After I watched this video, I was inspired to thank all of the teachers who made a difference in my life. Add your own in the comments, if you wish.
Thank you, Mrs. Crowe, for teaching me how to read and write. Thank you for gifting me with a love of reading that endures today. I’ll never forget, so long as I live, the day you gave me the first Baby Sitter’s Little Sister book, by Ann Landers. It was so special to me–my greatest treasure. I no longer have it, but I do have shelves upon shelves of books upstairs, and stacks of books all over the house. I wouldn’t be who I am without your passion and instruction. Thank you.
Thank you, Mrs. Marx, for encouraging me to improve my writing skills. Thank you for believing in my ability to write good stories. You were the push I needed to stop dreaming of becoming a writer, and set out to actually be one. Your class was a safe haven for me. It was you who helped me to get over that fear that every blooming writer has: for her work to be read. Because of you, when it came time to apply to universities and choose a major, it was English: writing, and it couldn’t have been anything else. Thank you.
Thank you, Dr. Dietle, for setting the bar high for my entire college experience. The depth and breadth of your knowledge of history blew my mind. My respect for you only grew when you organized the faculty to protest for DP benefits. But seriously, thank you for telling those guys in the back of the classroom that they were being assholes for talking during your lecture. That class was my First Day of College. I had high expectations, and you did not disappoint.
Thank you, Professor Rutledge, for being so passionate about literature. I could see it in your eyes, demeanor, and hear it in your voice as you spoke. That passion, that led you to be positively giddy when we found the graves of William Faulkner’s parents in Oxford, Mississippi motivated me to keep going. Your passion, I could clearly see, extended to your students. Your outrage, and your public expression of the same, at students being mistreated at the infamous “lockdown” moved me to always speak out against wrongs. You strength and dignity in the face of all the criticism you faced for your speaking up awed me. I was, and am, proud to have had you as my adviser.
Thank you, Dr. Pat Taylor, for being a passionate, opinionated, stubborn, argumentative woman. Your class was the only one where I’d ever gotten into an argument with a teacher. It was so intense, so passionate, and it was over literature. (I’m guessing, anyway, since it was World Lit. I don’t remember.) I loved it, and I loved you. You demanded more of us, and I’m grateful. The world is a duller place without you. Lest you get the impression, from beyond the grave, that the only thing I remember is our heated argument, let me also say this: thank you for taking time to speak with me long after I’d been your student. Thank you for listening, and thank you for your advice. Thank you for being as devoted to your students as you were to literature and drama. WKU is not the same without you.
Thank you, Dr. Turner, for being open and passionate about your students and politics. Thank you for fostering a classroom environment where we could debate political points freely, while forcing us to use good, reasoned, intelligent arguments. Though you and I stand on opposite sides of the American political spectrum, I have and always will have great respect for you. Thank you for being open about your political beliefs. I want you to know that when certain people make allegations about higher education being bastions of liberal indoctrination, I always talk about you, one of my favorite professors in the political science department. Thank you for showing me that I should always respect those on the opposite side of “the aisle.” And thank you for tolerating the little things I did to maintain my sanity in the face of students who Did Not Get It.
Thank you, Chief Powell, for valuing the things that I could bring to the table of the Navy JROTC unit, and allowing and encouraging me to participate in the only way that I was able: after school. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to sit in your classroom and learn from you. But rest assured, what you did give me was invaluable. I wish that I’d come to visit with you more often.
Major Pickard, (Congrats on your promotion, though you will always be a Captain in my little Trekkie heart!) thank you for encouraging me in my ambition to be an Army officer. Thank you for encouraging to go MP, since the job that I really wanted was closed to me as a woman. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to go into the military after all, but I loved your class, and count myself fortunate to number among your students. You are a fierce, passionate man, and the Army is lucky to have you, and the Hilltopper Battalion especially so. I loved listening to your stories, and respected more than I can say your frank, open demeanor. I hope I made you proud.
I can’t possibly thank all of my teachers enough for inspiring me, for fostering a love of learning that will last a lifetime, and for opening my eyes to so many different things. I would not be the person I am without the guidance of each and every single one. Thank you, all of you, for putting in all the work that comes with teaching. Thank you for putting up with my shenanigans, my silliness, my grumpiness on the early mornings, the restlessness in the evenings, the rambling, the endless questions, rants, and arguments. Thank you for enduring. Thank you for teaching. Thank you for making a difference.