Read this, cry, and then send a thank you note to every great teacher you ever had
It takes so much time, work, dedication, and love to become a great teacher, and that’s part of what makes the truly impactful ones so wonderful. What’s even better is that they’re rare, yet almost everyone had at least one.
Teachers are responsible for shaping our lives at the times when we’re most impressionable, and that might be why the truly great ones leave such an impression. Think back to the really great teachers you had throughout your life. I’m sure you can remember some of the life lessons they taught you. My 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Jonz, gave me a small piece of advice that’s stuck with me for all these years: “Life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy.” She was so right, and even today, if a book hasn’t grabbed me by the first 100 pages, it’s time to set it aside. Reading should be one of life’s most joyful experiences, and life is too short to slog through a book when there are so many out there that would bring me genuine joy.
Now, a viral Twitter thread is allowing people from all over the country to share the stories of the teachers who instilled the greatest life lessons in them. It was started by Matt Moore, who writes about the NBA for Action Network HQ, and tweeted, “What teacher made the biggest impact on you and what did they tell you that stuck with you?”
I had several, my journalism teacher Mr. King who told me I needed to stop avoiding being a writer was one.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 27, 2018
Also Coach Bishop for AP History who told me I needed to stop thinking what I had to say was so important all the time, shut the hell up and listen.
Oh, and Mrs. Bird who told me it was unacceptable and quite frankly embarrassing that I engaged in such woeful commitment to avoiding a challenge.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 27, 2018
After Moore shared his stories, others started chiming in with their own. These teachers were clearly so invested in their students’ lives, and we can only hope they know how great they really are.
My composition teacher in high school who would return my papers bleeding in red ink while everyone else just got a letter grade. Asked her about it once and she said something like "You, my dear, have a chance of being good at this." https://t.co/kLBEWRmQnu
— Benjamin Hoffman (@BenHoffmanNYT) February 27, 2018
Mr. Lorenc — English/Literature teacher in high school. Told me I could write an A- term paper in my sleep but he wants to see what it’s like when I write one fully awake. https://t.co/hTglwfuuZa
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) February 27, 2018
Professor Carey O’Donnell was a business professor, but he urged me continue writing about sports and comedy. Told me “don’t waste a talent because people tell you there’s no money in it. Money comes when you put 100% into what you love”. Never forgot that https://t.co/dNkyel0x8t
— george kondoleon (@georgeythegreek) February 27, 2018
The seventh grade literature teacher who fought to get me back in the gifted program when she noticed I was bored https://t.co/PAF7UXZo20
— Sarah Kelly Shannon (@thesarahkelly) February 27, 2018
5th-grade teacher Mr. Bryant. Showed us the importance of learning about other cultures. Taught us the basics of understanding the Chinese language in both spoken and written word. Took us to Chinatown in Chicago. Taught us how to make egg rolls in class. Guy was pretty awesome https://t.co/1lmcN15rac
— Stephon (@SMosley21) February 27, 2018
Story after story poured in, each was as heartwarming as the last.
9th grade algebra teacher, who pulled me aside after getting a C on a test and asked what happened. Told her i’ve never been good at math and all my old teachers can attest to that. She said “well fuck them” and i never got lower than a 90 on her tests throughout that year https://t.co/YV7QgnAw8p
— Dwyane Wade’s Prodigal Son (@JustinWindows_) February 27, 2018
10th and 11th grade History Teacher, Mr. Dowdle. He made us confront the ugly and hard things in history. We had to talk about them, have civil discourse even when we didnt agree. We had to learn to understand others.— Brady Withers (@freddyfromutah) February 27, 2018
Mrs. Gaddy/AP US Government. Nothing in particular but I think she saw my passion for government and politics and was always encouraging and promoted an atmosphere conducive to learning and thought provoking conversations about our government https://t.co/hTB6uSQkRX
— Wakawakawakanda (@DarthDandious) February 27, 2018
My professor and advisor back at VSU wouldn’t let me switch from computer engineering to computer science lmao. She literally refused to sign the paper. Told me give it 2 weeks and come back. So I did, n she ripped it up in front of me 💀💀. Best thing that happened 4 me that yr https://t.co/DhlIxZNtet
— DJ Payne (@OHTHATS_DJ) February 27, 2018
11th grade construction teacher pulled me aside one day and said that I'm really smart and good at this and if I ever considered engineering. Career path was made that exact day. https://t.co/Ol8dS5OA8J
— Reez (@FareezyCheesy) February 27, 2018
So many people had their young lives shaped or changed by their teachers, and it’s enough to restore anyone’s faith in humanity, even during these trying times.
High School math teacher & coach Mr. Noem told me after a horrible day,"You're a leader, so start acting like it."
Also, my stats teacher Mr. Aho. He didn't say anything, but knew I was gifted in Math. So, he always had a challenge problem for me to work on when I was done. https://t.co/rES520uHsT
— Barry D. Jacobsen (@bdjacobsen) February 27, 2018
My choir teacher in high school impacted my life more than I can even explain and made me a better person, he pushed me to not settle for less than my best. he died in 2006, 4 years after I graduated and I never got to tell him how much I loved and appreciated him. https://t.co/1QxX6rk9lY
— 🇺🇸 Curling Otter 🇺🇸🌹 (@patronusisotter) February 27, 2018
Junior year English teacher gave me a ton of books to take home, some of the first books I’ve ever owned. He stressed the importance of owning books and having them around the house. https://t.co/q0B6DbUPY9
— non roster invitee (@ballerlibrarian) February 27, 2018
Ms. Helm, 10th grade honors class at Seoul American High School. Forced me to confront history and literature from a different perspective and didn't let me skate by.
Her daily reminder that "everything is related!" (politics, art, history, culture, etc.) has never left me. https://t.co/ZbFoPHo448
— Jake From the Statesman (@JakeHarris4) February 27, 2018
Need a minute to dry your tears? Yeah, me too.
The bottom line is that what teachers do is so damn important, and they deserve the world, because they literally give the world to their students. And while this thread is inspiring to anyone who reads it, the hope it’s giving to teachers might actually be the best thing to come out of it.
Been less than enthused with teaching lately, but reading some of these responses reminded me that we can actually make an impact with a simple comment or piece of advice. https://t.co/PcOdGCrexx
— ㅤㅤMatt Jones (@MattJonesTFR) February 27, 2018
If you know any teachers, give them a hug or some other sign of thanks today, because damn, do they deserve it.