To my favorite high school teacher,
Thank you for your encouragement. You held to the belief that all students have something to offer, and that the papers I wrote and the assignments I turned in were little assessment of my true character. You kept the gradebook and your opinion of me as a person separate, and because of this, I was never afraid of your judgment.
Thank you for your understanding. You could always tell when I was stressed out or had too much on my plate, and you understood why my effort sometimes did not reflect my achievements. You did not condemn me for this; you asked me if I was getting enough sleep and whether your assignments were too harsh, instead of wondering whether I was trying hard enough. Thank you for allowing my opinion to matter, but thank you that it did not matter too much.
Thank you for your interest. Thank you for asking me about my weekend, my health, and my future plans. Thank you for proving you cared about my life and whether I was doing well outside of your class. You treated me like your own child, and never let me think your compassion stopped as soon as the bell rang. I’m convinced it didn’t.
I know I was not the best student you ever had, but you treated me like my success meant something to you. I felt confident in my abilities to succeed, even in the instances I failed, because of you. But I also knew that you took pride in me when I proved your efforts for our class were not in vain. Your work reflected in me, and mine in you.
I wish we could stay in touch, but I know we can’t. I wish your class would not move on without me, that in three years you would not struggle to remember my name and in five my face, and that you would remember me like I will remember you. But I know that in a sea of hundreds of students, I will drown. And that’s okay.
Thank you for caring about me when you had the opportunity to. And thank you for not stopping with me.
One of your (many) favorites students.