Dear Past and Present Teachers of Mine,
I would not be anywhere, much less in grad school, without you. Many of you helped me and pushed me and challenged me when I needed it.
In elementary school, I had many loving and caring teachers that were always so kind and patient. Other than learning a lot from you, with drilling the multiplication tables into my brain or teaching me how to write the dreaded cursive or do long division, what I appreciated the most was how accepting you all were. You let me stay after school and help out with menial projects and get some free labor in cleaning up the classroom. I actually enjoyed that as a kid because hanging out by yourself until 6pm every day waiting for my parents to come pick me up wasn’t fun. It was lonely, it was boring and sometimes it was really cold outside. So, to all of you who let me stay warm and busy in your classrooms after school even for just an hour, thank you. You probably saved my life.
In high school, some of you let me stay afterwards too. You let me bug you about random crap, or just let me stay in and do homework. You let me argue about grades sometimes. You kept me away from what we students affectionately called The Cage aka after school care. (We were literally locked into the lunch pavilion with someone watching us. We couldn’t leave unless going to the bathroom or our parents were coming to get us. It was ridiculous, were were in high school!) Of course once I got my license, I didn’t stay after school anymore, but I did appreciate it for the first two years.
In college, it was different. I never saw any of you during your office hours really. But I did learn a lot. My grades didn’t show it, but I did. Mt. SAC was where I rebounded, motivated to get As to get into grad school. To those that taught me there, a great big thank you. You pushed me, you challenged me, you wrote freaking letters of rec for me. Even when I didn’t believe in myself, you did. You all did. You all saw the potential in me and made me realize it too. You all let me be myself, freely express myself, my passion, my frustration. So thank you to all the teachers who have shaped my education and shaped who I’ve become today. You were the ones that had one of the biggest hands in getting me this far, and I will do my absolute best to make you all proud of me.
I just wish there was more I could do for you. I wish I could increase all your paychecks to be as high as doctors. You guys lay the foundation for us and invest in our future. You’re the ones that toil and labor all night to grade our papers/exams/homework as we students do over our assignments (or at least you’re led to believe we do this anyway. :P) You answer all our questions to the best of your ability whether that’s in person or over email. Many of you have creative ways to teach new concepts to us lowly students who know nothing and we remember them for being crazy and fond memories. Most of you freely admit when you’re wrong, and that I truly do admire.
I wish I had more than this letter that you’ll never see to express how much you’ve done for me. How much you’re doing for every student that walks through your door. I’ve seen you get frustrated, but I’ve also seen you exercise a great deal of patience when dealing with unruly students or downright rude ones. And deal with my annoying tendencies to bug people with everything or my sarcastic responses. It takes special people to become teachers, to do what you guys do day in and day out. To deal with kids all the time, every single day. And to do this while dealing with your own struggles in life — simply incredible. To me, that is heroic. I hope all your future students see what you’ve done for them and thank you one day. I haven’t given you enough gratitude or credit during my time as your student, but maybe by completing this program I can show you.
With all the gratitude in the world,
The Anatomy Nerd