Teachers, often underpaid and overworked, still somehow manage to impact the course of their students’ lives. They never seem to get the full credit they deserve for their efforts. That’s why Teacher Appreciation Week is so important. We should all take some time to thank our teachers for everything they do.

All throughout elementary school, I was surrounded by teachers who were kind, caring, and wanted the best for me. Although there are many teachers I could discuss for their impact on me, two stand out more than the others. The first teacher, Mrs. Becky Walker helped me establish a love for science and find a new way to learn.

Mrs. Walker helped me become a leader through science olympiad and taught me that hard work pays off.  Another 5th grade teacher who helped me was Mrs. Casey Chandler. Mrs. Chandler helped me when I was struggling with math. Her teaching helped me become prepared for more challenging math classes and find how to pace myself so I could be successful.

Moving into middle school, I had teachers in all subjects who actively did everything in their power to help me learn. One in particular, Mrs. Langston helped me find a love for literature. Mrs. Langston always made sure people enjoyed learning, through her carefree positive attitude. She created a positive learning environment that was relatively stress free. 

As a senior in high school, I look back and realize that the best teachers throughout my life all had one thing in common: they cared. Sometimes it seems as if teachers are only focused on teaching, and they don’t care about the students themselves. My high school teachers were the ones who really showed me this.

My two favorite math teachers, of all time, have the same teaching style. Mrs. Hancock and Mrs. Lewis, both are strict teachers but they’re always willing to help. They do many things to allow you to improve, by offering extra credit and tutoring. The main thing that stood out, is that they would go out of their way to ensure you personally understood everything you needed to.

Although he wasn’t technically my teacher, former Cape Fear principal Mr. Edkins made an impact on my life that almost no one else can even come close to. During the spring semester of my Junior year, he became a mentor to me. He never doubted that I could do anything I set my mind to. He taught me that the most important thing in life is the connections that you make with people, because they stay with you for a lifetime.

The importance of connections in my life have proved true, by two specific teachers. I’m almost always in one of two classrooms on the English hallway. I split most of my time between being in Mrs. Basham’s class or in Coach Grates’ class, because if you were to ask me who my favorite teacher of all time is, I would name one of those two.

I met Mrs. Basham during my sophomore year, when I first became interested in helping with the yearbook. I joined her class my junior year, and together we made an entire yearbook during COVID, with basically no other help. She taught me that if you work hard enough, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Her class became something I looked forward to, whether I was taking pictures, making pages, or talking about Disney, I always enjoyed her class. Mrs. Basham is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.

I met Coach Grates when I was a sophomore taking AP Language. I’ll never forget how, on the very first day, he scared all of us by yelling so he would seem strict, and then he burst out laughing a minute later. In that class I developed a love for writing that I had never had before. It quickly became apparent that writing should mean something and be more than just trying to finish your essay on time. This caused me to join Journalism, which has given me opportunities that I never would have been able to experience. From speaking out about dress code, to being interviewed by the Fayetteville Observer, it’s been a great experience. I’ve taken his class a total of 6 times (which has to be a record), and there hasn’t been a single day where I didn’t learn something new.

So thank you to all of my teachers, the ones mentioned above and the ones who were not, for everything you have provided me. As I enter a new chapter of my life and head off to college, I’ll always remember you as the people who helped me get to where I am. Thank you.