Some people thrive in high school, and that's great! Others, like me, do not look back on those four years with much fondness. When I call back the memories of myself from that time, "capable" is not a word I would use to describe the boy I see. "Hot mess" might be a much more applicable phrase. In the final months before graduation, I felt very lost and incompetent while at school. I struggled a lot, but one faculty member made each day almost bearable, and that was my psychology and homeroom teacher.
Dear Mrs. Psychology,
I just wanted to say thank you for being a positive influence in my life at that time. Your class was a safe haven from the anxiety-ridden, troubling world I was constantly treading water in. Psychology has always been interesting to me, but I didn't realize at the time how much that field would become attached to my identity. I'd be lying if I said that my decision to major in psychology wasn't, at least to a very tiny degree, due to you.
We both know that I was not the most responsible student ever. I remember how on numerous occasions you would wait outside the door to homeroom at 7:59, just a minute before the bell would ring. Sure enough, I'd be sprinting down the hall, my car keys jingling obnoxiously as my wrinkled tie flew through the air behind me. There were times when I maybe should have been marked late, but I wasn't, and it was because of your patience.
In almost all of my classes, I fell below the radar. I was a mediocre student, and I felt pretty withdrawn and insignificant. Psychology class, though, was when I started to notice that something was different. The atmosphere was calm and encouraging of informal discussion, and it relaxed me. I cannot begin to describe the anxiety I felt in some of my other classes. Your course was so easy to learn in— it barely even felt like I was learning. I never enjoyed a class before then. That might sound shocking, to dislike every single class until senior year, but it's true. Psychology was what changed that for me.
I remember one day in March, we were talking about creativity in class. You were saying that people who are more creative often have better problem-solving capabilities and sometimes, higher intelligence. Then, you went on to tell the class that I was creative. It was pretty abrupt, and I wasn't expecting the praise whatsoever. I had been feeling particularly down at the time. Your words made me feel so incredibly happy. I was blushing, of course, but I felt so confident the rest of that day. One of my friends later told me that you had said the same thing about me to her class, even though I wasn't there.
It felt so great to be noticed by a teacher. I was unhappy for a long time, but the attention you reserved for me helped me to survive the rest of the school year. I also remember how the class would split into boys vs. girls for test review games, but you let me be on the girl's team. I was a traitor to the boys, sure, but I can't help it that the girls in the class were smarter! We won every single game. I'm glad you bent the rules for me, even for something as seemingly unimportant as that. It was refreshing and unlike the rigidness that some of my other teachers stood by to such an annoying degree.
That's all I have to say. I have preserved you and the confidence, comfort, and care you gave me forever in my memory. I will never forget the things you taught me, many of them being so much more important than psychology— patience and kindness being two of the many.
Nicholas Everett Chasler