For a young person the power of a good relationship with a trusted adult, feeling like they belong and building a rapport with a trusted adult should not be underestimated. We came across the below email written to a teacher by a former student and we wanted to share it as we believe it demonstrates many important lessons.
Trigger warning – this blog post discusses domestic abuse and suicidal feelings
I’m sat here tonight thinking about how much my life has changed since my younger years. I thought about my time at *************** and you crossed my mind. I decided to google you and I was thrilled to find a way to contact you. I apologise in advance if this is slightly odd and I am aware that this probably isn’t the best place to make contact however, I just wanted to let you know a few things.
You won’t remember me but I’ll introduce myself anyway. My name is ******** and you were my English teacher for a short time. I left ********* in year 8. I was, to put it simply, a pain in the arse and for that I would like to apologise. There was no excuse for my behaviour and despite my best efforts at making all of the teachers hate me, you always treated me with respect and because of your patience, You were always my favourite.
You’re probably wondering why I’m emailing you and to be honest, I’m wondering too. I don’t even know if I’ll bother hitting send. This is just something that I feel like I’ve held in for a while. A long overdue thank you. There’s a possibility that I’ll feel lighter once I’ve said what I’d like to say.
So thank you. Thank you for saving my life. In the middle of year 7 I had made a plan to end my life. I had issues at home, my step dad was abusive in ways I still cannot put into words. I didn’t know that it was abuse, I didn’t know that boys could be abused in “that way”. I just thought that the world hated me and I didn’t know why.
I was awfully unorganised, partly because of what was going on at home but mostly because I was just fed up of life. I’d rock up to school with no planner, no pen and sometimes even no bag. I’d get told off every day, sent to *************’s office. I just felt like what’s the point?
I vividly remember planning to end my life. I had everything I needed, I had even practised. I wanted one last day at school, I wanted to see my friends and I had PE that day, I always thought that was enjoyable.
I didn’t want to die and I think I searched high and low that day for a reason to live. I just wanted someone, an adult to like me, to show me that l’m not just another nightmare kid and to give me a little bit of hope.
Anyway, last but one lesson of the day. I’m pretty certain at this point that I’d be going home and ending my life. I came to your lesson, you made us copy the dog’s dance moves in the video “In the jungle the mighty jungle” I didn’t want to but I laughed, I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt. I’d never laughed like that before.
Your lesson was nothing but fun from start to finish. You seemed to give me more attention that day. You kept smiling at me, you complimented my work and for the first time in forever, I felt safe and comfortable… and happy.
I didn’t want your lesson to end, I didn’t want the school day to end because I knew that then my time was up. I wanted to stay with you and keep laughing.
I don’t know If you will remember but that exact day a ‘Goodyear’ blimp flew over the school.
Anyway, the day obviously came to an end. I had to collect my phone from reception and I seen you one last time. You smiled at me once again and that was just enough for me. I got home, I cried, I considered going ahead with my plan but I just kept thinking about you and the fun I had that day. It just made me feel like lifes not all that bad.
I wanted to talk to you for so long about the abuse but I just didn’t know, I didn’t know how and I didn’t know that it was abuse. I just knew that it was something bad.
I left ***************, we were moving away. I joined a new school and I did open up about the abuse there. Everything went up in the air, I had to go to hospital for a full body examination, social services got involved, pastoral were supportive, I had to talk to the police and go to court. It was chaos but I got the help I needed and justice was served. We moved again, mum got re married and our surnames were finally changed, we were free from him and we could both start to heal.
I’m now nearly 22, I’ve got a great job, partner and step daughter. I wouldn’t have had any of this if it wasn’t for you, not just that day, you always showed me kindness and for that… you are and always will be the best teacher ever.
You didn’t just teach me English, you taught me to carry on, even when I was at rock bottom.
Thank you Miss Goodyear, thank you for saving my life. If I had followed my plan, I would’ve missed out on so much.