Dear Mr. Zeigenbein…

Kelsi Holbrook plans to attend Indiana University Bloomington, where she will major in psychology in the fall.

We’ve all had that uber understanding teacher. That teacher who gives extra days to finish assignments if you look a little tired. That teacher who won’t wake you if you fall asleep in their class. That teacher who always has snacks in their desk. That teacher who wants nothing more than for you to succeed in their class, no matter how slowly they have to teach.

Teachers like that are great and all, but that teacher is not who I’m here to talk about. I want to talk about the teacher who taught me accountability. The teacher who taught me that everything in my life is my responsibility, my grades, my sleeping schedule, my time management. It’s all on me. This teacher taught the first class I ever actually had any difficulty in.

Before their class, I could coast through everything with pure memorization. I never had to take the time to actually understand what was going on or even do most of the work. 

But I did in this teacher’s class. I had to study, understand, ask questions, put forth effort. I thought that class would be the death of me, but to this day it is still my favorite class. Not because of the course — I’m horrible with science–but because of the teacher. 

In this small, eighth grade science classroom with Lorax posters and memes scattered on the walls, I learned how to be a better person — how to hold myself accountable. Four years later, I still tell myself that mantra I heard almost everyday in that class: “It’s my grade. I can kill it if I want to.” And I didn’t want to. 

So I want to say thank you to Mr. Z. I don’t remember anything about clouds or cells or Punnett squares, but I do remember how to be a better student and a better person. Thank you. 

Kelsi Holbrook 

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