An Open Letter to the Teachers Who Changed Our Lives

Thank you letters
We asked our staff to tell us about a teacher who changed their lives for the better. The patterns that arise in their responses are cause for inspiration. They reveal that one amazing teacher can change the course of a student’s life forever. We are all the living legacies of this truth.

The lasting impact of educators

We asked our staff to tell us about a teacher who changed their lives for the better.

By openly sharing their responses, we hope to remind you that your work matters, not just today, tomorrow, or next week, but also for years to come as your students grow, learn, and become adults.

Without further ado, here’s what our staff told us about their favorite teacher.

We asked them to complete the sentence, “I’m grateful for this teacher because. . .”

The patterns that arise in their responses are cause for inspiration. They reveal that one amazing teacher can change the course of a student’s life forever.

We are all the living legacies of this truth.

Word cloud of positive words describing teachers

Word Cloud: Our staff’s responses to the question: “What five adjectives would you use to describe your favorite teacher?”

31 Reasons We’re Grateful for Our Favorite Teachers

  1. Because she went above and beyond to show me what a teacher should be and motivated me to become a teacher myself.
  2. Because he believed that leaders learned by doing and gave us opportunities to succeed.
  3. Because he helped me see that it was okay to be me.
  4. Because he cared.
  5. Because I would not be the person, student, nor teacher that I am without him. I majored in chemistry because of the passion I experienced for the subject in his classes. I saw a whole new dedication to students demonstrated through him that I wanted to give to my students.
  6. Because she made me who I am today.
  7. Because he helped me cement my decision to go into education, but also provided me a great role model as someone who was always striving to do the right thing for kids and to make them feel like they were all valuable in his classroom.
  8. Because he helped me find my voice.
  9. Because he held me accountable and taught me how I should act as an adult.
  10. Because he pushed me past my own limits and showed me how much farther I could go!
  11. Because she made me feel welcomed, valued, and supported when I was the “new kid” in the class.
  12. Because she was a wonderful person and she taught me more about English than you’d think possible in just one year.
  13. Because she believed in me.
  14. Because she taught me to stay engaged because there is always an opportunity to learn.
  15. Because he made me want to grow and pursue bigger and better opportunities. He was always available and in your corner cheering you on. He was a fantastic role model.
  16. Because I became a teacher because of him. I wanted to be able to reach out to students the way he did and to make a difference in kids lives the way he made a difference in mine!
  17. Because she made me realize that I could go beyond the limited expectations I had for myself.
  18. Because of the experiences he provided for me and because he is the reason I became a teacher.
  19. Because sixth grade was a busy year for many of us: new school, new neighborhood, new routines, new teachers. It could have been a lost year, but it turned out one of the best in my memory.
  20. Because she made my high school years so much easier, socially and emotionally. I could always go talk to her. She became a lifelong friend with whom I still have contact.
  21. Because he was a good listener and really cared that the message I was trying to express in my writing came through. He wanted me to accomplish the things I wanted to accomplish and was able to help train me to do it.
  22. Because she made learning fun and always had a new and innovative idea of how to teach a topic.
  23. Because she was a hard worker even when she became ill with cancer. She always took the time to care for her students and put us first.
  24. Because he changed my life’s work from engineering (not what girls did in those days either!) to teaching German and expanding students’ horizons — something I’m still doing 49+ years later!
  25. Because she was a rock I could depend upon.
  26. Because she was one of the first teachers I had that treated me like a real person with real goals and interests outside of the class subject.
  27. Because without him, I would never have understood that a different future was possible.
  28. Because she taught me that we all have gifts to give others.
  29. Because she showed me how an effective, caring teacher could make a difference in someone’s life. I truly believe that I would not have become a teacher had she not been in my life.
  30. Because her commitment to my potential helped me see and believe in it, and the force of her personality and methods kept me remembering her as my favorite and most impactful teacher for (yikes…) 46 years!
  31. Because he was a kind person.

Now, it’s your turn! 

What was your favorite teacher like? How have they continued to impact your life as an adult? If you have a story you’d like to share, leave a comment below and we may share your response on our Twitter account. Thank you to all of you educators out there for everything you do to make our world a better place!

Picture of Nikki Herta

Nikki Herta

Nikki’s love for writing, editing and pedagogy brought her to Michigan Virtual as their Content Creator/Editor. A Michigan native, she studied writing at Grand Valley State University before continuing on to the University of Minnesota for her master’s degree. While there, she also taught first-year writing to college freshman. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, playing table-top board games, and curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book and her sassy, ancient cat, Princess Eugene.

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