Most of us have had one or more teachers that have inspired us, guided us, had faith in us, and helped us to become better people than we would have without them. I have had many. One shared with me the following letter he received from one of his students in 2004. You may have wanted to write something like this to one of your teachers. It’s not too late. As you read this, think about the effect it had on the man who got it. The fact that he saved it (this is only part of the letter) tells you how much it moved him.
“You have really turned me on to the subject. You have sparked my interest. The way you teach, the style you use, and the examples you give can be a credit to that. Teaching isn't just giving students information. It is about presenting that information in a method which allows students to grasp it. It is hard to put a finger on the one technique you use to accomplish that, so I won't try. I don't need to make my own guess. You probably know what techniques should be used to help students learn, and that is why you use them. So, because of your teaching skills you fall into a category made up of a small group of teachers that can be characterized as "great teachers." But even within this category there is a smaller sub-category. It is made up of teachers that are inspiring and thought provoking. They teach far beyond the subject. They teach about life, purpose, and meaning. A student from a class taught by a teacher from this sub-category gains more than just knowledge, they gain insight into their soul. Many people go through life searching for answers. I'm not saying that this kind of teacher provides all those answers. Instead what they do is help people start asking the right questions. You are one of those teachers. Your sharing of some of your personal life stories has helped me see things about my own life. Your stories have inspired me as a person and as a Christian. I felt I needed to tell you that. I know I would like to know if I made a difference in someone's life. I think you touch a lot of people's lives, and those people in-turn touch more people's lives. Long after you are gone you will be a role model to me. What you say is so true, ‘Relationships are the most important thing in life.’”
If you have someone in your life who has touched you, let them know. This student was obviously changed by this teacher. If a teacher changed you, let him or her know. Find them on Facebook, Google+, or through the alumni association at your school, but let them know they were important to you. You will both feel better since giving is a gift in itself.
(if you email me, I will give you the name of the student and the teacher--it's not a secret)