I was blessed and privileged to be apart of a school system that valued their teachers and had teachers that valued their students. I can't tell you how many times I would see my kindergarten teacher and run up to hug her; we even shed some tears once I hit my senior year because we both knew that time passed by too fast.

When she had me as a student, we bonded more than ever because she was basically my first “teacher mom.”

In elementary school, I would go on to have seven “teacher moms” who cared for me just like they cared for the other fifteen students in the class. In middle school, I had a little more than seven “teacher moms” and was introduced to “teacher dads” who weren’t just coaches, but science and history teachers, as well.

High school came and I fell in love with every single teacher that taught me because I could tell they cared for every single student that walked through the main doors, not just their classroom doors. They stayed to offer help to students who were struggling, help those who just couldn’t find the right words for that essay due by the end of next week, or even offer advice dealing with a particular situation, academic or personal.

One of my chorus teachers would always tell us on Fridays or before we got out for a long break, “Be safe because I don’t want to hear your name on the police scanner!” My other chorus teacher knew how important it was for students to know love because sometimes they didn’t get it at home. I was loved at home by both of my parents equally even with their divorce - although I still had bad days and she would just pull me aside and let me cry to her and she would just hug me until I stopped.

My sophomore year English teacher wanted me and my best friend to do honors classes, but I had to tell her that it wasn’t that I felt I couldn’t handle an honors class, it’s because I’m trying to prove a point to half of my family that I don't need to be in an honors class to show that I am a smart kid.

My algebra 1 teacher was the funniest man I had ever known - I’m pretty sure I learned more about how to become a motivational speaker than actual math, but I wasn’t complaining.

My home economics teacher would always laugh at me when I told her I can’t cook and that if she leaves me alone unattended, I will surely start a raging fire in the school.

My geometry teacher had a phone that would sneeze when it rang and my reaction would crack her up every time because I would forget that she has a sneezing phone.

I would be borderline falling asleep in some high school classes, but I knew that if I wanted to graduate, I would have to stay awake.

In elementary school, I missed a lot of days just because I was at that age where I hated school and it wasn’t “fun” anymore. So I faked being sick, like a lot of kids would do. However, I cut that quick, fast, and in a hurry, because it took me to miss one day of middle school to realize that school isn’t all that fun (it can be), but neither is the makeup work for five or six different classes.

Teachers want you to be at school because they want you to pass and go on with your life. They want to see you walk across the stage and shake the principal’s hand as you leave high school behind and begin your new life, whether it’s college, the military, a trade, or the workforce. They scold us when we get in trouble, help us when we’re in need, pray for us when we’re in tough situations, and crack down hard on us because they want to see us succeed and make something of ourselves.

Each teacher that I’ve had has made an impact somehow in my life, big and small.

I have gained skills and knowledge not just academically, but personally from these amazing women and men because they care enough about me and the rest of the school to not let us down.

There are four types of teachers: mediocre, good, superior, and great. I have been fortunate enough to have only been taught by great teachers. I have so much respect for teachers because they aren’t just teachers; they’re mom, dad, sister, brother, friend, and confidant. They’re family.