I have been blessed by recommendations from my students at Wake Forest University, Meredith College, and Michigan State University.  In thinking more about thank-you notes, I realized that one of my recommendations reads more like a thank-you note than a recommendation.  (Here’s is my recent post about thank-you notes, which has been the most popular post we’ve written in years.)

Ricki was in my retail promotions class at Michigan State and then became my TA for that class the next semester.  I think we hit it off because she is a kind and down-to-earth person, but also because we discovered that we had encountered similar tough times in our lives and felt like kindred spirits.  I realized once again that my role as a teacher is about more than teaching the material in the syllabus.  It is also being able to give students perspective on life, help them discover their strengths, and lead them to new dreams.

I am so proud of her for following her dreams to become a district manager for Acura in California.  When she asked me to be a reference, I was so ready to tell Acura every wonderful thing about her, but they never called.  Thankfully, they already had an earful from all of her other references and offered her the job!  When she shared the  news on Facebook this week, I recalled the kind words she said about me on her Linkedin.com recommendation and realized that it was really a thank-you note she was writing to me.  I don’t think students realize how much those words mean to us as professors. Yes, we teach because we love to teach (and do our research), but deep down, I choose to teach because I hope that I am making a positive difference in my students’ lives.

If you have a teacher or mentor that made a difference to you, let them know.

(Thanks for this cute apple by http://www.cottage-industrialist.com/blog/2009/5/4/teacher-appreciation.html)

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