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Guest Post: Only Teachers Get These Emails

Updated: Jan 22

Dr. Doug Green

blog: https//:DrDougGreen.Com

X: @DrDougGreen

A  few days ago, I got an email from a student who took my high school chemistry class about 45 years ago. She recently retired and was inspired to teach, thanks to my practice. She says I made chemistry  “real and engaging.” As you can imagine, it made my day and perhaps my week. 

It’s not my first time receiving this kind of email, but it might be the best. Here it is:

Hello there, Mr. Green:
I retired a few years ago (doesn’t that make you feel old) after teaching high school English & running a middle school guidance department. I worked with amazing educators, which made me appreciate the amazing teachers I had even more.
I always knew I’d never be the student my brothers or sister were, but I truly loved how you taught! Chemistry became real and, more importantly, engaging.
That was a gift I learned from you & I hope provided to my students!’
I sent this to some friends, including another former student. Here is part of what he said in reply.
“What a touching note she sent you. And frankly, you deserve it. Doug, you were, and are, a phenomenal teacher and person.”

Over the years, I have received this kind of email and run into former students and their parents who told me I was great or the best teacher or principal. While I did spend eleven years as a central office administrator, I have yet to have anyone tell me how great I was there.

The lesson here is that if you want to make a real difference you need to be in a school where students and parents can have real interactions and can see what you do. If you are considering being a teacher, you will join a profession where someday you can get emails like this. If you are a principal, note that these emails will stop if you move up to the central office. 

People in most other professions outside of education are much less likely to receive these kinds of emails. Keep that in mind if you think education is not a great profession. Even if you are at the top of your cohort, especially if you are, please consider a career in teaching. You won’t regret it.

If you can email a former teacher who made a difference, please do; they will most certainly appreciate it.

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