Dear Teachers, Thanks.
I teach. A class of 15 College Freshmen.
And I'm eating my own words for every time I swore to my Mom (a teacher) that I'd never be a teacher, especially since she encouraged me to become a teacher a mother loving TON of times.
A "mother loving"...get it?
And, what's even more "I told you so" about this whole teaching thing, is that I'm loving every second of it.
So here I am, dreaming to be the teachers I had. When students sit in my class I want them to discover more of themselves, to feel believed in, and to be inspired to actually change the world instead of leaving it up to that over-achieving destined-to-be-president kid they sit next to in philosophy class.
I don't even have to think of ONE amazing teacher I had once, cause the truth is, I hit jackpot in the magical teacher department. Hogwarts, watch out.
I'm not sure if all of them would be over-joyed to hear that most of what they taught me wasn't the stuff I got SAT tested on. But here's a few things I've kept in my back pocket all these years that it's time to thank them for...
Mrs. Light- 2nd grade
I peed my pants during class and lied to her that it was my water bottle that spilled. My friend, Dan, peed HIS pants in second grade and the whole class found out and never let him live it down.... But Mrs. Light never said anything about the "water" on the floor, even though I think she knew what it really was...I owe her a lot. Like my social status. And a really big hug. And some anti-bacterial hand sanitizer.
Mrs. Jones- 3rd grade
Everyone needs a teacher that knows how to laugh and use their imagination. Mrs. Jones... she knows how.
Mrs. Calzada- 5th grade
She's the first person that told me I was a good writer. She also taught me what a menstrual cycle is... and for that, I really am grateful.
Mrs. Deckert- High School Principal
The kind of person who is faithful to you no matter what you've done. She's always encouraged me to speak my heart, because she's always believed I have something worth saying. How great is it that someone told me that what I have to say is of value?
Mr. Holland- Theatre guru
Oh this guy........He taught me the importance of fun, openness, and strength. He was also one of the realest people I've ever met that calls themselves a Christian... life is messy and faith is hard and at some point he communicated that to me, and the perfectionist in me is forever grateful.
Mrs. Wolfe and Mrs. Lewis- HOLY JUNIOR HIGH BATMAN!?!
These two are the cheerleaders that never stopped cheering even after the game was over. They knew me through acne/braces, ugly makeup in my wanna-be-A*TEENS phase, and awkward flirtatiousness with wishywashy boys. And they STILL think I'm cool.
Kristen Whitbeck- Highschool Everything
She poured out her life for her students' hearts, souls, and minds. When it came to teaching, she was not bound to the classroom.
Mr. Dodson- High School English
He had a rug in his classroom I took a nap on during study hall once. He helped us understand and laugh at Chaucer. And one of the most meaningful letters I've ever received in my life, he wrote to my graduating class... he challenged us to leave high school with open eyes, ready to learn well, and ready to let our own values and beliefs be tested, molded, and changed. Thanks Dodson, I sure have.
Wendi Dykes- The Happiest Place on Earth Communications Professor
The first time I had a class with Wendi she informed us that her husband had suddenly passed away a few months before and that life for her family was a sudden season she was still embracing. But no matter what, every day in Wendi's class was live giving and fun. I'm so grateful she always showed up with practicality and real life stories.... I learned so much from her about life, hard work, Disneyland, and the importance of enjoying the work I do.
Karen Sorensen Lang- Persuasion and Attitude Change
You know someone's pretty impactFULL when they're the reason you want to be a professor. Confident, intelligent, and witty are all Karen. I never felt like she was teaching AT us... a gesture that somehow made me feel valued as a human being.
Paul Kaak- Leadership
I no longer hate philosophy. THAT'S magical.
Kristin Ritzau- Leadership
She's the AA leader for recovering perfectionists. And she made me want to get my masters degree. Me, the girl who didn't even want to attend college. And lots of my friends told me I should be her when I grow up. And I'm just grateful for her vulnerability, care, and confidence.
The Anonymous Teacher
Because you really shouldn't attach names to stories like these, I'd also like to mention that in one of her marriage talks with our all girl's class, THIS Anonymous teacher definitely advised us never to try sex in the shower. I'd just like her to know that I've taken her advice. And think it's pretty legit. I'll pass it on.