First Step Advisors
Education advisory services

First Step Insights

Insights and Observations.

Thank you letter to my teacher

Dear Teacher,

Remember that time in kindergarten we made ice cream from snow? That was one of a hundred fun activities we did throughout the year. And you reminded me a lot of my grandmother, which was pretty special. I used to wonder how someone with such a quiet voice commanded so much respect. I get it now.

How about second grade, when Mike moved away? It was the first time any of us saw a friend leave town and we didn’t know how to handle it. You were too big for us to wrap our arms around, but your hugs engulfed us entirely, and that helped make things okay.

Then there was that time in fourth grade, when you called my mom. Actually, it was the first day of school and you called that night, saying, “We need to come to an understanding.” I was, um, a little active in the classroom. It took all of one day for you to size me up. I became your “main man” after that. I still remember the slide show you presented to parents at the end of the year. I also remember the little reading loft you made in the corner.

And oh, what about seventh grade, when you started the very first day by demonstrating the explosive effects of lycopodium powder? Yes, almost 30 years later I still remember. That was a strange and unusual year for me, but I haven’t forgotten how kind you were. Or how cool science is.

Ninth grade was also pretty unusual in that I moved into a new school, but your ability to teach logic made “if P, then Q” make sense. And it didn’t hurt that you were the varsity basketball coach. And the yearbook advisor. And someone that kids could turn to when we heard about bad things happening other schools. You helped us all make sense of things that were hard to understand.

Junior year was intense, and so were you. I think that’s what made us love you all the more. On paper, you were the least cool person we could’ve imagined. In the classroom, we couldn’t get enough of you. I’m still not sure how you did it, but we loved – loved – your end-0f-week quizzes. I think it was because you never made us feel bad when we struggled.

AP English – that was a magical time for many of us. Reading literature and listening to our discussions as though it was for the first time, and not the same discussions you’d heard over the prior 25 years. That was part of your magic. Oh, and we still talk about your legendary true/false quizzes, including the one where every answer was true. Keeps us guessing, still.

Someone reading this post might wonder if I had one teacher throughout my K-12 career. I had many teachers over the years – each of them unique and special in their own way. And yet all of them shared a common cause – improving the lives of young people.

So this letter is written for each of you as a heartfelt thank you to all of you, for all that you do.

Thank You.


p.s. My mom also says thank you. She’s glad you understood me so well.

Jim McVety