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Fan Mail

Teacher Appreciation Week 2023: Super Size Survey Submission Edition

Educators keep stepping up for their students, and their students keep shouting them out

The 2022-23 school year saw most schools find a new rhythm as the covid-19 pandemic (maybe? hopefully?) entered its final stages. But teachers' jobs were as tough as ever. On top of the everyday challenge of preparing their students to be solid, productive members of society, educators are still helping them overcome learning loss while struggling with the overwork and uncertainty that comes from a continuing nationwide teacher shortage and budget struggles. (And that's just scratching the surface of what teachers are dealing with!) But America's teachers have also proven—over and over and over again—that they are IRL superheroes.

For previous entries, we round up the love teachers get from students on social media and post-exam surveys. But when sifting through them recently, we found one truly epic shout out from a class of 2022 student in California. On his survey, he celebrated not one, not two, but seven (!!!) AP teachers who made an impact. That was a new one for us, so of course we felt compelled to share it with the world—all 5,000-plus words of it! (And if you can’t get enough, dig into more teacher shout outs from this and previous years.)

Hi Mr. Hansen! College Board is doing this survey thing for AP exams, and near the end, they allow me to send a message to one recipient that "particularly encouraged [me] this year." You encouraged me and many other test takers this past spring with your quality dad jokes and enthusiastic attitude every morning and afternoon of those stressful two weeks. I really appreciate your efforts.

But! Would you look at that, this school is so excellent that I have multiple AP teachers that I would like to send a message to. I'm not sure if my school email is still active, so if you could pass this message to my other teachers, I'd be intensely grateful:

1. Mrs. Catherine Cronin: Dear Goddess Cronin, I don't know how you maintained your sanity and loving kindness toward us rambunctious mortals, but know that I deeply appreciate your expression of a fresh and knowledgeably generous attitude in our classroom. Your rambles and activities were as enjoyable as they were engaging and I'm beyond grateful to have been a character in your final year of formal instruction. Enjoy your retirement, Your Highness.

2. Mr. James Longo: Hey Longo! I think I told you this before, but just to reiterate, your AP GoPo class was the first history/social science class that I ever looked forward to. Now, that wasn't to say that my previous history classes weren't exceptional. It's just that yours was better. And that's Fa-Cuh-Ts. So yeah, man, thanks for taking the time to 1) teach me about our government, 2) hear my rants on current political controversy, and 3) for feeding my interest in sociology. Great times, man. I'mma enjoy majoring in Sosh and hope I made you proud.

3. Ms. Amanda Woodhouse: MS. WOODHOUSE I DID IT!!! Are ya proud??? :) Choosing to sit in the front row of your class was probably one of the more productive decisions I made last year, but choosing to take AP Macro Econ was definitely one of the most impactful. I don't know how you did it, but it felt like everyday had the goldilocks amount of lecture, individual interaction, and work. Never have I ever had such a smooth sailing yet intense class before and this experience has definitely raised my expectations for college. You're the ideal teacher that all students wish to have, and I'm just glad that I got to be one of those students who got their wish granted. I'll cya 'round! —A Teflon Executive.

4. Mrs. Karen Gerdes: Madam Gerdes? Hi, it's me again. I promise it's not to ask more questions that could've been answered from a flipping Physics video. I just wanted to say thank you. You were the mother of my RCHS experience, and your classes of, what I will call mom jokes, never ceased to instill f=uN into the lectures. I'll probably come back in a couple years when I'm taking my physics pre-req's for premed, so don't think that you've gotten rid of me yet. hehe. Thanks for everything, Ms. Gerdes. I'll remember to never draw centripetal force on a force diagram for as long as I live.

5. Mrs. Adrianna Velasquez: ¡Señora Velasquez! ¡Lo hice! Tengo una apreciación muy grande para todos del trabajo, tiempo, y amor que puso en la clase por sus estudiantes. Durante mi vuelo a Texas para explorar el campus del colleg-- la universidad, me senté al lado de una persona hispana que era visiblemente tímido. Después de unos minutos de silencio, comenzó a hablar con él en español, y casi instantáneamente, se relajó y me respondió con "charla" (small talk?). Continuamos hablar por la siguiente hora, y aprendí que era un policía peruano! Estaba peleando en la frontera de Ecuador y Peru por la pasada siete años y aquí él estaba a mi lado! Si no fuera capaz de abrir la conversación en su idioma, probablemente nunca aprendí sobre su vida. Esté es la belleza del lenguaje. La belleza de la conexión entre personas de culturas diferentes. Y está belleza es cual you blessed us with. Thank you Señora for teaching us this beautiful language.

6. Mr. David Oberhauser: Aye Mr. O! Thanks for dealing with me, man. My rowdiness in your classroom probably passed the threshold of potential punishment one too many times, and if the year was any longer the limit of your patience as my attendance approached 190+ probably would go into the imaginary realm. But luckily the school calendar bounded the domain of the classroom's function so I got to continue being the kid I am and you didn't have to integrate a new degree of tolerance to your expression! See? We ended up alright. If I can be so prideful, it was all... calculated. Haha. But really, I'm so grateful that my Calc class wasn't one that I dreaded but one that I could look forward to. Whether it was during the lunch break where I'd work out or just talk to you, or when 5th period started and I got to declare the answers if the class was too quiet, your classroom was just a safe and nonchalant environment for me, and a great deal of that atmosphere was due to your presence. So thanks man. Oh! And make sure to give my little brother a hard time when he gets up there. See ya! :)