To the teacher who pushed me past my limits,

I entered your class early in high school, still bright eyed and ambitious. I had always done well in your subject and was excited. This did not last long. My favorite subject soon became the one I dreaded the most. This began when I received my first essay back from you. I received 65. Never in my life had I expected to see a grade that low on a piece of writing, because writing had always come easily to me.

Then we had our first vocabulary quiz. That grade was a little bit higher, but not by much. I teetered between a C and a B minus all semester. I went from a straight A student, to a student struggling to maintain that C all semester. I did not know what I was doing wrong, but at that point I lost all ambition to try because I felt like no matter what I did, I would receive a low grade. For that, I am truly sorry.

I am not just apologizing to you, but also to myself. I know that if I put the effort in, I would have enjoyed the class and done well. In a sense, this class taught me more than the classes I excelled in. You did not just let me skate by with halfway decent work. You saw me reaching the next level that I did not even know existed. I was able to get through classes in this subject without even trying before, but you wanted more from me.

I used to be able to write a paper about an article or chapter that I had not read, but that was not the case in your class- more than I deemed myself capable of. I remember how excited I got when I earned a B plus on a paper. It was the highest grade I received on a piece of my writing in your course. I think it was at that moment I realized that I could turn it around and I earned a B for the semester.

I struggled, plain and simple. I lost all ambition to study or try on assignments. Quizzes that could have been easy A’s were B’s and C’s. Out of all of the challenging upper level courses that I enrolled in during high school, none of them met the level of difficulty that this one did. It did not make sense to me. Those classes contained harder content, but this one challenged me the most. I do not think it was the class. I believe it was the fact that I did not believe I could do well. You did, and your comments on my assignments were geared toward me improving, but I never took advantage of them. I went into the next level of this subject the next year with a sense of fear, but I left that course with a high grade. That also made no sense to me at the time.

Even though I did not put all of my effort into this course, I learned more than I could have ever expected. I learned a lot about myself. Sure, this is a course that had come naturally to me for many years, but I could not just skate by. There is always room to grow and improve if you are willing to try. This lead me to try harder than ever before the following year. I applied your critiques and words of encouragement. It might have been a year late, but I did it. My senior year, I enrolled in the AP course and earned college credit for my freshman year of college. I owe it all to you. It was not the lessons you taught me about the course itself, but rather, the lessons you taught me about myself. I am able to improve and the limit of my abilities is boundless. With a little bit of effort, ambition, and confidence, I can do anything.

Thank you,

Your former student