Open Letters to the Teachers I’m Still Thankful For

I’ve probably had about 50 different teachers throughout my education so far. While I learned something from each one of them in their respective subjects, a few of them taught me things that mean much more to me than any fact or equation. There are a few exceptional teachers who taught me lessons I’ll keep with me forever, and I’m thankful for them to this day.

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To my eighth-grade teachers:

You were some of the first teachers to respect me and treat me like a person, not just a young student. You taught me the foundations of high school subjects, and your love and kindness radiated through your teaching. You cared about me beyond the classroom, encouraged my studious habits, and helped me be my best.

It was in the end of middle school that my love of writing truly took root, and (in light of this blog) I am especially grateful for my English teacher at that time. She helped me cultivate the skills I needed to begin my journey as a “real” writer. Her passion for the subject helped me tremendously in moving towards more mature and professional writing.

Although I was barely a teenager when you all taught me, you understood the importance of eighth-grade as a stepping stone towards my higher education, and I’m thankful for everything I learned from you; you helped me learn who I am and who I want to be.

To my English 2 teacher:

You are one of the teachers I’ll remember forever. In your classroom, you created an environment where students could be open with each other and respect each other as equals. Your down-to-earth personality made you the most relatable teacher I’ve ever had, and students instantly respected you for that. The atmosphere of mutual respect is something I wish all teachers could create with their students.

You challenged us as writers and pushed us outside our comfort zones, to where all the best things happen. You helped us think creatively and you let us “just write” anything that came to mind. You’re someone who truly cared for us as students, and you understood that education is about much more than schooling.

The confidence you brought out of me is something I will always be grateful for. I’ll never forget the day I told you I was running for class council… I was surprised by your reaction, you asked me why I was only running for a class senator spot instead of class president. You helped me campaign during the quick election, and you weren’t surprised at all when I won the senator spot; you knew it’d get it all along. (That senate spot was the start of my three years in student government, which turned out to be one of my favorite parts of high school.) That year, you believed in me more than I believed in myself, and it sparked a confidence in me that has only grown since then.

You motivated me to set goals, and then reach even higher. You believed that I could do anything I set my mind to, and more. I’ve never felt more humbled than the day you told me you could see me as a US senator one day, or even president, if I went after it. Your incredible support for me from that year, all the way to my acceptance into college, was such a big part of my growth during high school. You were always proud of me, and it’s hard to explain how much that meant, and still means, to me. I’m thankful for you cheering me on and for seeing massive potential in me.

To the teachers I had senior year:

Without you, I wouldn’t have had my jumpstart on college credit. With your support, I figured out what major and career I want to pursue. The AP classes I took with you were hard, but you did your best to give me the tools I needed to be successful. You didn’t let me slack off with “senioritis”, and you prepped me to make the leap towards college, a career, and adult life.

The classes I took with you were the first classes that applied directly towards my major, and I’m thankful to have gotten started before the craziness of college. You helped make senior year a great year my graduating class, and I’m thankful for having you as my teachers for my favorite year of high school.

To my student government teacher:

I can’t count the lessons I learned from you, from balancing checkbooks, creating agendas, and leading meetings of over 300 people. You took me in when I was just 15, and helped me evolve into a better leader, student, and professional.

You taught me the importance of giving back, giving of yourself, and giving better than your best. You’ve inspired countless students throughout your many years of teaching, and your legacy will live on through the students whose lives you’ve bettered. You taught me, and all your students, that we can do much more together than alone, and that hard work can get you to nearly any goal.

You taught me that you can always be kinder. You can always work harder. You can always do more.

Each week, you reminded us that we “always have the right to say, ‘no’”, and that we never have to do anything we don’t want to do. You taught us not to be blind followers.

You were the teacher I could go to with anything, and you were a light for so many students when they needed help. Your love, dedication, and passions were contagious. You taught me to love service and to lead with purpose.

You taught me so much, and I hope to be half the leader and inspiration you are. I’m incredibly thankful for my time in student government with you and for your guidance in my biggest leadership position yet. It was in your class that I made some of my best friends (and some of the few I still see after high school) and some of my best memories of high school.

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5 Comments

  1. Jim Kilton
    November 18, 2016

    Kristen, it’s so nice to see a young person recognize the teachers that have paved the road to where they are and hopefully where they are going. Too many young people think they have done it all alone. Your teachers will be interested in monitoring your successes as your progress through life. Just like Gransie and I are anxious to see where life takes you.
    Keep up the good work and continue to make everyone proud.
    Love Grandpa

    Reply
    1. kristenshane
      November 19, 2016

      I appreciate the teachers I’ve had moving in to college, and I’m so thankful for everyone that’s helped to get me to where I am. Thank you so much!

      Reply
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