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Thanks are in order

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

I got a thank-you letter today from a graduating senior. Although teaching is very much rewarding in itself, the truth is that it can also be a very lonely job, one where you don’t know if people are even noticing your efforts, much less benefiting from them.

Getting a thank-you card from a student is totally unnecessary and just speaks to the kind of character my students have and the enormous value they place on education. On the other hand, it also feels really good to be thanked once in a while.

As I read the letter, I thought about how important and simple it is to say “thank you” and about all the "thank yous" that I owe. To past teachers. To current mentors. Most importantly, I owe a giant "thank you" to my students. I started my career as a teacher at Olney High School and I will be transitioning to a new school next year. Although I feel this is the right step for me, it is always sad to say good-bye, especially to students who have touched my life in such a profound way. Four years ago, I walked into Olney not knowing…much of anything, really. I had just moved away from everyone and everything I knew and embarked on this journey alone. Four years later, I am walking out a teacher, and my students made me that.

So, to all my Olney students, current and past: thank you. You are insanely special to me. I know that I was the one given the title “teacher,” but the truth is, you all have taught me more than you will ever know.

You have taught me patience.
You have taught me resilience.
You have taught me listening.
You have taught me confidence.
You have taught me kindness.
You have taught me friendship.
You have taught me respect.
You have taught me gratitude.
You have taught me love.
You have taught me compassion.
You have taught me loyalty.
You have taught me understanding.
You have taught me hard work.
You have taught me fun.
You have taught me how to dance.
You have taught me how to teach.

Thank you.