We hear about all the great teachers in the counseling office. The one who set the times tables to the tune of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” ensuring kids will remember them forever, even if it will take a while to get to eight times nine. Mr. Jones, the history teacher who dressed up like Benjamin Franklin for an entire week and never once broke character. The tenth grade English teacher who finally explained “I after e” in a way that made sense. When you put that much thought into a lesson, it’s makes for memorable teaching.
Of course, that’s not the only way teachers become memorable. The teacher who said just the right words at just the right time to the bully who had incredible art talent, making the student more comfortable with who they really were, and less of a bully. The teacher who wore the cut-rate perfume a special needs student gave her at Christmas, every time that student had a spelling test—the same perfume she’d wear when attending that student’s graduation from medical school. The teacher who shows up at the Saturday soccer league and cheers loudly for all of her students on the sidelines, even though her students are spread throughout both teams, and it’s forty degrees out.
The Dalai Lama was happy. The Sikh was happy. Everybody was happy. It was a happy moment. Later that same day the Dalai Lama was to be found at an event called Creating A Happier World. Thank You Messages for Teachers from Parents As a parent you will be so grateful for a teacher that inspires your child. Or one that works hard to help them reach their potential. Giving them a thank you note or card for that support is a kind way to show how much you appreciate their work. Thank you for being such an amazing teacher! You are a great teacher and we are so happy to have you as our teacher. Your teaching does not end here; you will continue being a great influence in my life. Thank you for the amazing work you do and the big impact you make on students as a teacher.
You can’t analyze a test score to determine what these teachable moments do to the learning and learning habits of students, but everyone seems to understand what they do to students’ learning, and students’ lives. Like recess, these teachable moments inspire in ways we can’t quite measure, but we still know their worth is beyond measure.
These aren’t just discrete, feel-good stories. Most of my counseling work for the last thirteen years has involved working with students in college placement. In that time, every student—every single one—has had the chance to go to college; most have earned at least one merit scholarship, and for those who have been out for four years or more, nearly all of them have finished college on time.
Almost none of that is due to me. It’s a tribute to the teacher who took a group of six year-olds into the woods for an entire class period and told them to watch and listen—and they did; to the teacher who had flags from 45 nations in his fourth-grade Social Studies classroom, and talked about the country each flag represented for a full year; to the two teachers who took significant scorn from their colleagues every year they wanted to team teach Lord of the Flies, because it threw such a wrench into the middle school schedule.
Making the most of college—and learning a trade for that matter—isn’t at all about getting in. It’s about the absorbing, the becoming, the grappling of new ideas that doesn’t end until the idea is now an honored friend. That state of mind, the acquisition of the habits needed to do that kind of learning, is the essence of teaching. It is alive and well in the classrooms of the colleagues I eat lunch with. More important, it is in the hearts, minds and souls of the students they serve.
This week reminds me of the story of the principal who was interviewing candidates for a middle school English position. The first five interviews were all remarkably short, where the principal asked each candidate what they taught. When they responded, “I teach English”, the principal said, “I see. Well, thank you for coming in.”
The interview with the sixth candidate started with the same question, “What do you teach?” When the candidate responded, “Why, I teach students about the wonders of the English language”, the principal responded with, “I see. Tell me more about that.”
It is one thing to consider Teacher Appreciation Week as a triumph over the long odds of limited budgets, aging facilities, crowded classrooms and wonky Internet connections. That’s an important discussion to have, but this week is more about those who serve, and what they leave their students with. In the end, that is all teaching ever was; it is what it must continue to be, if our world is to continue to flourish.
Following the Fall of 2019, several Mizzou students took time to write thank you notes to faculty members as part of the “Thank-A-Prof” initiative. Here is just a small sampling of the notes sent from students to instructors.
Thank you so much for making a subject I was worried about disliking, a class that I was excited to show up to. You truly made my semester one of the best I’ve ever had. Have a fantastic break!
Thank you so much for making a big class feel small and super fun! Thank you for a great first semester at college!
Thank you for your amazing lectures and feedbacks and thank you for being so supportive!
Thank you for amazing lectures and discussions! I learned a lot and benefited from your course! Thank you!
Thank you so much for facilitating such a positive learning environment! I really enjoyed this class and I’m excited to continue my education in the School of Health Professions. This class solidified my decision to pursue PT!
Thank you for all that you do for your students! I really enjoyed your class and was actually excited to come to class every day. I am very thankful for passionate professors like you!
Thank you for a wonderful semester. I appreciated your caring disposition and teaching style. As a senior, I have had my fair share of professors and the good ones stand out. Thank you for incorporating humor and even performances- I will remember those forever!
Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful break with your family!
Happy Holidays! I just wanted to say thank you for being a great instructor. Our J1300 class was my favorite this past semester. I imagine it took you a while to grade our assignments, but I really appreciated all of your feedback! Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thanks for taking the time to get to know me! I can’t wait to work with you!
Thank you for being so passionate when finding opportunities for us and giving us honest feedback to help us improve our skills. Merry Christmas!
Thank you so much for caring about both what you’re teaching and how you teach it. Thanks for the reality checks and applications about the different topic areas. Merry Christmas!
Thank you for all you do in the office to make all the students’ college journey go a little smoother. None of us would do quite as well without your support! Merry Christmas!
I would like to thank you for this semester. For your patience and for creating an environment where we aren’t only allowed to succeed but also to fail. For caring for the students and training them. For allowing us to question without judging and for having growth mindset with us. Students succeed when students feel the freedom to imagine and trust you give. You are a very good mentor.
Thank you for leading our discussion section. This class was challenging at times but there was value in being exposed to the material. Thank you for your efforts in grading communication and individual feedback.
Thank you so much for your passion and all the depth and applications you go into with the topics. Guts are cool! Merry Christmas!
Thank you so much for all you do for your students, for taking the time you we need to understand things and giving us help and extra problems to learn when we don’t understand them. Merry Christmas!
Thank you for being so creative and passionate about your teaching, subject, and how you communicate ideas and unique life lessons with us. Merry Christmas!
Thank you for welcoming our class to CS at Mizzou and for the valuable information you shared with us.
Thank you for teaching our public speaking class. I appreciate your warmth and willingness to clarify information.
Thank you for teaching our class and helping us through the learning process.
Thank you for your care in looking at each student’s grade individually and your generosity. Thank you for doing those reviews before tests and making practice exams available, too.
Thank you for teaching our discussion section for Calculus 1. I appreciate your working through the problems with us.
Thank you for leading our CS1050 lab and accepting lab submissions via email on occasion. Thanks for bearing with us throughout.
You were pleasant, firm, and professional while teaching your class. I have learned important skills from you that will help me academically and personally. Thank you.
Thank you so much for your time and patience. You definitively love to teach. I am usually very very anxious about approaching professors, but you make things very simple and human.
You are a great instructor: organized, responsive, patient and able to clearly explain complex topics and nuances.
Words are powerless to express my gratitude to you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for never letting me down. My gratitude to you for all you have done, which I will never forget. I truly appreciate you and your time you spent helping me in many occasions.
Thank you very much for the course. I enjoyed every minute of your lecture as well as your marvelous sense of humor. And please give my best regards to your laptop — I sincerely hope it has fully recovered!
You are always very kind, patient, helpful and truly care about your profession and your students!
Thank you for a fun semester! I always enjoy having you as a professor and I appreciate how approachable you are. It means a lot to me that you check in with how things are going, because school can get pretty stressful.
Thank you so much for keeping us engaged, learning and laughing.
Thank you for your passion and for your willingness to share that passion with your students. Your excitement about statistics – of all things – is helpful. ?
Thank you so much for caring about us beyond what your job requires.
Thank you for your steadfast diligence to teaching and for making us all comfortable with your approachable, personable demeanor.
It is easy to take you for granted but it is difficult to forget your inspirational words. Instead of leading me by holding my hands, you asked me to walk ahead while you caringly observed from behind.
Thank you for all you do for the cohort program. You’re amazing and it is much appreciated in a job where I’m sure you get little thanks. The program is life changing and you have helped shape and make it more valuable.
I don’t owe my professional success to my destiny, courage, luck, belief, confidence or fortune. I owe it to a wonderful scholar like you. Nothing can come close to the inspirational presence of an instructor like you in a student’s journey. You have no idea how important a role you play in shaping my research development, maybe we did not meet a lot, but those little encouragement words, means a lot to me.
As always you challenged me to push further and to learn more.
I really enjoyed all of the readings and found they were diverse and inclusive. I learned a lot. Thank you for allowing us the space to not only have dialogue, but be creative within our assignments as well.
Thank you for being so encouraging and doing everything you can to keep us motivated and supported throughout our program. Your knowledge and leadership provides us with a priceless model for our own careers. I am so happy you are part of my education.
You are gifted at explaining things multiple ways in an inordinately clear fashion to help students grasp concepts and theories. Thanks for the hard work you put into the course.
I would like to express my thankfulness to you, a great professor, for your wonderful lessons in the class. I also want to thank you so much for your kindness and your great assistance to an international student like me.
Thank you for teaching me that emotion and logic exist best together. I learned to truly care about diversity and inclusion through your classes, and I hopefully now spread that message in a passionate but thoughtful way. You’re awesome. ?
Schools, colleges and universities don’t achieve acclaim because of their historical buildings, heavy funding or celebrity alumni. They become great because they have outstanding faculty like you.
Thank you for all of your encouragement. You’re an amazing person, and I want you to know you made a meaningful impact on my life.
I know this course was probably not “required” of you to teach, with your already quite busy schedule including out-of-country travel and lots of campus advising. But, your insights will help those of us going on to teach to be mindful of the very important work this is in shaping student minds of the future. My thanks to you for going above and beyond!
Your diligence and direction have inspired my inner confidence to climb like a Tiger until I reach the pinnacle of my ambitions.
I want to specially thank you for making research and its approach very ‘simple’ to me. Your approach was excellent and made me appreciate research like never before. My dream is to be a professor and when I become one, I want to be like you. Thank you.
Your class and enthusiasm for the material made me genuinely excited to come to class. It helped me to find what I truly want to do with my career and where I want to go in the next few years. For that, I thank you.
Your passion comes through in your teaching and seems to be a part of what makes you an effective professor. I’m glad I took this course with you. Thank you!
I came to you when I didn’t know what to do for my research, you provided advice and guidance. Then, you took me under your supervision; you showed me how research is done, and how a researcher should think. You gave me a fixed spot in your busy schedule and walked with me through every detail. For all the above I am grateful and ever indebted to you.
It is clear that you want us to learn and apply the knowledge we gain in your class. Throughout the course, you allowed us to freely express our experiences, thoughts and opinions, which helped me gain insight into many of the concepts we learned.
I am grateful to you for sharing your experience, expertise and wisdom in the hardest class I’ve had to date, yet one of my favorites. You challenged me to reach higher and further than I thought I could, while at the same time offering grace, kindness and compassion when my life was turned upside down. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Thanks for a great semester! I loved the books we read and the class meetings were always eye-opening. There was never a dull moment and you kept us on our toes. That is what learning should look like.
Thank you for your advice and kindness. You empowered me to make a difference in my life and the lives of people looking up to me. Thank you!
Thank you for your great efforts in helping international students to improve our American accent. You are an outstanding professor and an excellent storyteller!
It was a pleasure being in your class and getting to know you. You are perhaps, the only teacher who could make DDOS attacks and ERDs fun! ?
Thank you for all your hard work and patience last semester! I had heard you were teacher of the year one year and now I know why. I was honestly a bit intimidated by the course, but with your thorough teaching style, I was able to fully grasp everything you taught. Moreover, I appreciated how you focused on what is relevant and actually important. So thank you for being a fabulous professor—one who I will always think highly of! Cheers!
I had a fantastic time by taking your course. Thank you for your warm and welcoming nature, which invited us all to ask more questions.
Thank you for the wonderful and addictive course. I learned a lot of things from you. Your expertise and the way of teaching are quite fantastic and I will surely miss them. Thank you for giving some of your wisdom to me.
Thank you for your passion and dedication to teaching what many people find to be some of the most challenging concepts in the accounting curriculum. Your positive attitude and in-depth explanations for difficult concepts greatly enriches every class you teach.
Just at dinner last night, a group of us first years were reflecting on the semester. We came to the conclusion that you’re one of the hardest working professors and your passion for teaching shows every single day. From staying up late to grade last minute assignments to taking the time to make us breakfast for our final, you really have made an impact. So with that being said, thank you from the first year class!
Thank you so so much for your passion for our profession and educating. I feel so lucky to have a professor like you, finding the just-right-challenge between pushing us to be better, encouraging us, and inspiring us as future clinicians. You are appreciated, and hope you feel encouraged as an educator and proud of the work you’ve done with our class. Thank you so much!!
Thanks for being a great adviser the last few years! Also, thanks for the constant supply of candy :). You were/are someone I can always come to with questions, problems, etc. and I really appreciate that.
I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done for our class. In the midst of this heart breaking time, you still placed our learning and experience as a top priority, and I am amazed at your ability to do so. We love your dedication and passion for this profession, and appreciate you so much! We have missed seeing you daily, but you have been in our constant thoughts and prayers.
Thank you so much for being a professor that cares for each individual student. I have been so blessed by your encouragement and willingness to help me fully grasp course material. You have made my transition into a professional program easier and I have never felt so supported by a professor. I look forward to having you as a professor again next semester!
Thank you for loving your job so much! You are an amazing teacher.
Thanks for everything you taught me last year as well as your support. You have always gone above and beyond the expectations of a ‘great’ professor. You are truly a treasure at Mizzou! Thanks for everything and best wishes for all your future endeavors.
There are two types of teachers, one who teach their students what the syllabus dictates and the other, who go beyond the coursework to teach their students things that life dictates. Thank you for being the latter. I have learned from your silence more than your talk since you are one of the few who talk less, and say more.
It is apparent that you put the student first and work to place us in positions to succeed. I also wanted to thank you for pushing me to engage my discomfort and reach for a more well-rounded view of the world of education. There is more work to do but you have opened a window. Thank you!
My biggest takeaway, apart from all the social theories, is that I lacked confidence while presenting. You have been so supportive and encouraging throughout the term, that for the first time in my life, I actually thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and I have gotten over my fear of presenting (hurray!).
Thank you for your time, thorough feedback and follow-up. I am glad that this course was one of my first courses in the program. I look up to you as a role model. I hope that I will have the opportunity to work with you in the future.
There is not enough I can say about how much I thank heaven that you are my adviser and mentor. Your patience and understanding are unsurpassed. That you truly care about our work/life balance, but yet set the bar for rigor in learning, has influenced me as I lead others and will positively influence the nursing profession as your advisees influence others. I am SO thankful I chose Mizzou for many reasons, with a main one that of the honor of getting to know you. You are my hero.
You continue to impress me more and more with your knowledge, creativity and engaging coursework. Some people brighten up the room with their presence–you are one of them and even manage to do so even from a distance. Thank you for your guidance, wisdom and compassion as I continue this doctoral journey; you aren’t just helping me learn, you make me a better person.
It is with transcending gratitude that I tell you what an inspiration you have been throughout my experience, thus far, here at Mizzou. Your knowledge, understanding and genuine “care” for others is illuminated in everything you do! I’m grateful to know you.
Thank you for you dedication, organization, enthusiasm and hard work. You are an inspiring professor.
Thanks for making me brave. We had 5 white-knuckle, terrifying assignments that turned out to be not so scary in the end. Thanks for pushing the limits and reassuring me that I could get through them. I learned so many new things!