of it annoying and ugly.

The idea that any person is a completely static, flat character is so inconceivable and unlikely that I truly have a hard time understanding why we cannot accept an apology from a matured person.

If we have no evidence that a person has made any recent damaging remarks, then how can we prove they haven't changed since they tweeted something wrong in 2013?

Of course, there are people who have recently or continuously proven they are indecent people who are not deserving of any sort of public exposure, but if they are truly so horrible, people will drop them without you having to tell them to do so. You don't have to condemn those who still remain loyal; they are probably not the kind of people you need to waste your time on anyway.

If the people canceling others were constantly watched like the people they have damned, I am absolutely sure there is something we could find from their past to cancel them as well.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that famous people are still human beings just like us. Anyone is prone to make mistakes, and those mistakes can absolutely be rectified over time.

Nowadays, people love jumping on the bandwagon of finding a new person to hate and don't even stop to think about the damage it could do to that person's life and reputation.

Give people a chance to prove that they are decent human beings before deciding whether "we" as a whole should love or hate them based on such a small amount of evidence.

I am not saying you have to love every celebrity. If you don't like what someone has said or done you absolutely do not have to give them your attention or devotion, but you should not tell me whether I can like them or not.

In 2019 we should put an end to canceled culture, and, instead, learn to take people at their word and accept their apologies for their past wrongdoings.

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