Dear Ms. Young,
I knew from very early on in the year that you were going to be my favorite teacher, but what I didn’t know was how much you were going to change my life. I remember on schedule pick-up day, before freshman year actually began I met all of my teachers besides you, I just left the school. I saw that I had you two hours in a row and that you were my English teacher, but I had a bad relationship with my 8th grade English teacher, so I was scared and didn’t really know what to expect. I stood outside your classroom, saw you, then left hoping you wouldn’t recognize me as the person that ignored you when I walked in on the first day considering my appearance is relatively recognizable.
Throughout the course of freshman year, you taught me so much more than English, and I can’t even begin to explain how. I mean of course, the similes and fanboys are well ingrained into my brain, but it’s the maturity and kindness you showed me that’s really going to stick. You were, and honestly, still are the only teacher I’ve been able to open up, and actually talk to.
When this whole school online thing began I went to clear out my school email account of clutter, knowing I’d be using it often, and I came across many old Google Classroom updates from your class. I looked through a few of them and came across an old “Who am I?” essay that I don’t really remember writing, but reading back through it, it’s certainly a small glimpse into my life story, and I was more open in that essay than I would’ve ever been able to recall. You made me feel like I was in a safe space that I was able to open up in, and I now know that’s exactly what happened when I read back through that old essay, I wrote it without fear of being judged because I felt that I was in a safe space.
I admire how accepting you are of everyone’s race, sexualities, etc, because despite the fact that it’s 2020, you’d be amazed at how many people still will not open up to the idea of being accepting of anything other than what they perceive to be their version or “right.” You always put people in their place, and it was hard to wear your patience thin; from what you expressed at least.
I’ve always appreciated how much you seem to pay attention to me when I talk, and despite the mass amounts of other students you teach, you still seemed to always remember the small details of the things I’ve said. I don’t know if you still remember, but you did for a long time, and that matters to me. You remembered how many siblings I have, you remembered I had to switch middle schools, and which ones, why, how much I hated it, so on and so forth. I don’t know any other teacher that would be able to keep up with all of that information, and still be able to keep up with hundreds of other kids.
I also appreciate how even though I don’t currently have you as a teacher, you still acknowledge me by saying hi or waving in the hallways. I don’t think any of the other teachers I had last year would even remember my name, nonetheless my hobbies, or even cares what I did over the weekend. It’s as if I developed a friendship with you rather than just a typical student-teacher relationship, and I believe that has a lot to do with how open you were with everyone rather than just lecturing English non-stop. You took the time to share a little bit about yourself, your family, your dog, your other teacher friends, etc, and you being open with everyone creates a much stronger bond than a teacher that lectures notes from bell to bell with nothing else in between.
I admire your motivation, and how you manage to teach your classes so well, but also make time to have fun, and educate us on things other than English. As you know, I struggled in middle school, but in highschool I completely flipped that around, and I’d like to think that you certainly had a huge part in that transition. Your perseverance kept me motivated, and I actually enjoyed going to school, just so I could sit in your class. The grade checks we did in Success really kept me in line (except for gym. I passed that one with a 62%), and I enjoyed being able to keep up on my grades, then get praised for it, as from everyone else it’s an expectation to get good grades, not something to get congratulated for. You gave me that something I never realized, and would’ve never realized I was missing, but I needed. I enjoyed seeing you, and enjoyed your company each and every day in class, and the days you had subs were the days I would literally try to go home early.
I remember just going up to my mom (and looking back I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through her head) when I said “hey mom, I have this really awesome teacher, and we need to go to the store and buy her a cheesecake!” but I just wanted to show you I care and pay attention to you as much as I know you do to me. I also bought you a chocolate heart for Valentine’s Day this year, that said “#1 teacher” on it, but then I got anxious and couldn’t bring myself to give it to you, so when it got too late to be able to say “Oh I forgot it at home”…I ate it. Sorry about that.
I still have the spartan star that you wrote me, and you know that bracelet with the blue, grey, and white beads? I still wear that every single day. I also wore the bracelet you gave me that says “fearless” to a job interview as a “good luck charm” of sorts (it worked). I just want you to know that I do think of you outside of school, and everything you have done for me has impacted my life so much, and it’s definitely been for the better.
I remember on the first day of Sophomore year I walked into school with my friend, and the first thing I said was “We have to go say hi to Ms. Young”. You’re the only teacher that I can confidently say that I know I’ve missed before. I miss having you as a teacher, I miss seeing you in the halls, I miss being in your class, I miss being able to talk to you for more than a passing period a day. I miss you. I remember when you were gone for WE day, I made my friend that I knew was also there tell you hi for me because I was sitting in your class with a sub, rather than you.
I used to be in a group with Mrs. Harting, and I talked enough about you to the point that if I was having a bad day, she would remind me that I at least had your class to look forward to, and sometimes she would just ask if we’d talked at all that day because she knows you’re important to me. I also appreciate you so much for allowing me to sit in you class when I didn’t have a place to go for lunch, and admittedly, I never actually found a place to sit, but I didn’t want to be a bother, so I’d try to get to the library or find the most empty table I possibly could before making my way down to your classroom.
I remember when I finished all of my work early enough, I would color in your animal coloring book, and one time I remember thinking I didn’t have a big enough variety of colors in my bookbag with me, so I saved the rest of the coloring page until I got home so that I could color it with a better variety of colors, just so it would look better, and just so I knew I did my best to make it look decent before handing it off to you, and I was pleasantly surprised when I’d seen that you hung it up in your classroom. It’s the little things.
Now I’ve noticed that this appreciation letter is all over the place, so I suppose I’m going to end it here, and even though I’m sure in the years to come you’ll completely forget about me because of the waves of new students that come in year after year, I can promise you that I could never in a million years forget about you.
There are so, so, so many more things I could list about the ways you’ve shaped me into who I am now, but this letter is chaotic enough as it is, and I’m sure that the second I submit this I’m going to have a hundred more ideas flood to mind that I could’ve or should’ve added, but I’ll wrap it up here for now. I also hope that you knowing this isn’t written to the typical English teacher standards doesn’t make you cringe too hard as an English teacher. (This is written in second person. See? I know English things). Anyways, I know you have many other students, and I know you care for every one of them just as much as you’ve cared for me, but know there’s only one of me, I care for you with my all, and I will never forget about you. You’ve changed my life forever.