You changed my life.
You believed in me when I didn’t know if I should – or could – believe in myself. You took moments just for me. You ignored the rest of the world and saw me.
You dedicated your life to teaching, both in formal and informal capacities. Being a teacher became part of your identity. You didn’t just go to work to teach, you became a teacher.
In moments outside the classroom, you thought about me. I’m sure you thought about other students, too, but you thought about me. You asked questions. You listened to answers. You heard what wasn’t said and saw what was in my eyes.
You created opportunities in ways that invited everyone to participate. Everyone. The students who were unsure about their role immediately knew they had a place in your classroom – in your world.
You inspired me. Over 20 years later and I still am deeply grateful for the moments you took to lift me, educate me, nurture me. You instilled in me a love of learning and curiosity that has driven every aspect of my life. You took me – a gangly 10-year-old who was mocked on the playground – and taught me I was smart and I was kind and I was capable and I was going to do amazing things.
When I see you – years later – you still remember my name. You know my family. You still look at me with the same encouragement and believing eyes that I saw and felt in my formative years. You are still encouraging me in my “formative” years. You taught me that these are all formative years.
I’m still learning because of you.
I’m still curious because of you.
I’m still confident because of you.