Not all teachers are perfect. Not all teachers are good. When we think about our teachers, we usually associate them with connotative memories: that time we got sent to the office, that time a teacher took your phone for the day, or that time a teacher told you your shorts were too short (okay, YOU try being a 6′ tall girl in high school – shorts just don’t fit, period).
But every now and then, we come across a teacher who changes our lives forever. This is the story of the teachers who did that for me (up until university – otherwise this post would get too long).
I know you have since been married and your name has changed, but you will always be Miss Hukaluk to me. You were the first teacher who ever noticed my passion and talent for English, and you encouraged me to continue with it. You listened to all of my problems at recess when I didn’t want to go outside because the playground was a battlefield filled with bullies and bad decisions. You were the first teacher I ever loved. You were a mother to me when I was sad, a sister to me when I was confused and a friend to me when I was happy.
When I ran into you at the mall last year, you made sure you asked if I was still writing. I’ll never forget the way you smiled when I told you I still did.
Thank you for supporting me.
Again, you have since been engaged/ married (I’m not sure) and your name will change but the way I feel about you won’t. You were my grade eight teacher, and do you want to know what happened when I was in grade eight? I decided to be an author when I read the note you gave me on the last day of school (and i still keep it tucked into the corner of my mirror).
It read: “Thanks for the wonderful year, Tara! I just know you’re going to be diving into a good book this summer, just like me! Who knows… Hopefully one day I’ll be reading a book written by you!”
Thank you for your belief.
You gave me some of the best and hardest advice I’d ever received on the first day of high school. You said, “Life gets harder and harder until you die, so you might as well have fun while you can.”
You pulled me aside to tell me my writing was phenomenal, and you told me you were going to grade me harder than everyone else to challenge me. I learned more about grammar in your class than in any other English class I’ve ever taken.
Thank you for your wisdom.
I really debated not putting you on this list, Mr. R. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t understand anything you talked about in that grade eleven math class. You were funny and I enjoyed your lectures, but I just couldn’t learn with your teaching style. I tried my hardest, and I know I still disappointed you. You gave me so much grief and I spent hours pouring over math books with tutors, trying so hard to get that 60% that I finished your class with.
You saw me crying when i got a 28% on the final exam, and you let me re-take it because you knew I could do better. With all the extra help I had, I only got a 48% on my final re-take, but I’m so glad you gave me that second chance.
Thank you for never giving up on me.
Most people fell asleep in your history lectures, but I never did. World history was a passion of yours, and you turned it into a passion of mine. Moreover, you were the FIRST AND ONLY teacher who understood my need to doodle. (For those of you who know me, I doodle constantly on paper or my hands because it’s therapeutic and calms me down when I’m agitated or nervous. Even Mrs. Dittmar ridiculed me in class once or twice for drawing while she was speaking, even though I was paying attention).
You let me doodle all through your lectures, knowing that I was paying close attention to your every word.
Thank you for inspiring me to want to see the world.
And a special thank you to all my university and college professors for understanding my weird behaviours and quirks. Thank you to my teachers because without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Thank you for teaching me.