Student Engagement

Thank You to the Teachers Who’ve Made a Difference in Our Lives

November 24, 2015 Updated November 23, 2015

It should come as no surprise that the folks at Edutopia are BIG fans of teachers. With Thanksgiving upon us, we couldn’t help but take the opportunity to write thank-you notes to some of the teachers who have personally impacted us.

We’d love if you shared your own thank-you notes in the comments below.

Dear Mr. Berry,
Thank you for not being afraid to be a radical high school civics teacher in a small town. When I got to college, and realized not everyone got to read Howard Zinn in high school, I was grateful for the foundations of critical thinking -- and the lesson not being afraid to be a little out there -- that you gave me.  -Amy

Dear Mr. Musket,
Thank you. You taught me history and the power and art of storytelling simultaneously. Because of you I learned… I learned the answers to your tests, but more importantly I learned how I learn.  -Cait

Mr. Follett,
You might not know this but you’ve truly helped me become the person I am today. Without you, I’d would still be that shy kid that settled for “good enough” to ensure that no one would notice me. Thank you for your constant support and invaluable mentorship you provided me (and I will ALWAYS remember the proud way you looked at me when I surpassed 6th grade math proficiency in 4th grade). Rest in peace.  -Elana

Dan Caldwell,
You are my eternal mentor, teacher and hero! Thank you for all the crazy Dan-isms that has guided me through a life-long career in storytelling. You were the first person to recognize me as a “director” and give me a shot at my own show at the ripe old age of 14. You taught me the importance of “many working as one” and  to “love the art in myself and not myself in the art”. And to “take what is difficult and make it easy. Take what is easy and make it habit. Take what is habit and make it beautiful. Take what is beautiful and make it art.” For this and so much more, I am forever grateful. May you RIP Dan. -Gillian

Dear Mr. Taylor,
During a difficult period in my life, when I was attending school elsewhere due to a family emergency, I recall mentioning to you via mail or phone that I was learning how to program computers. Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later a book arrived in the mail on that very subject. Many years later we met again and I thanked you. To me, the gift was more than the book; it showed you cared about my learning experiences, beyond your local school boundaries. -Gustavo

Dear Emily,
Thank you for being a teacher, mentor, and a friend to me for the last four years. I’ve learned so much from you, both about academics and about how to be a good person. For that, I’m eternally grateful. -Hillary

Mr. Paldo,
Thank you for seeing my potential as a human being at a time when everyone was putting so much pressure on me to succeed as an athlete. I will always remember feeling drawn to your consistency when handling any situation thrown your way. Thank you for investing in me as a person, I attribute my work ethic and the success I’ve seen in my career to watching you navigate through yours. I am forever grateful that you always communicated how much faith you had in me, it was something I really needed to hear at the time!  -Katie

Dear Mary,
To the most important teacher in my life, my wife...I see every day how hard you work for your students, your dedication to them, and thought and care you devote to their success. You are my hero. -Samer

Dear Ms. McCall,
Thank you for leaving books to read in my desk. I always loved being surprised by what stories you’d pick for me. My favorite was the Phantom Tollbooth! -Youki

Daphne Engel,
You turned freshman English into a ringing affirmation of possibility for a 14-year-old boy in a downward spiral of misery. Arrange the desks in a circle? Encourage reports about rock’n’roll? Offer extracurricular poetry counseling sessions? Who knew such things could happen? -Alan

Hey Laura-Gray Street,
I always loved writing, but you helped me fall in love with the craft. Your passion and excitement about syntax impassioned me. Writing isn't only a big aspect of my livelihood, but it has been a huge part of my self-reflection and exploration process. Thank you. :) -Emelina

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.

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