Mail.on.Mondays: Dear Teachers

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Dear Teachers:

Thank you for investing in me. 

For making me feel important and smart and valued.  For praising me on a job well done.  For noticing a tiny glimmer of goodness within me, and encouraging me to display it more.  For creating a safe, warm, and delightful atmosphere in your classroom.  For tapping into my love for reading and writing.  For helping me find acceptance.  For pushing me to be my best.  For expecting more from me than I thought I could give, knowing all along I was capable.  For consistently showing me kindness, even when you were experiencing difficulties yourself.  For never letting on how tired, frustrated, or stressed you must have been at times.

I remember the make-shift reading center you created behind the large piano in your classroom.  It was my favorite spot as a fifth grader.  And then there was the creative writing folder we kept in seventh grade.  I misplaced it a few years ago and still search for it from time to time, hoping one day to come across it and revisit the memories it holds.  And the oral reports we had to present weekly in history class. Oh how I dreaded those, but somehow you managed to convince this shy young girl that she could, in fact, stand before the class and get it done … a monumental accomplishment indeed.

Junior High was filled with clubs and band – my favorite years.  I wish I could have carried you, dear band teacher, to high school with me.   Perhaps then, with you by my side, I would have found enough courage and confidence to join the marching band. But since you had to stay behind, I said goodbye to my band adventure and moved on without it. 

Dear teachers, I don’t think you realize what an impact you had on me and, no doubt, other students as well.  I’m sorry the younger version of me didn’t get it at the time, and that the thought of thanking you never crossed my adolescent mind.  I did not know you were doing more than your job, but I realize it now.

I now understand that teachers like you are a beautiful gift to the students they encounter.  For your teaching career is more than a career.  It is an opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of those around you. 

Thank you for making a difference in my life.  Maybe one day I’ll enjoy the blessing of meeting you again; the opportunity to thank you face to face.  But until then, I will thank you here. And I will appreciate – and thank – the teachers following in your footsteps. 

So to all my teacher friends …. Thank you for making your jobs more than a job.  Thank you for loving your students and caring about not only their futures, but also their here and now. 

Thank you, teachers, for doing what you do, and for inspiring me to do the same.

Sincerely,

A thankful student

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