A Letter to Teachers

In light of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, I want to make sure every teacher I meet feels loved and appreciated.

Dear Teachers,

I know when you started this job, you did not sign up to be the first line of defense against gun violence. They didn’t train you to be a human shield; yet times have changed, and that’s what you’ve had to become. I know you’re scared, because I am too. “That could have been my school,” runs through my head as I read the latest headlines, so it must be going through yours as well. I think of my mom who is a teacher, and my brother, a high school student, and myself, a college student. There are some days when my family spends more time in school than anywhere else, which is why this new target schools seem to have on their front doors when it comes to violence shakes me to my core.

Teachers, in light of all of this, I say thank you. What you do and who you are- it is so important. You are our protectors. Not only physically, but emotionally as well. Thank you for shielding us from the pain of our world. And for trying to hold our hearts when they are breaking. School has always been my safe haven. No matter what was going outside, I always had people inside who cared about me and showed me kindness, love and encouragement.  

                                                                 Related: I Don’t Understand The Love For Guns

Some teachers spent hours with me before and after school to ensure I succeeded in their classes. (Serious shout out to all of my math teachers who taught me with real patience.) A few wrote me recommendation letters, and I can probably never thank them enough for the words they wrote, still unknown to me, that helped me get to college and receive the scholarships I was fortunate enough to get--all which set me on a path towards a future I am so excited for.

And when the days were especially bad, others sat with me as a I cried--talking me down from anxiety or up from depression. They were my true heroes in those moments. In middle school, I received a note from a teacher who knew I was going through a hard time that said, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!” I still have that note in the top drawer of my night stand, along with every other note a teacher has ever written me. You are my heroes, my champions. The lessons you teach stretch beyond the classroom and are instilled in my being.Via Pixabay

It is crazy to think that on February 13th, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher’s biggest challenge may have been teaching a specific algebra lesson, but on February 14th, the goal was simply to survive. It makes everything seem arbitrary. And while I pray these headlines are the last of their kind, if they are not, or even if they are, I ask you to remember this: what you do matters. We remember the little things and carry you with us beyond the classroom. Thank you.