Since this is National Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to honor some of my former teachers for the things they taught me. Whether they know it or not, they laid the groundwork for me to have a career in special education. Initially I was worried that such a personal post might not be applicable to everyone, but then it occurred to me that all of us have had teachers in our lives who have made an impact on us. Even though I had no intention of becoming a teacher when I was young, I can see the values that my former teachers instilled in me, like a love for learning and love for people. Hopefully reading this list of “thank yous” will remind you of how someone invested in you and helped you become who you are today.

  • Thank you to Mrs. Van Z for making your classroom a safe place for learning. I may not remember all of your lessons specifically, but I remember how you made me feel.
  • Thank you to Miss Lommers for giving me the benefit of the doubt. I remember your compassion and it reminds me to show it to my students as well.
  • Thank you to Mrs. Korvar for attempting to teach me organizational skills. It has been a struggle for me throughout my whole life but your initial investment taught me to strive to keep things in order.
  • Thank you to Mrs. Winchester for believing in my potential even when I did not see it myself. You’ll never know how much you seeing leadership qualities in me boosted my self-confidence.
  • Thank you to Mrs. Bowers for keeping things positive in the classroom. It showed me that having the right attitude goes a long way.
  • Thank you to Mr. Hamilton for encouraging me to give honor to our country and to those who went before us as they created the American experience.
  • Thank you to Mr. Blankenship for investing in a relationship with me even though you were never my classroom teacher. It meant a lot to me that a staff member paid attention and cared about me.
  • Thank you Mrs. Smith and Miss Sitarz for not making a big deal out of the fact that we had students with disabilities in our class. They were always just part of our class.
  • Thank you to Mr. Rouse for proving that bow ties were cool even before the Eleventh Doctor wore one.
  • Thank you to Mr. Hamman for reading picture books to us (even though we were high school students). It shows that no one is too young or too old to enjoy and learn from a picture book.
  • Thank you for Miss Barnhart for treating my ideas with respect even though I was young. It helped me to believe that what I thought made a difference.
  • Thank you to Mr. Newkirk to stretching my faith in things seen and unseen. Our conversations were only the beginning of my spiritual journey.
  • Thank you to Mr. Stewart for piquing my interest in psychology. Opening that first psych textbook felt like I was finally home.
  • Thank you to Mrs. Cronquist for developing in me a love of photography and the visual arts. It has increased my quality of life exponentially.

Before this list gets too long…thank you to the countless other teachers and professors that invested time in me and molded me into the special educator that I am today.

Now a challenge. Take some time to write out a reflection on the teachers that touched your life. Do you think you would be the person you are today without their influence? Do you think the knowledge you learned in school was more about relationships or information?