We’re nearing the end of the school year and your time as a student teacher is drawing to a close! It’s a time for celebration, for sure, but it is also the perfect time to take a moment to reflect on your journey as a student teacher this year. Under the guidance of your mentor teacher, you would have been able to put all your knowledge from years of study about teaching methods into practice. Indeed, mentor teachers are often a crucial element of allowing student teachers to learn about the nuances of the profession while learning and implementing successful teaching strategies.
As you look back on your experiences as a student teacher, consider not just which activities resonated with students, what classroom management techniques worked best, or what you’ll incorporate into your new classroom. Beyond these “technical” reflections, take time to also reflect on the mentoring you have received throughout your student teaching experience. There’s no denying that your mentoring teacher has played a great role in the irreplaceable classroom experience you received, and what better way to showcase your deep gratitude toward them than through a student teacher thank you note?
Wondering how to write a thank you note for a teacher who has left an indelible mark on you in a way that stands out and makes an impression? Here are three simple tips that will ensure that your mentor teacher remembers you fondly for years to come.
Tip #1: Create a Positive Impression with A Student Teacher Thank You Letter
Imagine yourself years down the road, decades into your career. How many students and student teacher mentees have crossed your path, and how many of those do you remember vividly? Probably just a handful! The truth is, we’re probably only likely to remember the ones that made a lasting impression.
Sending a thoughtful and heartfelt student teacher thank you note or even gifting a meaningful memento can go a long way in cementing a positive impression of yourself in your mentor teacher’s mind. Write a sincere letter thanking the teacher for their guidance throughout the year, and give them something meaningful as a gift. Does your teacher mentor love coffee? Perhaps gift them a customized coffee mug for their desk! If they’re a fan of tea, what about a specially curated collection of tea bags for them to enjoy on their breaks? The gift does not have to be expensive to make a positive impression – it’s more important to be thoughtful instead.
You could even make a positive impression by finding creative ways to share your gratitude. Maybe craft a poem for your teacher mentor if you have a way with words, or find a quirky way to leave a thoughtful note. One idea is to use a typewriter to type out your note – as typewriters are not something you frequently come across nowadays, that will definitely leave an impression!
A thank you note from a student teacher not only acknowledges the effort of the mentor teacher but also helps them feel valued for the guidance and experience they have shared with you. Additionally, it lays the foundation for a continuing relationship going forward, something that could be important should you ever need someone to write a letter of recommendation for you, serve as your mentor, or even turn to when you need guidance as a new teacher.
Tip #2: A Thank You Note from a student teacher Should Always Be Genuine
Unconventional letters and thoughtful gifts aside, what really makes an impression in a thank you note from student teachers is sharing from the heart. Take time to carefully reflect on your classroom experiences with your mentor teacher, and write an authentic and honest note that captures your true feelings about your time in the teacher’s classroom.
Was there a time when you felt that you learned something pivotal? What skills did you gain under their direction? What events or actions were helpful for you to complete your student teacher training experience? These are some questions to guide your student teacher thank you letter, but most importantly, consider how you will put what you learned under your mentor teacher to use. Share examples of how you intend to utilize your new expertise in your own classroom. Teachers join the profession to make a difference – and nothing will move them more than knowing they’ve made a difference to you as a student teacher.
A genuine student teacher thank you note will also help ensure you continue your relationship with your mentor in the future. This note is also the perfect opportunity to mention your desire to stay in close contact with them and gives you the chance to further your mentorship under their guidance if they are willing.
Tip #3: Share Specifics in Your Thank You Note
“Thanks for being my mentor!” vs. “Thank you, Mrs. Smith, for the time you guided me in creating the lesson plan about adjectives and adverbs. My students, particularly John, loved the comparison game that you shared with me.”
Which is likely to bring a smile to Mrs. Smith’s face and invoke fond memories of their student teacher?
Sharing specific instances and concrete examples in your thank you letter to your mentor teacher is an excellent way to leave a lasting impression on them. The benefits of referencing distinct events in a thank you note from a student teacher are twofold: first, it demonstrates how truly impactful the experience was for you, and second, it provides feedback to your mentor teacher about the learning experience. This in turn can help the mentor teacher provide even more useful experiences for future student teachers.
The purpose of a thank you letter to a mentor teacher is to convey your gratitude for their support and guidance, but also to help solidify a lasting positive impression. By making specific references to your shared experiences, you will come across as being genuine and authentic in your letter and stand out in your mentor teacher’s mind.
Thank You Notes – The Start of Building Your Professional Network
Having a solid professional network is not just about having a multitude of connections on LinkedIn or other social media platforms. What matters is authentic connections with people who know you, your strengths, your abilities, and your talents – people who will vouch for you, and who will guide or mentor you when the need arises.
How do you create those connections with others? How do you make an impression? In the modern and fast-paced world we live in with incessant distractions, making a long-lasting impression is tough. A heartfelt handwritten thank you note is a simple way to stand out from the digital noise. By going against the grain and taking a more “old-fashioned” approach, you can achieve a longer-lasting impact. Having a network of colleagues with strong positive impressions of you can go a long way in helping you in your career. Apart from getting references from them, they can also serve as a resource for new teachers.
Reflecting on your experience and acknowledging your gratitude for the mentoring you have received is just one of the things to keep in mind as you start your new career. As you get closer to finishing your certification and obtaining your teaching license, don’t forget about registering for and attending the required professional development workshops you may need.
Requirements vary by state, so ensure you pay careful attention to the professional development workshops needed for where you plan to obtain your license. If you are a student teacher planning to get your certification in New York, check out the list of mandated workshops for New York educators on our website.