I’ve gone to school for 13 years. I have had 55 different teachers and I have even been fortunate enough to have some teachers more than once. Teachers have an important job, whether or not we realize it. They are the people who are responsible for building the foundation and pillars of our learning. Every teacher is different and after having so many, I find some teachers standing out from the others.

For four years I have filled out those school climate surveys that we get every so often, which attempt to assess and improve the school environment. The section always under the greatest speculation is the one that asks, “Do you have at least one teacher you can go to in the school for help?” Time and time again my answer to that question is “strongly agree.”

There is one teacher in the school among a handful of others that I can go to from 8:15 when I arrive at school until 3:00, indefinitely, and know that I am supported. There is one classroom in the building that, even though it’s not one that is written on my schedule, is a safe place for me to go if life gets overwhelming. There is one teacher in this school that I know will take time out of their free period to sit and teach me a section I do not understand because my academic success and performance is far more important to them than planning their lesson for the next period.

There is one teacher in this school that knows when I’m not my usual self and knows when I am on top of the world. There is one teacher in this school who cares to know about my interests outside of academics because they recognize that students are far more complex than a compilation of grades, homework assignments, and exams. There is one teacher in this school who reassures me that my hard work does not go unnoticed and lets me know that they are proud of me. This is the same teacher who always keeps their door open, regardless of the fact that my name has been absent from their class list since freshman year.

There is one teacher in this school who taught me that sometimes it is OK not to be perfect; to not be able to focus, to not be able to keep it together in school, or to not always perform your best on every single test. That sometimes you need to take a mental health day when you are not feeling your best and that it is OK to reach out for help when you need it.

There is one teacher in this school who taught me how to go into a test confidently knowing that you have done everything you could have to prepare for it. There is one teacher in this school that has taught me that sometimes putting yourself first is OK and that it is perfectly human to not be OK sometimes. There is one teacher in this school who has taught me that during hard times, better days are ahead.

I think it is safe to say that I have learned  far more from this teacher than any textbook, novel, or math problem could teach me. High school is hard, both mentally and emotionally, to go through at times and having a teacher who expands your knowledge, cheers you on, is adaptable, and is there for their students makes all the difference during that journey. Teachers are there for their students even if sometimes it does not directly correlate to their lesson plan, but sometimes this dedication goes unnoticed. So, I urge you to go and thank that one teacher or few that come to mind while reading this.


Maya Fazio is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.