An Open Letter to the Best Teacher I've Ever Had

Teachers are lowkey bada$$. They use their knowledge to shape the future and the people in it. If they’re anything like the one I’m about to talk about, they put you on your best track towards finding the most genuine version of yourself.

Before I begin, here’s some background on me.

Last year, as many other seniors in high school, I was forced to make various decisions a 17-year-old has no business making: what I wanted to do after school, where I wanted to attend college, and, at the time, my biggest stressor, what I was going to major in. Now, I realize close to everyone feels scared to make such big decisions, but I, being an over-analyzer and perfectionist, found my self constantly thinking about this. Finally, I narrowed it down to either human biology or journalism. (Yes, I know these are completely different career paths.) I had always loved writing; it was relaxing to me and I always had something to say, but the careers in biology were more reassuring and certain. By May, and after dozens of pros and cons lists plus an ungodly amount of research, I concluded human biology was the path for me. Nevertheless, I have been in college for only a month now, and I am in the middle of changing that human biology major to journalism. Now, my question isn’t ‘what should I study?’, but ‘why didn’t I realize this before?’ 

I grew up in a town with literally 317 people, my school was located in the middle of a cornfield and was mostly composed of my town plus two others around the same size. Long story short, it was super small; my graduating class was made up of 48 students. Everyone knew everyone, and for the most part, everyone cared about each other and what they were doing in their lives. We were all pretty tight.

One woman, though, made my day a little brighter every time I saw her: my English teacher. The first person I went to on a day when I was sad, stressed, bored, happy, confused, etc. was always her, and she nevertheless had a solution to whatever I needed. She cared, and still does, about all her students and all they do, not only within school but outside as well. This is the kind of teacher the schools of America need more of, people!! Teachers shape the youth in our country!

Anyways, as an overwhelmed teenage girl, it meant the world to me to have someone at school like her who cared. In fact, I think she is a huge reason why I’m in the position I’m in: changing my major and WRITING FOR THE KU CHAPTER OF HerCampus ONLINE MAGAZINE!! Who knew I’d ever get this opportunity? Because I had her to believe in me, give me feedback, see my potential, and help me to find my passion through writing, I am one step closer to living the life I see best for me! I hope everyone is able to find someone who makes them feel so safe like she did for me every day! 

Now, by “safe,” I don't mean that a teacher’s responsibility is to never push you out of your comfort zone or to suggest not to explore it. That’s not true at all! Any field of study one goes into will be full of challenges, thrills, and change, which at times can really scare an individual, but that’s the point. That’s how you grow! So, while I’m out here catching up on the courses I’m three weeks behind in because I switched my major at the absolute last minute, I know I can do this because the end result is what makes it all worth it.

I guess to answer my question about why I hadn’t realized all this before is simply the fact that I was not fully listening to what I’ve been saying to myself this whole time! The interactions I had and the love I felt while being with my English teacher is the representation of how I feel when I’m writing. It’s therapeutic; why wouldn't I want to do this the rest of my life? As for the woman that helped me gain awareness of this, thank you. Thank you for the therapy sessions, amazing hugs, and all the help with life in general. You truly have made me a better version of myself and have shown me that life is truly so simple if you let it be.