We've all had that one teacher, or more, that left their mark with us. Whether they went above and beyond to make sure you knew what you were doing or just provided a listening ear when you needed it, you'll never forget them.
Often times, the people that influence and affect our lives the most never know it. We take them for granted and assume our appreciation is known. Some of us even find it unnecessary. After all, they are teachers, it's their job--right? Most of us are too busy resenting their existance while slaving over that 10 page paper or challenging care plan. It's hard to fully appreciate the value of a great teacher until you've had some duds. There are those who couldn't care less about the student, but found the perk of having summers off too good to pass up. It's a shame, and our children, as well as adults for those continuing their education later on, are the ones who suffer.
In grammar school, I had a teacher call me stupid. I was never good at math, and when it decided to start involving the alphabet, forget about it. That didn't stop me from trying, mind you. I would always ask questions, but that would frustrate the teachers until they stopped answering me, believing I was just trying to waste time. "You can't be that dumb"--and so, I started believing I was. I was defeated and figured I must be too stupid to help when even the teachers give up trying. It is quite possibly one of the most embarrassing feelings in the world.
Then I got bit by the nursing bug. You know the one I'm talking about. You realize it's the perfect career for you, though stressful and demanding. So I applied and was accepted into nursing school, the first of my prerequisites being College Algebra. I was terrified and so sick with anxiety my first day of class, I probably looked as if I was entering a medieval tourture chamber. I imagined myself being the only idiot who failed and would therefore flunk out of nursing school, effectively crushing my dream of becoming a nurse. After all, a nurse needs to know math very well, and I was thinking I was going to fail before I even began.
Enter my professor. We'll call him Mr. C. While I sat there, utterly discouraged and intimidated, Mr. C started talking about the class, assignments, expectations, you know, the usual first day spiel. It was then that I realized he couldn't possibly be my math professor. He had to be a motivational speaker of some sort, who lost his way and ended up in this classroom. He explained that he struggled with math while he was in school and needed to study more than his classmates in order to grasp the material. If he could do it, so could we. He was there for us and we could ask as many questions as we needed, and he would work with us until we understood it. As for tests, he would review them with us so we knew where we went wrong and could then retake it to get a better grade. There are no stupid students in his class. I had tears in my eyes because for the first time, I felt a surge of hope and confidence. Yes, I could do this. Yes, I could succeed. I was not a lost cause or stupid any longer, and in fact, I never was.
Tomorrow will only be the start of my second week, but thus far, I have scored 100% on all of my assignments. I have NEVER done so well, nor understood what I was doing as much as I do now. I'm not afraid to ask him a question if I don't understand a problem, or to keep asking him to explain it when I still don't get it. He doesn't judge me or throw up his hands in frustration, rather he chooses another way of explaining it, and I learn. I'm not just learning math, I'm learning that he was right, I'm not stupid. I can pass and do well throughout my courses, disproving everyone who has said otherwise. That means more to me than words can say. When I pass this class, not if, but when, I'm going to sit down with Mr. C and make sure he knows just how much I appreciate his dedication and genuine caring attitude.
We should all thank our teachers, not just those in the classroom, but anyone who chose to take the time and teach us or show us something we didn't know or were struggling with. They are so often over looked and taken for granted. Brushed aside in our haste to move up and on. If someone touches your life, makes it better, helps you, it doesn't take much to offer a heartfelt thank you. To let them know just how much of a difference they made, if only for one person, because in the end, it matters.
So thank you. Not just Mr. C, but every teacher who has made a difference in a child's, student's, or adult's life. For guiding them as they find their way, for showing them their hidden abilities, for helping them succeed and reach their dreams. Thank you.