To My Former Teachers: Thank You.

Today, I was encouraged to write a sign thanking one of my former teachers. And I did. But it was hard. Not because I didn’t have a teacher to thank, but because I had so many.

I’m a product of BC’s public school system, and I received, what I consider to be, a fantastic education. Little of that has to do with the curriculum and resources, however. Most of it has to do with the people who came to work each day to teach me. And they deserve to be thanked.

So, here you go. Whoever comes to mind, teacher by teacher, from elementary through secondary school. Some of these people are still teaching, some aren’t, but they’re still in the classroom. The lessons they taught me helped shape who I am, and how I interact with my students. They go to work with me everyday.

Mlle Riel

Thank you for being patient with me when I tried to literally glue myself to a chair in grade 1. I’m afraid I’m still a bit of a smartass.


Thank you for treating us like people even though we were in grade 2. It made me realize that I wasn’t just a “kid” – I was a person, too.

Mme. Guemas

Thank you for coming to my birthday party. That was so cool.

Mme. Taylor

I won’t lie; you scared me a little. You were strict. But I learned that business means business. And I thank you for that.

Mr. Ewen

You called me on my bullshit. I needed that. Thank you.

Mr. Metzger

During my year with you, we made a human skeleton out of wood using a jigsaw. We were in grade 7 and you trusted us to be responsible. We were. Thank you for letting us show you – and ourselves – that we could handle that.

The Inter-A Teachers circa 1996-97

Thank you, as a group, for noticing that I wasn’t happy there and encouraging me to change schools. It was the right call.

Ms. Willems

Thank you for thinking that I plagiarized in grade 9, even though I actually hadn’t. You were right: I didn’t speak like I wrote. It made me want to learn how to speak as confidently as I could write.

M. Bolduc

Thank you for not being impressed that I could speak French and for trying to make me speak better. (I still talk too fast, though.)

Ms. Stevens

Thank you for the solid understanding of government structure and responsibilities. Also, you’re a pretty awesome colleague. Teacher me thanks you for the prep room chats and contagious optimism.

Ms. Harris

Thank you for always committing. You expected us to go all in, but you expected it of yourself too. And you haven’t changed. Teacher me thanks you for keeping my expectations high.

Mr. Ostroff

Thank you for showing us that theatre (and really, isn’t all life a stage?) is both work and reward. West Side Story remains one of my best memories from my youth.

Ms. Enns

Thank you for taking us to Montreal. I hope I can give my own students the same experience one day.

Ms. Prohl

Thank you for making sure we got the jokes in some of the Lit 12 material. Learning to read for nuance had been an invaluable skill. It saddens me to think that my class of 17 students wouldn’t even run these days.

Ms. Muir

Thank you for suggesting that I write about my VW bus on my English 12 provincial exam. It went well. And, er, I’m still writing about it.

Mr. Zanatta

Thank you for always being excited about what you’re teaching. It made me excited about it too. And, having worked with you, I can tell you that students are still talking about your passion for history. Thank you, from all of us.

Mr. Jupp

I’m still not sure why you made us write in cursive for Law 12, but I’m glad that you did. I probably wouldn’t remember how to do it otherwise. So, thank you.

Ms. Lofgren

Thank you for the word of the day. “Titillating” made it into my permanent vocabulary.

Ms. Van Zandt

Thank you for showing me that one’s perception of a person can change; no impression is permanent.

And this is only a portion of the teachers I had in my thirteen years of public education in BC.

As I write this, I’m struck by how many teachers I had who left an impact on me. Were they all positive impacts? Of course not. Sometimes, people just don’t click. Sometimes learning and teaching styles don’t mesh.

But each of those teachers played a part in who I’ve become. And I like me. I’m a good person.

And I’m a teacher.

So, former teachers? It’s a decade or two late, but thank you. So much.

2 thoughts on “To My Former Teachers: Thank You.

  1. Janet Thompson

    Hi Ashley – I am a SS teacher in Vancouver… I think you need to send some of your blog entries on the current job action/lockout to the various media outlets. Teachers need to be heard & you write beautifully!

  2. Ashley D. MacKenzie Post author

    Hi Janet,

    Thank you for the suggestion and for your kind words. I’ll definitely give it some thought. For now, feel free to share anything with your networks!