A Letter to My Teachers


A former student recalls how teachers provided important skills that made the pupil survive the demands of life, he writes a letter to teachers.

Dear Sirs/Madams/Teachers,

It’s been well over a decade since I last saw any of you. “Good riddance,” were the words I uttered the last time I walked out of the university. And boy, was I wrong. You see, no matter how much I rejoice getting rid of your monstrous assignments, mind-bending quizzes, petrifying shaming during presentations and your stern refusal to give in to my pleas for improved grades; I really, really miss you.

I want that monstrosity back, I want to return to that mind bending-ness, I crave for that shaming and I want to be on my knees, pleading, again. They say you value things the most once they are taken away from you, and I think the saying has caught up with me too.

So, without further ado, I’ll say it straight. Dear Teachers, I thank you for the love, I thank you for the guidance and I thank you for the advice. But more importantly, I thank you for the grind. I thank you for the ordeal, and I thank you for the agony.

I am really grateful for all those assignments, for without a go at them, I wouldn’t have survived a day in the real world. My mind wouldn’t have learned to sustain burdens and my nerves would have crumbled every time I thought of submissions.

Dear Sir, I am grateful for those unannounced quizzes, for without them I wouldn’t have learned to contain unforeseen catastrophes. I couldn’t have risen to the occasion each time an unanticipated threat arose and I couldn’t have learned to utilize resources to the best of my benefit.

Dear Madam, I thank you for that humiliation in that presentation, for without it I would never have known that a beating once in a while is alright. I would never have learned the way to rein in emotions or to take one on the chin and move on. It taught me setbacks were okay.

Dear Miss, I am grateful for the backbreaking projects, for it is there where I learnt not to fear the unknown. Without them, I couldn’t have learned to be brave and I would never have known the satisfaction of making a dedicated attempt. Without you, I would never have known instinct, I wouldn’t have learned to trust intuition.

Dear Teacher, I thank you for those grueling exams. It was during those that I learnt crucial survival skills like concentration, time management, pressure handling and maintaining mental calm under stress.

Dear Professor, I am extremely humbled by your critique, for without it I wouldn’t have tried to be better. I could never have known what ‘digging deeper’ meant and would never have endeavored to do more than I could. I would have remained ordinary, but for you.

Over these past few years, I have become increasingly grateful for your teachings, humility, forbearance and commitment. Grateful that you bore with me, cared to instruct me despite my antics and remained generous despite my callousness. I wish I realized your greatness back then. I wish I could tell you in person.

Thank you, teachers. To you, I owe my world.

Other than letter to my teachers, you can also read: Hasan Al-Banna’s letter to a Muslim student

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