On Graduating High School: An Open Letter To My Teachers

Photo Courtesy of [Phaitoon/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

On the days leading up to my graduation, I started thinking about the people who had really impacted my schooling. I love my friends, but I came to the realization that the people who have really impacted and shaped my “educational life” are the teachers.

There’s my seventh grade English teacher — who was also my ninth and tenth grade French teacher — who, even after she was no longer my teacher, was the one I talked to most about my parents’ separation and the changes that have occurred in my life over the last two years.  To be honest, when I mentioned it to most of my friends, I did it casually, like it was something that just happened and it had no impact on me. When my parents first separated, I spent an hour and a half crying over the phone with my best friend, who lives in a different city, but I didn’t want my time at school to be the same way. I didn’t make a big deal out of it to my other friends so that our lunchtime conversations would be light-hearted instead of deep and meaningful.  It meant a lot, however, to be able to confide in my teacher and her available on the days that I needed that support.

There’s my tenth grade English Extension* teacher (who was also taught modern history). From her, I learned how to write a coherent essay, properly integrate quotes, and use the rule of 3. She wold rip our drafts to shreds, but using pretty colored pens and scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers; she encouraged us to go beyond how smart we ‘think we are’ and realize exactly the potential we hold.  She’s my intellectual role model, and the one that first person to tell me I write well. She encouraged me to write more, which inevitably gave me the courage to start writing here, for Babble.

There’s my tenth grade math teacher, who showed me that math didn’t need to be entirely horrible and helped me to actually pass math for the first time in five years. (Yes, I failed math for five years in a row. Yes, I had tutoring. No, it didn’t help.) I think, without being shown that math didn’t have to be completely confusing and result in a feeling that makes you question your intelligence, I would have still been the student that spent her math lessons doodling on the side of her notebook. I wouldn’t have even attempted to do the homework because I would just end up crying in frustration, dreading the eventual ‘D’ on the next test.

And there’s so many more teachers who have impacted upon my life — I guarantee you, teachers, that in your class of students, you’ll have many who are glassy-eyed. You’ll have many who are texting underneath the desk. You’ll have many who are counting down the minutes until the class is over. But take it from this student that you’ll also have many who, although it won’t seem like it, are actually being inspired by what you’re saying. They too might be sitting there, glassy-eyed, counting down the minutes until recess, but they’ll be remembering you when they graduate. You’ll be the teacher who isn’t forgotten. I can’t guarantee you that they’ll remember all that you taught them, but they’ll remember you for other reasons. You were the teacher who inspired them to act smarter, work to their full potential, do their homework. You’ll be the teacher who will be remembered.

So, on behalf of students everywhere, I’d just like to say one massive thank you to all the teachers out there — you definitely don’t have the easiest job in the world, but thank you. Thank you for going the extra mile. Thank you for putting up with us, even when we groan and roll our eyes and complain about learning what you’re trying to teach us. Just, quite simply, thank you — for all that you do.

*English Extension: the same concept as AP English, except you don’t get college credit.

Image Courtesy of  [Phaitoon/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

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