I walked into your class on the first day of eighth grade with poofy red hair and uneven eyeliner.
Confidence was in my stride, all previous anticipation and anxiety about the first day washed away.
I had a new look; which, looking back at it, wasn’t such a good idea,
and a whole new opportunity to introduce myself to my class.
I took advantage of this, expecting no less than the best. After all, weren’t first-impressions everything?
Throughout the year, your class was not the best for me, social wise.
English being my favorite subject, I did enjoy the work and what you had to teach,
but everything humiliating always seemed to happen there.
This was the time of day that I would suddenly realize that my normally horrible makeup
was even messier than usual, or I’d step on the wrong foot and fall over to my inevitable doom.
Though my luck seemed to decrease the moment I stepped foot in your room, I couldn’t help but look forward to the hour I had in the class.
The first novel we read was Norma by Sonia Sanchez. I enjoyed this story, and I can remember noticing the way you read out loud;
you pronounced everything carefully, making sure nobody missed a word.
One day, my friend and I stopped by your room after school because he had gotten a 0 on an assignment he had missed.
You seemed stressed, and we asked why. You replied with an exhausted sigh,
stating that you’ve been having the worst day of your life since you lost your mother.
We told you that we hoped your day improved, and then left.
Walking home, I came up with the idea to create a get-well card, full with compliments from my peers.
We called up the rest of our friends and asked them to come over.
While we were creating the card, I feared that it would be a failure, as some of the people who we had asked to help were joking around.
They refused to say anything nice about you, as they disliked you quite a bit.
Though some of them may have felt that way at first, over time, when we began hanging out in your classroom during lunch,
we all realized that you weren’t as bad as we had thought.
We would vent to you about our over-dramaticized lives, and you’d respond with words of advice that helped us through a lot.
I remember on our last day of school, before we moved on and became high schoolers, you cried.
Though at the time I was desperate for summer to come and school to end, I would have given anything to have you as a teacher again next year.
On my first day of high school as a ninth grader, I discovered my mother had been arrested.
My friend and I walked to our old middle school and confided in you, just as we always had done when we were eighth graders.
You told me not to worry, and that it’d be okay.
Throughout the entirety of the eighth grade and beyond that, you’ve helped my friends and I through so many challenges,
and the things I’ve learned in your class will forever stick with me.
Thank you, Mrs. L.