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Teacher Appreciation Week 2023: Teachers Thanking Teachers Edition

Current AP educators celebrate the AP teachers who changed their lives

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.

Each year we round up some of the love teachers get from students on social media and post-exam surveys. But for 2023, we're bringing something new to this teacher love fest. We asked members of the College Board's AP Advocates network to share with us the teachers who made them the educators—and people—they are today. Their responses are wonderful, enervating, and inspiring. And they show just how deeply a good teacher can impact a young person. We received more responses than we could use in this space, but we hope to share more in the weeks ahead. But if you can’t wait, dig into more teacher shout outs from this and previous years.

My AP CS A teacher is the reason I became a teacher. He respected his students and found time to joke with us. He genuinely cared about our well being, and made personal connections with everyone. He delivered difficult content with ease and intelligence but never made us feel like we could not master the content. He has kept in touch through my career as a teacher, and I am grateful for his guidance over the years.

Amanda Lattimore, Computer Science teacher, Baltimore, Maryland

As a junior at Hollywood Hills High walking into my first AP class, I could not have asked for more than Mr. Jon Wilson. He taught AP U.S. History for 44 years and shared his enthusiasm, professionalism, and encyclopedic knowledge with us every day. Sometimes I was sick, but I was never so sick that I'd risk missing Mr. Wilson's class. He was witty, charming, and the best role model I could have had at that time of my life. The next year, I took AP European History with Mr. Wilson and cannot recall one “off” day in his class. He was not a good teacher—he was GREAT! And that is why I teach AP history decades later. He changed my life for the better and continues to be my role model as an educator decades after I took that first APUSH class.

Luiz Bravim, Social Studies teacher, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

In the late 1970s, I was a sophomore at East High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Mrs. Laughlin was my English teacher. I can remember Mrs. Laughlin willingly allowing students to adapt assignments so we could better express our creativity. I also remember that, in one essay, I whined about not being as funny as my peers. When I had a humorous comment in another essay, Mrs. Laughlin made sure to point out to me that I actually was funny. So many times in my teaching career I have thought about Mrs. Laughlin and how she made me feel valued.

Kate Malone, English teacher, Farmington, New Mexico

In 9th grade, my English teacher Dr. Jan Adkins opened a new world of literature, conversation, and imagination for me. Throughout my high school experience, she was a constant support and source of humor to me. Today, as an adult and now a teacher myself, she continues to be a mentor and my friend. I look forward to seeing her and continuing to learn.

David Valdez, Social Studies teacher, Dunedin, Florida

I am an AP Calculus teacher today because, in 1979, when I transferred from International School of Manila to Miami Southridge Senior High School, Klaus Nordmeyer was willing to give me a chance to be in his advanced math class. Teachers need to remember that not everyone will show up with the expected or typical background. Be willing to take a chance on a student and they might remember your kindness and influence forever.

Dixie Ross, Math teacher, Pflugerville, Texas