When I was a student, all I wanted was to not be in school. As soon as I got there in the morning, I was counting down the seconds until the end-of-day bell. During class, I could barely pay attention — I was too busy passing notes and daydreaming to distract myself from the dull drone of the class. I couldn't wait to be done with it and be in the real world. I didn't see the value of it, then. I always rushed through my homework, I always wished and guessed my way through tests. I so rarely took the time to just be present and appreciate my education and my educators and the institution itself.
It wasn't until my senior year of high school and I had a writing teacher who really took me under his wing, encouraged me, and made me feel worthy of success, that I was able to sort of stop staring at the clock and start focusing on my studies and making the most out of our time. It was then that I realized that he was showing up for me, and I, in return, had to show up for him. Your education can be whatever you make of it, but it's those special teachers who go that extra mile to nurture you and make you believe in yourself that change the way you think and change your life forever.
I didn't even think to thank him for years, but his gracious response made me glad that I did. These are 13 things you probably forgot to thank you teacher for, even though it's never too late:
For Encouraging Us Where We Excel
Our teachers took the time to get to know us and push us in the places they knew we could excel in. They made us believe in ourselves and acted as our cheerleaders even when we didn't care. They made us see potential in ourselves and helped us to imagine a future.
For Challenging Us
Though at the time we never appreciated it, our teachers gave us low grades and marked our papers up in red to help us. They believed that we could do better and were committed to helping us get there. They challenged us so that we could improve. It's much easier to see now.
For Punishing Us For Plagiarizing
They didn't let us cut corners. When we were too lazy to do the work, they made sure we realized the severity of our actions. This helped us have a better work ethic and resect for the work of our peers as adults.
For Caring About Our Social Well-Being
When we were bullied or hanging around in the wrong groups or losing sight of what was important, they stepped in. While at the time it might have felt intrusive, we see now that they were trying to keep us from going down a path that we might not have otherwise seen until it was too late.
For Making Us Read Great Books
All the books on the reading lists were classics that not only prepared us for adulthood, but helped us to make sense of our teen lives. They assigned us books that helped us feel less alone and inspired us to have full lives.
For Being Patient
No matter how long it took for us to understand the lesson, no matter how many times we needed them to repeat the question, they did and with grace. They gave us room to work at our own pace and never got frustrated with us when we were trying our best.
For Helping Us Understand Ourselves
They gave us little nudges in the direction that they thought was best for us. They could see our skills sometimes before we could and they helped to nurture them and unite us.
For Getting To Know Us
They had so many students but took the time to get to know each of us. They knew about our families and our allergies and our strengths and weaknesses. They made it a priority to have a relationship with each of us to make us feel safe and cared for.
For Making An Impact In Our Lives
Some of our teachers directly influenced the people we are today. They gave us the support and life skills to follow our dreams, become adults, and build careers and lives. They might not have spent a lot of time with us, but the time that they did was irreplaceable.
For Dedicating Their Lives To Our Future
They gave their whole lives to our education. They were committed to helping us succeed and go forth into the world, informed, confident and skilled.
For Forcing Us Our Of Our Comfort Zone
They forced us to speak in front of our peers, they made us interact with students we weren't drawn to, they made us work on our weaknesses. They knew that they could expand our mind and confidence by doing so. And while it might have made us frustrated then, we're stronger now because of it.
For Being Selfless In The Classroom
No matter what was going on in their personal lives, with their partners, their families, their friends, their health, their finances, they always showed up and gave us their whole attention and heart. They always made it about us and always put us first. We can never thank our teachers enough for their attention and devotion.