Here’s a real surprise: teachers are human, too! There’s nothing sweeter than to have a student send you a note or an email during or after the course, one that thanks you for instructing him or her for the past eight or sixteen weeks.
I had a student recently who thanked me after every class, not in an Eddie Haskell kind of way (this is a cultural reference to Leave it to Beaver from the late 1950s) but sincerely and from the heart. It was so sweet of him. I know he wasn’t currying favor, since he was at the very top of the class. He was just very thoughtful and appreciative.
I have a bunch of student thank you notes that I will never toss out. They will go with me to my grave, if that’s possible (sons of mine, pay attention here!). I put them on my wall, where I can see them every day.
Perhaps you have a special teacher who has gone the extra mile. Thank him or her for it. It doesn’t need to be a fancy card. A couple of the most precious notes I have are on notebook paper pulled from the student’s binder.
What has a teacher done for you lately? How about in the long-ago past? I will never forget Mrs. Mary Williams (aka Mother Mary) from my high school down in Florida so many years ago. She spent countless hours correcting our essays and she made me into the writer I am today. (My essays became weighty tomes due to volume, not depth or insight. They frequently looked like they were hemorrhaging, they had so much red ink on them.)
She died a long time ago, but I still remember her fondly. She used to dramatize the literature we studied, making it come alive in a wonderful way. I cannot read Catcher in the Rye, The Scarlet Letter, or Ethan Fromm without thinking about her characterization of those now-icons.
Who has been an inspiration to you? Please let that teacher know.