August 31, 2012
It might seem a bit out of the blue* but I just wanted take a few minutes to thank you for the support that you gave me early in my teaching career. I have always thought that words were not really enough to express my gratitude. When I was first applying for jobs overseas you were willing to write a recommendation, be a reference, as well as give advice and support. It was so nice to have in you in my corner for the basic things like actually getting a job but the moral support was incredibly helpful tool. I could feel your belief in me, even if I wasn’t quite sure that I had such a belief in myself. That was an extremely powerful thing. I have now been teaching for 12+ years but I still frequently think of your kindness and support. I remember when I hit you with yet another round of thanks on email your response was something like, “Please don’t worry about it, I know that you will help other people and that will be thanks enough for me.” I had no reason not to believe your words but part of me thought you were just being polite and modest. Still, this idea of “paying it forward” struck me and stuck with me. Lately, I have had some chances to help other teachers in different ways. Whenever I am thanked for such things I always remember your words and caring attitude. I say basically the same thing that you did (though with a different accent and undoubtedly less eloquently). At the risk of arrogance or exaggeration, I think it is safe to say that your help has indirectly helped a lot of teachers and by extension even more students. So, in addition to thanking you I’d also like to congratulate you.
With respect and gratitude,
*It might also seem odd to put it in my blog instead of just in a personal email/letter. My thought on this was that perhaps by sharing the story here I could increase the impact of such help and help at least a few other people remember the help that they have received.