A thank you note

August 31, 2012

Dear ____,

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.


  1. observingtheclass

    A spectacular sentiment, very well put sir. Thank you for putting it into words where everyone can partake.

    As a recipient of YOUR help, I will say thank YOU again, and promise never to forget your graciousness (along with many other) and how it has helped me in my young career. I feel as if I started on an even MORE exciting path in teaching since that day back in April, and look forward to the day I have the chance to pay it forward myself.

    • Josette

      I’d like to extend John’s sentiment (and also take the time to thank John for his contagious enthusiasm I’ve been witness to in the short time we’ve known each other.) You have inspired and motivated me at a deep level. You continue to do so each day. In your words, “I could feel your belief in me, even if  I wasn’t quite sure that I had such a belief in myself.”

      The sense of paying forward that you conveyed here is absolutely personified through you.

      Thank you so much for writing this. I am now thinking of what other teacher I could share my gratitude with.


      • mikecorea

        Well, Josette, thanks so much. I think that I could have written the exact same thing to you. 🙂
        I would have to add thanks for the encouragement and sometimes gentle nudging to start blogging.
        It has been quite an adventure!
        Thanks for all the support!

        I’d love to see a blog post where you thank someone. This could be a nice “blog challenge” but being new at all this I am not really sure how that works!

    • mikecorea

      Wow! Thanks John. I really appreciate your comments. Actually, they were triply special coming from you because you know the person that the letter was intended for. I think you are already paying things forward so the cycle is continuing perfectly. Thanks so much (for the comments and everything).

      Talk to you soon!

  2. seleena123

    This is the first time to your blog and have to say what I just read there was buetifully done and said. Plus very thought thing to do thanking all those that have helped you. As you I,m sure are doing the same for many students you teach

    • mikecorea

      Thanks so much for the comments! I am thrilled that you found it beautiful. I debated if I should share it with others or not and I am very happy that I did. Thanks for the comments and motivation. 🙂

  3. gwennieA

    That is a very nice letter! Thank you, too, Mike, for all the advice, brainstorming, feedback, and overall generous colleague-ship you have bestowed in my direction over the years. I’m not a new teacher anymore, but I try to keep things fresh, and a little help can be very heartening and enlivening. I also try to pay it forward, and often this is the best part! My deepest gratitude always for those in my corner, past, present, and future, in sight and out of sight, your generosity is appreciated! Best of luck to everyone for a happy fall semester.

    • mikecorea

      Hey Gwen,
      I am really touched by your response here! I wasn’t even sure if this would be interesting (or even read) by anyone else! What a lovely message you left here! Thanks! (And thank you as well for the generous colleague-ship over the years….gosh it has been years, huh?)

  4. Kristina

    And THANKS TO YOU, MIKE! You’ve touched a great many lives with your easy manner and open attitude. I am honored and proud to call you a colleague and friend. I will pay it forward, and pass it on, INDEED!

    • mikecorea

      :)) I saw your comments late last night and they brought such a big smile to my face. THANK YOU for that and all your enthusiasm and support. I can’t believe that we have only known each other for 10 or so months! Here is to much longer and to paying it forward!

  5. Clarisse Gidens

    Thank you Mike for inspiring Kevin to write his “thank you”. I read once a quote by Meister Eckhart that said ” If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you that would be enough.” I also want to express my gratitude to you and all the other teachers you have touched because your passion for teaching is an inspiration to me as a person who spent my life in the profession of education. I have a renewed hope for our world when I see teachers such as you, Kevin and Josette. So thank you for your passion and dedication to teaching and for having the insight to encourage others to express their gratitude to those who have inspired them along the way. I will leave you with the words of a great man , Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) ” Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered as a matter of course just one kind word to another person……….Sometimes all it takes is one kind word to nourish another person. Think of the ripple effect that can be created when we nourish someone.One kind empathetic word has a wonderful way of turning into many.”
    With a grateful heart,
    Clarisse Giddens

    • mikecorea

      Wow…thanks so much for the comments. I found them very touching. It was also great to get comments from someone that I have heard so much about over the last 3 years. Kevin’s post was really heartwarming and I was thrilled that my post was sort of a catalyst for such a wonderful post. Your comments really brought home the idea of the ripple effect and gave me even more motivation! Thanks so much for the comments and thoughts. (I won’t make Kevin blush by thanking you for raising such a fine son)

      With gratitude,

  6. Pingback: Some of my mentors | ELT Rants, Reviews, and Reflections

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