To My Teachers

 You guys. I’m finally student teaching and I’m not even exhausted (yet)! Okay, so it’s only day two and my co-teacher and I are REALLY hoping for the first snow day of the semester tomorrow (prayers please). But still. I have a desk and a key to the classroom and a badge and access to some pretty sweet teacher technology. I’m a teacher!

The cool thing, though, is that even though I’ve achieved (unofficial) teacher status, I’m still receiving the same encouraging “student” love from teachers I had because I’m fortunate enough to be student teaching in the school district I grew up in. Teacher education programs stress breaking away from your home district in order to be treated as a professional, but I think I got the best deal ever because I get to develop as a professional with an abundance of pre-established positive expectations and support. I’ve been looking for an inspiring God moment since Sunday (when I said I’d post), but today at the gym I realized I need to say thank you to all of the teachers who have inspired me and continue to do so now as friends.

For me, the allure to teaching wasn’t talking about content I love or summers off or snow days (keep praying for one tomorrow please) but instead my allure to the profession was to build relationships with students like my teachers did with me. This week, I became a teacher, but I’ve never felt more loved as a student.

I felt it when my 8th grade science teacher beamed at me as I was introduced to the high school staff she’s now part of and I am joining this semester. I felt it when my high school principal and now “big teacher test support system” (yes, that is essentially her job now at my university), sent me a thumbs-up and a kissy face emoji after texting her a trillion too many questions before the end of the first week. I felt it when my 11th grade history teacher got on the elliptical next to me at the gym today and took out her earbud to ask me how my first day with the students went.

Leading up to my first week student teaching, I felt loved when the woman who taught me 9th and 11th grade English and is now retiring in May told me my high school’s English department is rooting for me to join their team when she leaves. I felt loved when a teacher in the same English department whom I never even had a class with pulled me aside at a basketball game to offer any resources I might need during my student teaching semester. I felt loved when my retired 7th grade English teacher took the time to send me resources to teach my favorite novel, which I read for the first time in her class.

I continue to feel loved by so many of my teachers when they tell me they’re proud of me or wish me the best in my own teaching endeavors. I feel loved when they ask me to watch their pets, their kids, or even their class as a sub. It breaks my heart that not every student has continuing, long-lasting relationships with their teachers, but I am proof of the impact a supportive, encouraging student/teacher relationship can have and what it can mean to just one person. I can’t think of a profession more conducive to building relationships… And isn’t that what life is all about?

I never knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was a student to any of my teachers, but they certainly planted the seeds. Somewhere inside my teenage mess of emotions and ambitions, I knew I wanted to be part of the “teacher’s club,” and by God’s grace and the guidance of teachers and role models He placed in my path throughout my 21 years, this week I finally made it. I love what I’m doing.

So teachers, thank you. I know you don’t hear it enough and the week back to school after winter break is a tough one, but you are appreciated more than you know. I can only dream of making a fraction of the impact you’ve made on me. Because of how you’ve chosen to live your life, you’ve changed mine for the better.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

– John 15:13

Edit: We got the snow day! 🙂

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