To my favourite teacher,

There’s good and bad teachers out there. There’s the teachers that just plod through syllabus content and leave kids behind when they don’t understand. There’s the teachers that leave questions unanswered and students confused.

But there’s also good teachers. The ones that give you solid feedback on exams and teach you how to do better next time instead of just brushing you off. The ones that give a shit about the kids in their class and see them as more than just a number.

You were one of the good ones.

You didn’t treat us like little kids, but you didn’t expect us to be complete adults either- you knew we were struggling with all the shit that comes with finishing high school and that sometimes that meant we would be a bit of a mess.

You knew there was a difference between needing a break and not trying our best. You knew that for some of us, just getting through the year was enough; regardless of our marks.

I’m not going to lie, your class wasn’t fun all the time. There were days where I was sick and tired of everything and all I wanted to do was nap through whatever you were teaching us. There were days where you demanded my homework or practice essay and I hadn’t done it.

There were days where you didn’t put up with the class’s shit, and we would spend a day hating you for it, conveniently ignoring that you were just trying to do your job and educate us.

There are things I need to apologise for. Sorry for being late to every 9am class ever (but thank you for not marking the roll until ten minutes after the bell rang).

Sorry for skipping your class when I had assignments that I needed to get done or spending the entire period working on something else. Sorry for laughing too much and disrupting the class and sorry for not appreciating you as much as I should have.

You were, honestly, my favourite. You made learning a lot easier. You were one of the few people that would explain things in a way that just made sense and many light bulb moments happened in your classroom as things just clicked. Your class was one of the few that I didn’t dread, even if I hated writing essays.

So, I want to say thank you for everything you did throughout the year.

Thank you for not embarrassing me when I asked stupid questions.

Thank you for letting the class in on little parts of your life and telling us stories about your dog.

Thank you for replying to the late emails with questions about exams and whether I was studying the right thing.

Thank you for letting us watch movies on hot days when you knew we wouldn’t be able to focus in class.

Thank you for throwing us a party on our last days of term and letting us pig out on pizza and lollies.

Thank you for not telling me to pull myself together when I bawled my eyes out because I was scared I would fail my final exams (thank you for giving me a tissue and letting me get everything out instead).

Thank you for being honest when you knew I wasn’t trying my hardest, or could do better work.

Thank you for not giving up on me or deciding I was a lost cause–instead you helped me the whole way through.

Thank you for reminding me that school is more than marks and assessments, that it’s possible to walk away from a class feeling like you actually learnt something valuable.

I know I wasn’t the best student you ever had. In the years to come you will have a new wave of students come through your classroom and you might not be able to match my face with my name.

But that’s okay because maybe one day I’ll forget your name too. I might forget exactly what you taught me during class or what texts we studied. But I won’t forget you making me feel like I was more than a number. That my value was not defined by my final mark or my ranking.

I won’t forget what it’s like to truly understand something or to learn something wholeheartedly; not because it will be an exam question, but because the person teaching it is so passionate it’s infectious.

So, to my favourite teacher–thank you, for everything.