Do you have an old teacher that went out of their way to teach you a skill, or maybe made a boring topic interesting?

There are many reasons you may want to reach out to a teacher you previously had. Just taking a little bit of effort and time to do so could help your older teacher realize the big impact they made in your life.

A row of students learning at school. Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash

Why you should thank a teacher

There are many reasons to thank your old teacher.

Many teachers go out of their way to not only teach you a subject, but to teach you life-long skills that you'll carry for the rest of your life. Teachers want you to reach your full potential and they work tirelessly to do so.

Teachers often work many more hours than other professions, while receiving lower pay and less respect.

An old teacher waiting to greet a former student. Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Teachers go into the profession not for the paycheck, but to make a difference in their student's lives. Just taking a little bit of time out of your day to thank your teacher will make a tremendous impact on them.

How to find your former teacher's contact info

Check your school's website:

  • Find your old school's website on Google

  • Search the tab section for a staff directory

  • These directories are usually alphabetical and can include the teacher's email

Looking at laptop surprisingly.

If you still can't find your old teacher's email this way, you could always reach out to the school and see if they have it.

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Use LinkedIn to find contact information:

Another way that many people reach out to old teachers is through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is used for professional networking and many people have a profile that includes their contact information.

A person holding cup with a LinkedIn logo on it.

What to include in your email or thank you letter

So you now have their email, but how can you best show your appreciation to them as your former teacher?

A cartoon apple that says,

  • Address them by their name and the title you used when you were their student.

  • Start off with a greeting, such as "Dear" or "Good Afternoon".

  • Remind them about how you know them. Teachers end up teaching hundreds of students over the years. Don't be offended if they can't remember you right off the bat.

  • Tell them what they did that made such a big impact on you. What moments do you remember from their class?

For Example:

Thank you for seeing the potential in me during math class. I felt like I was always weak in math, but you made it fun and told me I was capable. It was those moments that drove me to work hard and eventually get into AP Calculus.

  • End your letter with a closing, such as "Sincerely," "Thanks again,".

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Sample letters

Take a look at the following sample letters a student wrote to an old teacher. Which letter does the best with being specific and thanking their former teacher?

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Sample 1:

Dear Mr._____,

You are simply the best. Thanks for all your help!

Your former student,


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Sample 2:

Dear Mr. _____,

I wanted to reach out to thank you for all that you've done. You were my algebra teacher 7 years ago and your words of wisdom still hold with me today. Your teaching went beyond math and I could tell that you saw the potential in all students. Thank you for never giving up on me and pushing me to be my very best!

Thanks again,


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Sample 3:

Why hello there!

Thanks for making math class so fun!

Thanks again,



Which sample letter does the best with being specific and thanking their former teacher?

What to expect after you thank them

A person holding up both hands with excitement.

You finally sent out that letter! Now what?

  • Be patient when waiting for a response. Your old teacher might have retired and spends less time online, or they may still be busy teaching. Maybe they're so popular that they're getting a ton of letters just like the one you sent!

  • You might get a response from the teacher letting you know that they'd like to keep in touch or for you to stop by the school to say hi.

Take Action

A person writing a letter that says,

Many teachers go above and beyond to help students reach their full potential. One of the most rewarding things to teachers is hearing from an older student. Take just a little time and effort to recognize what this teacher has done for you.


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