Write a Thank You Letter to a Teacher: Step-by-Step With Examples

Updated

Anyone who says “Teachers have it easy because they get summers off” has never stood in front of more than a dozen students and tried to help them learn. Aside from the fact that the idea of teachers usually getting summers off is essentially a myth, everyone should understand that teaching is one of the most difficult and important professions in the world.

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Odds are good you’ve had a teacher who helped you become a better, or at least smarter, person. Maybe you want to express your feelings by writing a thank you letter to that teacher.

This guide will help. It offers tips and examples to ensure your thank you letter to a teacher makes the right impression.

Why Write a Thank You Letter to a Teacher?

Knowing why you’re writing a thank you letter to a teacher is just as important as writing the actual letter itself. Teachers impact each individual student in various ways. If you clearly define why you feel the urge to write this letter, you’re far more likely to write a strong one.

Potential reasons include:

  • Teachers inspire us to pursue our dreams. They can spark our passions. In some instances, they can even help us cope with personal issues. That said, it’s important to remember that some teachers also help us in very practical ways. For instance, maybe a college professor helped you network in your industry, giving you an early career boost. They deserve credit for that.
  • Teachers eventually retire. You don’t need to wait until a former teacher retires before sending them a thank you letter. Any time is a good time to let an educator know you appreciate them. That’s why thank you letters to teachers make smart teacher retirement gifts. They let teachers know their hard work over the years changed lives.
  • They helped you when you were headed down the wrong path. That’s a good reason to write a thank you letter to a teacher. Most educators want their students to like them. Those who decide that helping their students grow and learn is more important than being liked are no exception. 
ยป MORE: Instead of ashes, create a beautiful stone. Parting Stone helps you keep your loved ones close.

 

How to Write a Thank You Letter to a Teacher: 4 Steps

Your reason for writing a thank you letter to a teacher will influence your process to some degree. That said, these general steps usually apply:

List specific experiences

Teachers always enjoy receiving thank you notes from former students. It’s unlikely the teacher you’re contacting won’t appreciate receiving a thank you letter. 

That said, they’ll appreciate it even more if it’s specific. Writing a thank you letter for a teacher that tells them they were an “inspiration” or a “great motivator” is a kind gesture. It’s even kinder, though, to include specific memories or details that illustrate precisely how that teacher inspired or motivated you. This shows you took the time to reflect on your experiences in their class before writing the letter. It also shows their influence was so significant that you still remember those specific experiences.

Make a list of these details before writing your letter. When it comes time to actually draft it, decide which makes the most sense to include. Reach out to former classmates if you think they’ll remember such details too.

Assess your skills

We’re not all strong writers. Some people can effectively communicate how they feel through written language. Some can’t. No one is a “bad person” if writing just isn’t one of their talents.

Of course, when writing a thank you letter to a teacher, your goal is to communicate your feelings in words. Be honest with yourself if that’s a task you struggle with.

It’s entirely fine to write a thank you letter for a teacher that says something along the lines of, “You know I was never great with words, but I think these thank you quotes from some of the poets we learned about in your class will let you know why you were one of the best teachers I ever had.”

Write a draft

Sending the first draft is one of the most common mistakes people make when sending any type of thank you letter. Yes, your first draft may be perfect. Regardless, you shouldn’t merely assume. You still need to reread it, and perhaps ask friends and family members to read it as well, before sending it.

A first draft often gives you the chance to get your thoughts and feelings out. You don’t need to know everything you want to say when writing a thank you letter for a teacher, even if you’ve done some planning first. You might still need to pen a first draft that involves writing out everything that comes to mind. Once you’ve done that, you can revisit it, seeing if there are ways to make it more organized or clear.

Choose your medium

The content of your thank you letter to a teacher isn’t the only important aspect of the message. You should also consider how your medium might strike them.

For instance, some teachers are perfectly happy receiving email thank you notes. However, other teachers are happier receiving “snail mail” letters on gorgeous stationery. Think about what your teacher would like before sending the letter. 

Thank You Letter to Teacher Examples

You don’t need to have been a teacher’s student to write a thank you letter for a teacher. Educators also appreciate receiving thank-you notes from parents and colleagues. These examples of thank you letters to a teacher will cover those types of messages. They’ll help you write a strong letter no matter what your relationship with a teacher may be.

Teacher thank you letter from a student

Mr. Norman,

Hi, it’s Tom, from your 2004 history class. It’s no secret we didn’t always get along when I was in your class. By now it’s also no secret you only ever had my best interests at heart. Because of your hard work, I’ve learned that the struggles of the past are present in the future.

None of that would have happened without you. I’m sorry for not understanding you were only trying to help me when I was your student, but I’m not sorry for any of the experiences you gave me.

Teacher thank you letter from a parent

Dear Mrs. Johnson:

My child has had some good teachers over the years, as well as some bad ones. You were one of the few truly amazing ones.

The changes we saw in Doug throughout the time he was your student are indescribable, and they continue to benefit from your hard work to this day. Thanks for making my job so much easier!

Teacher thank you letter from a colleague

Kelly,

We both know how challenging this career can be. However, being a teacher is easier if you have support from your colleagues. I was lucky enough to get that support from you. Thank you for helping me overcome the difficulties we all face. Enjoy retirement. You’ve earned it!

Thank You Letter to a Teacher: A Simple Yet Exceptional Gesture

If you’re reading this, that’s probably because you already feel the urge to let a teacher know how much you appreciate them via a letter. Hopefully, this guide simply makes the process of writing a strong thank you letter to a teacher a little bit easier.


Sources

  1. Delisle, Deb. “The Heart of It / The Myth of ‘Summers Off’.” ASCD, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, July 2017, www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education-update/jul17/vol59/num07/The-Myth-of-%C2%A3Summers-Off%C2%A3.aspx

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