To the Teachers Who Saved My Life Without Knowing It

If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here.

For 180 days out of the year we were paired together in a classroom full of 30 to 50 other kids. Each day I walked into your class with a smile on my face, wondering what today had in store for me.

Each day you stood in front of the class and shared your knowledge with us, you simply thought you were doing your job, but what you didn’t know is you were saving my life.

You might be wondering how simply doing your job could save someone. Well, you gave me the chance to find my purpose and see beyond the darkness.

To the teachers who knew what I was going through, thank you for sticking by my side through it all. To those who didn’t, your level of care and compassion for a random student like me is remarkable.

My Ninth Grade Physics Teacher and I
My ninth-grade physics teacher and me.

There are days when I feel as though the world is crumbling beneath my feet and I am falling deeper and deeper into the darkness, and without even knowing, you are the one who pulled me out. Those were the days your class would bring a smile to my dull, lifeless face and restore the light inside of me. Whether it was by engaging my mind in an interesting lesson that distracted me from my own thoughts or noticing the day wasn’t the best and offering a hug or an ear.

Some might argue this is your job, but you went above and beyond. Nowhere in your contract does it say you must offer your whole heart to every student and devote your own time to their personal needs. I have seen teachers who believe their job is to solely teach and then their job is done; it is not a very happy life to live.

You are the one who listened to me during the only hour of free time in your day, even though you knew you had a pile of work sitting on your desk. You still sat there and we cried and laughed and talked about life. The one who hugged me in tears on the last day of school saying to call you if I ever need anything. The one who asked me how I was “really” doing every day. You understood me.

You gave me purpose. I would not be here if it weren’t for you. You made me feel like I was worth something even when I felt as though I wasn’t. You taught me life skills that would stick with me forever, and you will always be in my heart. You viewed me as a person, not just as another name on your roster, and for that I want to say thank you.

You saw beyond the cloud of grief and my struggles and pushed me to see through the darkness, even when I didn’t believe you. The two simple words — thank you — could never fully express how grateful I am for all that you did for me. I could never repay you. 

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