A Letter to My Teacher About My Struggles You Might Not See

Dear Teacher,

Yes, I read the homework last night. Twice. I can’t bring myself to ever not read it. My anxiety takes over and I panic wondering if you will ask if I read it or if you will give us a pop quiz. You never ask and there is never a quiz, but I had to read every mark on the 20 pages of reading. I had to reread sentences and words so I wouldn’t disappoint you. It makes me look responsible and smart, but I feel terrible when I lose sleep over missing a comma on page 194.

No, I’m not cheating. I need to sit like this because the other students’ movements and noises distract me. I wish I could tell you, but I’m too nervous you will think less of me.

Yes, I am listening. I hear every word you say, even if it doesn’t look like I do. My brain works fast. I can draw or fidget, hear every word you say, and still have room for my mind to accidentally wander away when you pause to answer a question. No, I am not looking at you, but I am still taking in more information than you can see.

Yes, I procrastinated my assignment—no really, teacher, I am sorry. I wanted to have it done for you on time without procrastination, but I spent hours researching this new interest of mine. I start reading and 10 articles later I realize three hours have passed and I panic to finish the homework I could have finessed by now. These interests are why every project or paper I do is on the same topic. One day, I will major in this topic and finally get my chance, but today is not that day, and I’m sorry.

Teacher, I know you never thought much about my quirks; after all, I was a good student and never had behavior problems.

But I did struggle.

I have graduated public education and only have one year left at my small college, where I have finally learned to advocate for myself. But I hope this letter helps you understand your current and future students who may struggle despite their high performance.

A former student

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