What would you say to your Favorite Teacher?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 2 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge! Learn more about the challenge here.

Today's topic was to write a thank-you letter to a teacher from our past. This was surprisingly hard and somewhat emotional for me, as I have a lot of teachers who I would want to write this letter to that I feel fortunate enough to have been able to learn from as they all deserve immense thanks. However, I just chose one, and the one that first popped into my head when I read the prompt.

Note: I changed the names in this letter, but everything I said is true.

Dear Mr. Cooper,

I was tasked to write a thank you note to a teacher from my past, and I undoubtedly thought of you. I know I wrote you a letter at the end of my time as your student, when I graduated from high school. Since then, I've lost touch which makes me so sad, and I wish I would have tried harder to connect over these past two years. So, if you're reading this, I still think about my time as your student and how lucky I was to have been able to learn from you.

Every once in a while, I get flashes of our AP Language class, funny lectures and the many light-bulb moments that happened while furiously scratching away at an essay trying to earn a coveted score of 9 (and almost getting there! I still have the essay you gave me an 8++ on...). I think about newspaper, and the many hair-pulling-out-of-frustration moments, but also improving greatly as a writer. I think about the hours I spent in your classroom after school, finishing up newspaper layout, sending things to the printer, or just seeking advice and counsel which you willingly gave, and which really helped during a time when I needed it.  

My favorite memories are throwing a pie in your face, after you shaved your beard (still not cool, by the way) and the fun Pie-in-the-Eye campaigning that happened before then. I remember you and M. Sartre running down the hall wearing the red bandana I brought you after I went to Pamplona (and saw where Ernest Hemingway stayed!). I still laugh when I think of those things. 

I remember listening to you read Their Eyes Were Watching God, and learning how to love reading all over again, and how to enjoy reading for fun. I've read that book since then, and every time I read it thinking about when we read it in class. I still have the video of you reading All the Places You'll Go
on the last day I spent on the newspaper. It's welcome advice when my motivation and belief wavers.

I remember the first time I ever met you, and I cried out of nervousness. I was so scared that you though I was unintelligent or immature. Instead, you invited me to sit in on one of your classes and try doing an assignment that was far beyond my intelligence level. I knew then that you would be a great teacher to learn from, but I never could have imagined what a great friend you would be. While you may have taught me how to write a killer essay, and my 5 on the AP Lang test got me out of a few writing requirements, the most valuable lessons are those that are tested in the very act of being a person.

From you, I learned...
  • That the true measure of worth is not in the name on my diploma, but in the work I do and what I make of the opportunities I receive.
  • That everyone makes mistakes, falls down, but everyone can certainly get up and keep trying.
  • To follow my heart, even if my brain doesn't agree.
  • To enjoy learning to learn, without worrying about assignments, tests, or arbitrarily assigned numbers.
  • To always challenge myself to not only do better, but to be a better person.

So, while it will never be enough to say, thank you for everything. You will always be a special teacher to me, and one that I will certainly never forget. 



  1. Love this so much. I'm still in touch with my favorite teachers which makes me so happy, but I'm really not sure if I ever told them how much they mean to me.

    1. I don't think I told a lot of my teachers how much they really meant to me until after I had graduated from HS and I saw them again.

  2. love this letter! i am so glad i read it. it's great what you've learned from that teacher. I also fell in love with reading again

  3. This is so lovely! My mom has been a teacher almost her whole life and I know how much she loves keeping in touch with students! x

    1. I love talking to my teachers, and I've mostly done it through facebook because a lot of them don't work at the school I graduated from anymore, but this teacher doesn't have a facebook.

  4. Wow! This sounds like such an amazing teacher and I love reading how he inspired you!

    - Alaska Renee

  5. Aww, this touched my heart so much!! I love having that one teacher. Mine was my journalism teacher!

    1. Yes! Good teachers are the best. This teacher was my AP Language teacher, and my newspaper advisor. Plus he showed me the world of anthropology, which I love now.

  6. I love talking to my teachers, they are just great resources, and people!