Home » attitude of gratitude » A letter to my teachers

A letter to my teachers

In 2007, I wrote a letter to my teachers at Zeeburg Secondary School for an alumni magazine. Unfortunately, the magazine did not take off and I did not pursue any other means of sending my letter. Last month, I attended an event celebrating the 50th year of Zeeburg Government Secondary School and I came back home inspired to find my letter written six years ago. I plan on sending out my blog link so my teachers can finally read this thank you letter.

Although many of my readers here do not know of my school, I am sure that you’ve got at least one teacher who made a lasting impression in your life. 

June 2007

My Teachers,

Although I think of you often and thank you in my heart for educating, loving, and believing in me, I have never taken the opportunity to show you how grateful I am to all of you. This tribute is long overdue, but I hope that my penned thoughts can in some small way express my gratitude to you for your dedication in teaching and nurturing my young impressionable mind. I thank you for the exceptional role you have had in my life when I was your student and for the influence you continue to exert on me as I go through life’s journey.

As teachers, you rarely get to see the fruits of your labor or the extent of your harvest, but it is my wish that you become aware of how your teachings have impacted my life and have molded and shaped me into the person I am today. You not only taught me academics, you taught me how to live, laugh, and love. You helped me to recognize that knowledge does not only come from a book, but from experiences such as mistakes, failures, and setbacks.

In this letter, I pay homage and give accolade to all my teachers. I would like to recount and reflect upon specific experiences, but I want to make it too long. I have encountered teachers throughout my life; each of us is a teacher in our own right, but had it not been for the influential and exceptional educators I found in you, I would not have experienced some of the personal triumphs in my life. You have instilled in me a love for school and the pursuit of lifelong learning. Thank you, my teachers!

You were masters at observation – because of the different activities I had in school, I was sometimes placed at the center of attention where everyone’s eyes were upon me.  Many times I wanted to deflect that attention by giving a poor excuse for not being able to participate, but being observant and intuitive individuals, my teachers recognized my doubt and fear and always nurtured my confidence back into place. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself.

It is said that “teacher expectation” is one of the most important attributes in a student’s success and I can truly say that I bear witness to this belief. Here’s an example of such expectation: I recall when I was about 14 years old one of my teachers sent a message for me to go see him in his office. I was surprised, for this teacher did not teach me any academic subjects. However, he had an administrative role and that got my knees knocking. My mouth was dry. I was scared.

Upon arriving in his office, he looked at me through his thick glasses hanging at the tip of his nose, gave me a reassuring smile, and invited me to take a seat. In a soft, gentle, and kind voice he explained to me the reason I was sitting in his office – my marks (grades) had fallen; they were not where they ought to have been. There was no reprimand or expression of disappointment, just a reference to my gender, age, and the possibility that there might be some reciprocity toward the boys who were paying me much attention. He did not ask me to improve my grades, he expected me to do so. When I left his office that day, I decided to never give him the opportunity to invite me again for such a discussion. Teacher expectation was high. The lessons I learned decades ago have become a part of who I am today. Thank you, Mr. Gobin!

Throughout my years at Zeeburg Secondary I spent much time with some of you, grappling with debate preparation, public speaking tips, and learning valuable life lessons that did not come in a textbook. Familiarity allowed me the enviable opportunity to ask questions that a typical teenager dared not ask of her teachers. My questions were given the attention they deserved, and were answered accurately. I must admit that the boldness I displayed as a teen has not in any way diminished with age! Thank you for satisfying my curiosity.

I would be remiss if I do not mention the valuable spiritual lessons I gained at my Bible Club meetings while in school.  Bible Club was an extension of the values I was getting at home and at my church. I can also say without hesitation that my ability to speak to an audience of my peers, as well as adults was certainly encouraged and nurtured during those meetings. Even today, I often reflect upon those lunch time meetings and bask in the warmth of those fond memories.  Thank you, Mrs. Tulsi for your love, care, and devotion.

My teachers remain a constant source of inspiration – your lessons serve and inspire me daily. Thank you for instilling in me the drive and ambition to embrace the noble profession of teaching. Yes, I am a teacher! Each day as I step into my 3rd grade classroom, I emulate your high expectations and love of teaching and learning. Like you, I am also touching lives, building bridges, and enabling dreams.  Like you, I am also planting seeds of possibilities. Like you, I may not see the fruits of my labor, but you have assured me that I can impact lives decades later.

My teachers, I thank you for your guidance, knowledge, skills, and expertise, but above all, I thank you for educating, loving, and believing in me.

With love and gratitude,

Elaine

Zeeburg Government Secondary School Photo taken in 2011

Zeeburg Government Secondary School
Photo taken in 2011

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21 thoughts on “A letter to my teachers

  1. A beautiful tribute that comes from a very thankful and thoughtful heart. A must read for both students and teachers. I too am grateful for my teachers who molded me intellectually to who I am know.

  2. What a nice gesture and well written letter. I am at the point in life where I wish I had realized the contribution people made in my life early enough to thank them. I have thanked many, but sadly, some have passed on before I had the idea.

    • Thank you very much for your kind comment, Dan! The good thing is that you did get an opportunity to thank some who impacted your life. I am sure your actions have inspired others to extend an attitude of gratitude.

  3. What a wonderful and kind letter. So many of my teachers influenced and encouraged me and I really appreciate all that they have done. I wish society would start rewarding them more by paying them more and recognizing how much they contribute to the overall good.

    • TBM, this comment went into spam. I’m thinking that the issue you’re having still hasn’t been resolved.
      Thank you for your kind words. I agree that society ought to recognize and reward teachers more. I’ve stood on the streets picketing a few times already, but nothing significant happened.

      • I’m sorry that it went into spam. I hope the issue will be resolved so i can stop bugging all of my blogging buddies. And good for you, taking it to the streets to raise awareness. Hopefully in the long run it will make a difference.

  4. This is a beautifully crafted and affectionate letter – I hope all your teachers read it as they will be truly touched. Unfortunately I feel I was a little immature at school and spent far too much of my time getting up to mischief and causing trouble. It’s only now that I see the profound effect that teachers have on my children as they approach secondary school, some more than others obviously. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. What a beautiful and heartfelt letter to your teachers, Elaine. Teachers have one of the most important positions, along with police officers and firefighters, yet they are grossly underpaid. There are several teachers who made a tremendous impact on my life. Great post!

  6. Thank you for that letter, Elaine! I always talk, with fondness and gratitude, about this teacher, Mrs. Henry (Denbigh Primary School in Jamaica) who literally changed my life when she took an interest in me and steered me from the then failing secondary school system, towards Glenmuir High School, through the Common Entrance examination program (long story). However, I never thought of actually reaching out to her and say thanks. She probably didn’t know how her simple act way back when had made and is still making a profound effect on my life. Your letter has inspired me to do something about it.

    • Locksley, I’m glad my letter inspired you to write one of your own! Don’t hesitate any longer…gather your thoughts, get your best writing materials out, and pen your letter. You’re blessed to have have had Mrs. Henry in your life.

  7. What a beautiful tribute to your teachers! I too was/am an educator and think the greatest praise I have ever received from any of my ex students was when some of them chose to enter the profession also – makes me feel most pleased, proud and happy 🙂

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