This week was Teachers Appreciation Week, but I already graduated so I couldn't be there to give you a candle or any other useless thing that you'll probably never see after you take it home. I can't afford to send you extravagant gifts that you would appreciate because I'm a poor college student. But I can take this time to say, thank you.
Thank you for teaching me more than what was in your lesson plan. You never made me feel like I was just a number in your class. Thank you for showing me what it meant to be a light to those in the darkness. You were always kind to everyone, even when they did not deserve it.
Thank you for teaching me that I can be more than a state test or my ACT score. You didn't let me give up when I told you how tired I was. Because of you, I know that I am beautiful, even though it may not be by society's standards. I know that I am better than that quiz I failed because you taught me that a GPA does not define the rest of my life.
Thank you for giving me the chance to be a leader, because now I can stand up for what I believe in and myself. When I told you what I wanted to do in college, you encouraged me. Even when I changed my major two times in a year, you told me that I could still be successful. Thank you for not acting like you were only at school to get paid (because you and I both know you aren't paid enough).
Thank you for treating me as if I was you own child when I needed support. I wasn't afraid to branch out after high school. You didn’t get annoyed with me when I told you I didn’t understand. Because of this, I now understand what it means to be patient. You showed me what it meant to be a Christian with my actions, and not just with my words. I know you weren’t allowed to say “Jesus” in school, but you showed it without having to say it.
Thank you for giving me a safe space where I could be myself without anyone judging me. I couldn't do that anywhere else in school.
Thank you for not only letting me act like an idiot inside of class but also in my everyday life. You gave me advice that I will always remember and that will still be useful years down the road.
Thank you for teaching me real life lessons that a traditional education could not offer. You taught me integrity, humility and kindness. I couldn't have learned that from what the curriculum told you to teach me.
But most of all, thank you for giving me a group of friends that make me feel just as safe and comfortable like you did. I had a free space to express myself without being judged by the student population (and the English teachers—they like to gossip).
I will never remember every lesson you taught me, but I will remember how much I loved my time with you and how loved you made me feel. Thank you.