March 6th, 2013 by Bob Bly
On May 13, 2013, the U.S. will celebrate National Thank-a-Teacher Day, a day on which you are supposed to thank a teacher who made a difference in your life:
I urge you to participate in this goodwill gesture for 2 reasons:
1—It will make you feel really good.
2—It may mean more to your teacher than you could ever imagine.
I also suggest you do it now. If you wait until May 13, the official date of National Thank-a-Teacher Day, you may forget.
Years ago, I dedicated my book on time management, “101 Ways to Make Every Second Count” (Career Press) to EB, my 10th grade English teacher.
Instead of mailing the book to her, I visited my old high school and waited outside her classroom door until the period was over to present it in person.
I said, “Ms. B____, I don’t know if you remember me, but I was in your 10th grade English class many years ago. You taught me what good writing is. Well, I became a writer and have had dozens of books published. Here is my latest, and as you can see, it is dedicated to you. In fact, I have you to thank for my career.”
I handed her the book open to the dedication which read: “To EB, who taught me how to write.”
I could see she was visibly moved and she expressed her appreciation.
I got the feeling that (a) teaching can often be a thankless job (she said words to that effect) and (b) having a student express appreciation for the teaching he received was an uncommon occurrence.
I felt I had done a good thing by taking the time to thank her as I did, and to this day I am glad I did it. The occasion remains vivid in my memory.
My advice to you is: think about a teacher or mentor who helped you and made a positive difference in your life, seek her out, tell her what her counsel or wisdom meant to you, and thank her for it. You will get a lasting “high” out of doing this.
P.S. I also posted an appreciation for one of my old college professors on the University of Rochester web site, though I don’t know if he has seen it:
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