High school was a type of Hell that nobody could explain, and there's no way you can tell me any differently. For someone like me who adores learning and expanding my worldview, coming to high school was one of the worst decisions ever made and I rarely enjoyed myself through the four years. Cliques ran the halls, honors kids were obsessively competitive with each other, rumors rattled the bones of the courtyard, and so on and so forth. In a time where teenagers are supposed to be coming into themselves, the direct opposite took place and there was hardly room for growth.
If you're anything like me, your only salvation was one or two teachers who made it worth it. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in my home life that I rarely had the opportunity to stop and thank my educators for all that they had done for me (and for my siblings). There are things I never told them, things I never wanted them to know, but now that I'm in college and doing well for myself, I think it's time I owe them what they deserve: the truth.
1. I tried really, really hard in your class(es). I swear it.
Listen, high school was downright monstrous for some of us. At points in time, it seemed like a four-year battle I had no chance of winning - and I almost didn't. School had always been a safe place for me, a place where I could go to focus on something other than the pain of my young life.
Often times, though, I couldn't will myself to try harder in my classes and be the kind of student everyone wanted me to be. But, I swear on everything good in my life, I gave your class(es) my all. It was important to me that you saw me in a positive light.
2. Some days, your class was the only good thing.
It wasn't even your classes, per se, but it was you. It was always you.
3. You made me realize I could need this after high school.
I didn't know what I wanted in my life or what I would do after high school. I always hear people complaining about not needing certain subjects as they progress, but yours made me into a better person - a more rounded person with an expansive knowledge. Your class ignited a passion in me I didn't know I had.
4. Your homework ALWAYS took priority.
I would spend HOURS perfecting the homework you assigned me and like, 20 minutes on the rest. It just be like that sometimes.
5. I was willing to fight students for your honor in hand-to-hand combat.
I heard their whispers in the hallway. I listened to their snide comments and groans about how much they didn't like you. You weren't everyone's favorite, and that's to be expected, but damn it, I really struggled not to start a warpath to defend your name.
6. It was scary how easy it was to talk to you.
Letting people in is not one of my strong suits. In fact, letting people in and seeing their pitiful stares makes my stomach churn, but not with you. You offered a hug and sympathy and a hope for things to get better and brighter. I didn't know it then, but it's stuck with me after all these years.
7. You were the first person I looked for at graduation.
Sure, my entire family was there and I appreciate them coming with my whole heart, but it didn't stop me from scanning the crowd to see your beaming, prideful smile. It filled my heart with warmth to know that I had made you proud - that all of my hard work was noticed by the person I wanted to notice it the most.
8. I still talk about you and your classes to this day.
Will I ever stop? It's unlikely. You have made a lasting impact on me that will continue on for years. I have learned so much from you outside of the curriculum and it has made me better in more ways than I can count. You are part of a family that I had to create from scratch, and your wisdom will rattle in my pocket for the rest of my life.
9. Saying "goodbye" was the hardest part of it all.
It was never really 'goodbye', though, was it? More of a 'see you soon'. I always thought I'd be excited to leave high school and never look back, but Gods, my chest ached the day I graduated and was no longer a student of yours. Sometimes it still hurts a bit not seeing you five days a week.
10. You never knew it, but you saved my life.
I don't know how to explain this one without getting emotional, but I was a trembling hurricane on the precipice of destroying myself and everything around me. I was erratic, and abused, and scared, and above all else, mentally ill. I wasn't sure I'd live past sixteen, and I wasn't sure I had much to live for. The weight of my own self-destruction was tragic and making me crumble under my own weight.
But you... you gave me more. You showed me more. You did everything you could to make my school days as safe for me as humanly possible, and you took the chance to hear me out. You allowed me to release a burden I had been bearing for so long on my own, and for the first time in a long time, it didn't hurt to breathe.
Besides all of this, I want to thank you. I want to thank you for everything you've done for me.
Thank you for taking a chance on me.