Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some blaze trails by starting new companies. Others shepherd churches, run hospitals, give orders to platoons, or care for animals. Some have big offices and big salaries. Some spend more time in their cars than in their homes. They lead corporations, create non-profits, manage people and resources, and propel their careers forward.
Some leaders, though, labor behind the scenes and get little recognition. Taking work home is the rule, not the exception. They can scarf down lunch in three minutes flat. They attend meetings at night instead of being with family. They are often underappreciated and underpaid. Yet, they influence lives with every tick of the clock.
And at least one of these leaders has changed you.
These unsung heroes are teachers.
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When you look back at your school years, you can probably name one or two teachers who made a difference in your life. Maybe they challenged you to work harder. Or they taught you how to find confidence in yourself. Perhaps they saw your untapped potential and stayed long after the final bell so you could reach it. You can still see their faces. You can still picture their classrooms in your mind. You can still recall what they said. They shaped you into the person who you are today.
Do Something to Say Thanks
Our challenge is simple: Say thank you to one of those teachers for being a leader in your life. Call her. Write him a thank you note in your own handwriting. Post something on social media. Tell them how they changed the trajectory of your life because of their humility, determination, passion and stubborn drive to help you succeed—even when you didn’t care about your future. Share how their influence then plays a role in your life now.
If you can, give them a gift card for a night out or send them some flowers. Get them a gift card to an office supply store—many teachers buy school supplies with their own money. Do something to say thank you. You may need to do a little research to track them down, but their impact is worth the time it takes to find and thank them.
Need more creative ways you can gift the teachers in your life? Check out this article with 31 different ideas for celebrating teachers while on a budget!