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An Open Letter Celebrating the Teachers Who Have Inspired Me Over the Years

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

As I finish up my undergraduate career, I have done a lot of reflecting on my educational experience. Before I enter into the teaching field completely, I wanted to take the time to write an open letter to the teachers and people who have inspired me over the years to pursue my education, and ultimately a career in the education field.

To my elementary teachers…

I wish I could go back to remember more of what I learned and relive the fun experiences I shared. Besides making friends, learning how to read and write, and beginning to learn what it was like to be a student, the one thing I remember the most from my elementary school was the amount of love and support I received from my teachers. I may not remember every moment, every classmate I had, or where I sat in each classroom, but I will always remember the care and support I felt from my teachers. I find myself having glimpses of activities or memories from elementary school from time to time. However, I will always hold onto the people who helped shaped who I am as the student I am today. Thank you to my five teachers (kindergarten to fourth grade) — you all are amazing. I am forever grateful to be one of your students, and I hope you know you have positively touched my life.  

To my junior high teachers…

From fifth to eighth grade, the one thing I remember so vividly is the sense of community within the school. I loved going to school every day and finally getting to change classes. I remember feeling on top of the world by eighth grade. I was surrounded by friends and wonderful teachers and truly felt a sense of school pride. One thing I remember most from seventh grade is reading a book every day during study hall — I could not stop reading. I owe my passion for books and reading all to my English teacher who not only shared that but allowed me to continually get new books and visit the library. There are too many teachers to name, but you all are amazing. I am forever grateful to have been one of your students, even if it was for a short period throughout the four years. You all helped me recognize the importance of learning and the power of surrounding yourself with supportive people.  

To my high school teachers…

I learned pretty quickly in high school that I wanted to be successful and learn as much as possible. I recognized the importance of all subjects, even though I was not a huge fan of science or history. Even with my “least” favorite subjects, I learned SO much. I had the most supportive teachers in high school, and I would not be where I am today without those special people who helped pave the way for me. Whether it was having conversations about life when we were supposed to be learning about literature, funny moments in the weight room, or even the moments where it seemed like everything wasn’t going my way, the four years were unforgettable. I had my moments and days where I claimed to hate high school, but looking back now, I did not hate high school. I preserved through and set high expectations for myself. I made lifelong friends, was inspired by my favorite teachers to pursue teaching, and discovered who I wanted to be. To all of my high school teachers and coaches, I am forever grateful to have been one of your students. You taught me that I am responsible for the life I want to live and build. You taught me how to make decisions for myself, without worrying about what other people want. You taught me the skills and content I needed to succeed at a university. You are inspiring to your past, present, and future students — don’t ever forget that.

To my college professors…

My college experience has been unlike any other experience I have had in my life, and I mean that in the best way possible. I went from being an uncertain freshman who was caught up in the idea of college, to now being a graduating senior who is ready for the next steps in adulthood. One thing I will take away the most from college is how professors treat you – like adults. Maybe it’s because I’m older and more mature, but I never understood what it meant to be “treated like an adult” until I went away to college. I now see the value and power in being proud of who you are and owning your uncertainties in life. It’s important to be proud of your identity and be willing to learn and grow. Being at college for me has been an experience of growth. I have had tons of professors over the last few years, in person or virtual, but what stands out to me the most is the professors who humanized themselves and reminded all of us that we are working towards the same things. We want to be successful. We want to learn and grow. We want to continue to improve and reach new limits. We all want to do our best. To my college professors, thank you for preparing and supporting me as much as possible throughout these last four years. This time in my life feels so important, and so I want to acknowledge the support I have received from professors these past few years. You are amazing. I hope you continue to inspire, push students past their limits, and continue learning alongside your students. Education is such a collaborative process, and I recognize that now more than ever. I am forever grateful to be one of your colleagues and to have learned from you all.

To my mom…

My favorite teacher of all. I have always admired you for your dedication to helping others and wanting to make the world a better place. I am privileged to be your daughter and I hope you know how much you inspire me – both with my education and in my day-to-day life. While I haven’t been in your classes as a student, I know that you are excellent at what you do. I hope you continue to help students succeed and guide them to reach their full potential. I hope to follow in your footsteps and continue making the world a better place like you have.

To those who have supported my education journey, I am grateful to you. For all the other teachers I know — family, friends, mentor teachers, future colleagues, and so forth — I hope you continue to inspire others. Continue being supportive and caring. Teaching is rewarding work, and I hope you never lose sight of the impact and importance you make in the lives of so many students.



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Lynn Merigold

Illinois State '23

Lynn graduated from Illinois State University, where she was a contributing writer, chapter editor/president, and member of the Campus Trendsetters community. When she’s not teaching, you can find her spending time with family/friends, attending a fitness class, or listening to an audiobook!