Throughout school, I have had several amazing teachers who helped shape who I am today. I never got a chance to fully thank them for how much they influenced me, until now.

Dear 7th Grade History Teacher,

Thank you for making us take those awful essay tests that I thought were useless and unnecessary. It turns out you were right. I took tests in high school with the exact same layout and having prior experience definitely helped. But, you could have been a little more lenient about letting me wear my flower-print clogs. Yes, they broke dress code because they “showed my heel”; but I loved those things.

Dear 8th grade history teacher,

Thank you. Thank you for letting my friends and I eat lunch in your room rather than the cafeteria so we could eat without being scared of the others around us. Thank you for helping me to realize that it is okay to smile and laugh and show emotions in school. Before 8th grade, I connected getting in trouble with showing emotions because the kids who talked loudly or played in school were the ones who got detention. Terrified by the thought of getting in trouble or bringing any attention to myself, I decided the safest way to get through middle school was to be inexpressive and detached from social factors. You were the one to help me begin to realize that I could let down my wall in school and be myself.

I did not realize it till recently, but you were one of my most influential teachers and I never thanked you for that.

Dear 12th grade English teacher,

Thank you for showing me that I can enjoy literature and writing essays. Thank you for helping me become a stronger writer and turn in a paper confidently for once. Thank you for not letting me think of myself as less than I am. Thank you for expecting a lot from me because it just pushed me to work harder and put every ounce of effort I had into my work. Thank you for being the first English teacher to make me feel successful and show me that I can, in fact, enjoy non-STEM topics.

Dear High School Advisor,

Thank you for being an amazing mentor. I know the whole advising group looked up to you. Thank you for providing a space where we could decompress and relax if we were having a hard day. Finally, thank you for always having amazing advice when I got stuck or needed help balancing my schedule between school and dance.

Dear 10th grade math teacher,

Honestly, thank you for everything you did. Thanks for putting up with every single one of my questions I came and asked during lunch. Thank you for helping instill confidence in me with my work. I always enjoyed math, but never seemed to do well; until your class. Thank you for noticing and being comfortable with the fact that I don’t speak up much in class because of my anxiety. Rather than counting me off for not participating, you acknowledged that speaking up was just a lot harder for me.

Sincerely, Sarah Grace

Although I have written only five notes, so many other teachers have made substantial impacts on my life and helped me grow confident in myself and my academic abilities.

It's sometimes hard to reflect back on people who were in your life years ago when you are thinking about your current homework or plans for this weekend; however, when you take the time to really think about all these people, you begin to realize just how large of an impact they made on who you are today.