Dear (insert teacher’s name),
It has been a while since I have talked to you. For all I know, you have no idea what I have been doing with my life since you were my teacher.
I am writing to say thank you. For what? For being my inspiration not to give up. I don’t think you know how much your words of encouragement helped me in pursuing my dreams.
Since I was your student I’ve had numerous jobs, and I’ve met many amazing people. I applied to universities and got accepted to every one. And I recently graduated, something I never thought I would accomplish.
When I first started in your class, I was a poor excuse for a student. You graded me harshly, and I thank you for that. You taught me how important it is to strive for excellence.
I want to thank you for forcing us all to learn public speaking skills when we were so young. I went from growing weak in the knees and sick to my stomach, to getting A’s in my college public speaking class. You taught me the importance of carrying myself with confidence. And you taught me how to face my fear and risk failing.
I want to thank you for all the encouraging notes you would write on my essays. You took the time to write notes of encouragement by hand, and that gave me hope to strive to be better.
You opened my eyes to my love of reading and writing, something I was completely unaware of before.
Throughout all of my college years, I have experienced professors who discouraged, belittled and tried to suck the excitement of learning out of their classrooms. I have experienced professors who were also encouraging. But I have never met a teacher who cared as much or loved teaching as much as you did.
Through your example, you taught me to do what I love everyday. You taught me to find a way, even if it is hard.
Although it has been a few years, I wanted to let you know that all the extra time you took to write encouraging notes and go out of your way for your students was not a waste.
Teachers have the power to encourage, discourage and shape the young minds of their students. They have the opportunity to help their students reach their greatest potential. And they have the opportunity to drive students away.
I have had experience with both. But I was also lucky enough to have one teacher who taught me how to strive for my dreams, how to push through when it’s hard, how to succeed and how to fail and how to dream.
This is a "thank you" to all the teachers out there who are encouragers and lovers of knowledge. You are greatly appreciated. You are the shapers of minds.