Angela Koch: Chemistry • Arrowhead Union High School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Dear Mrs. Koch,

I never thanked you for all you did for me. When I had you as a teacher, I was in a bad place. You didn't know why I was failing your class, and you were confused why a B student began failing every quiz and test. You were also shocked I wouldn't do my homework. I told you I forgot, but you didn't buy that, and after class you asked what was going on. I told you nothing and that you shouldn't worry about me. But that didn't stop you.

You had me come in during study hall and after school for chemistry tutoring ­almost every day. You devoted hours to helping me. It's amazing, looking back now, how much time you gave me. I knew you had a lot on your plate, considering you had just had a baby; I felt you shouldn't waste time helping me, but you didn't see it that way. You spent loads of time helping me balance equations and work on missed labs and homework I hadn't done.

The more I came for help, the more I began to trust you. I eventually trusted you enough to share my problems. I told you that my mom had multiple sclerosis and my grandma was diagnosed with cancer and had three months to live. I also confided that my dog had recently passed away. I hadn't told anyone what was going on, not even my good friends.

The day of our second semester exam, my grandma passed. My mom and sister had already left to take care of her, leaving me by myself to receive the news. That day, I entered your class and you knew immediately something was wrong. After the exam, you asked me what was going on and I told you. You were sorry for my loss and told me you were there if I needed to talk.

You saved me from the tides of the ocean that were forcing me beneath the big blue. You were my rescue swimmer, and I thank you for being there when no one else was. I have never had a teacher devote so much to me and ask for so little in ­return.

You are my favorite and by far the greatest teacher I have ever had. Thank you.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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