An Open Letter To The Professors Who Care


Dear Professor,

Not all of my professors care as much as you. Some of them are not nearly as thoughtful simply because they don’t think about it. Worse, there are some professors who know how to be caring and actively choose not to be. Some of them talk just to talk, and some of them are the bullies that they tell their classes not to be. But that’s not you. You are here to teach. And you’ve taught me so much more than what’s on your syllabus.

Thank you for having calculators for us students who studied hard and made an honest mistake, forgetting them on our desks at home.

Sometimes we make mistakes that aren’t reflective of our knowledge on a subject. We are human, like you, and we forget things. When this happens, we are often recited a guilt-ridden and self-esteem-lowering lecture by other stern-faced professors. But you nodded, gave us a calculator, and let us show you how much we learned and studied for your class. That calculator showed us that you recognize and respect the difference between a mistake and laziness.

Thank you for not assigning a 10 page paper over break, and actually allowing us to take advantage of some time off school.

A break is supposed to be a break. When other professors assign group projects and research papers due in the few days following the return from break, we wonder why we were even given a break in the first place. Yet you seemed to know that our time off— whether it is filled with Netflix or a volunteer service trip— is something we value.

Thank you for treating us like equals, like the adults we are.

Not all of our professors treat us like we are any older than 8th graders who were late to class, left to snicker in the back. But you do. You teach us, ask our opinions, and you genuinely listen and value them. You believe that we all learn from each other. The educational system should be a two way street, you say.

Thank you for accepting the responsibility to teach us. 

We have often been told to ask our friends and our classmates about notes, and to seek out tutors if we didn’t understand it the first time around. But you said that we could email you, and stay after class and talk with you if we needed to. You offered your time and your knowledge to help us grasp the important concepts in any and every way possible.

Thank you for believing in our intelligence and knowing that if we are not strong in your class that we are strong in another way. 

Your best subject isn’t always our best subject. But you don’t tell us that we are a lost cause. You don’t blame us for not understanding. You accept that we are different than you in this respect. And you know that we are strong in subjects other than your own, and in aspects of life that you may not see. You tell us we are valuable— if not to you, to someone else.

Thank you for remembering our names.  

You made the effort to remember, just in case.

Thank you for choosing this path for your life— to teach.

Please know that we are learning a lot— whether it’s exclusive to your specialty, or broad enough to apply to our entire lives. We don’t take it for granted, and we are forever grateful.

So, Professor, know that you are appreciated.


Your Student