It’s no secret that teaching is a tough job. It’s also no secret that students don’t always appreciate the regular reminders to work harder, tuck in that shirt and do your best. However at the end of our school, college or university years we have time to reflect on our journey and start to appreciate those who have been along for the ride, the time when those things our teachers were bugging us about actually start to make sense!
Have you read the really touching article about a guy who sent his teacher a $10,000 cheque to “tell her she rocks”? Kevin Perz also wrote a lovely letter to Mrs Mecham explaining what a positive impression she’s made on him and his other classmates.
This article got me thinking about the sentiment of a yearbook and how this is a great home for those final messages to the teachers (and other staff) who made an impact on our lives.
With IM, email, text and a million other forms of online communication; writing a letter may seem archaic. Shaping more than just a handful of words requires extra thought and shows a personal side that perhaps a quick Snapchat message may lack (in my opinion). Edutopia has a great article of letters written to teachers – they are open, honest and really personal to the experience of that student. Here are a couple of my favourites:
Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your time. Thank you for helping me with my homework. Thank you for setting me homework. Thank you for staying behind to help me, even when I know there are lots of other places you’d rather be. Thank you for keeping me company on camp when no one else was there. Thank you for not embarrassing me in front of my friends. Thank you for explaining things until I understand. Thank you for making me do my best. Thank you for being my teacher.
Sarah (Year 8)
I hated you when I first met you. I hated the fact that you made me stand up straight. I hated the way you made me wear my uniform right. I hated the way you made me speak correctly. Most of all, I hated the way that you wouldn’t accept my work unless it was the best I could do. And the best always seemed more effort than I was willing to put in.
We had lots of arguments, at the start. I remember being kept in at lunch a lot. And despite my yelling and threats – even tears once or twice – I remember you never lost your temper. You were always patient with me. You always took the time to listen to me, whenever I wanted to be heard.
I look back upon that time as so important in the development of the person that I am today. You taught me discipline. You taught me dignity. Much more than English, which was what you were supposedly teaching me, you taught me that I could achieve more than what I or other people thought that I was capable of. I could be a success, instead of a clown.
For that lesson, I owe you so much.
A student (Year 11).
Letters to teachers work really well in a leavers yearbook. It’s the ideal opportunity to share those last reflections either in a dedicated ‘Thank you letters’ page, or as part of your student profile page comments.
Don’t feel left out teachers – letters can work for you too! Writing a letter to all of your class, or to individual students is a lovely way to share experiences and memories of your time together.