Fall is (almost) here. The kiddos are packing up their lunch boxes, and the teachers in your life are grabbing their PSLs, putting on their sensible heels, and settling into another school year. They need your support and appreciation and probably a cocktail or two after work too. The back-to-school season is no joke, and they don’t call teaching one of the most noble professions for nothing.

This is the time of year to shower your teacher pals with TLC now that you’re old enough to have teacher pals, but it’s also worthwhile to spend a few moments this fall reflecting on the educators who impacted your own childhood. These special people probably taught you even more than you realize. Keep scrolling for eight examples.

Teacher in classroom

1. Showing Up Every Day: Now that we’re adults, we know how real the struggle of the daily grind can be. Add in a classroom of kids with their own needs, complaints, and mood swings, and you have an even bigger challenge when you head to work. With the exception of a few well-deserved days off throughout the school year (and an extremely well-deserved summer of rest), your teachers consistently supported you and your education on a daily basis simply by being there, no matter what.

2. Helping You Connect With New Friends: You might be a social butterfly now, but at some point in the past, you may have needed a grown-up to break the ice between you and a potential pal. In elementary school, your teachers changed up your seating arrangements so you could meet new people. In high school, they made you do awkward first-day get-to-know-you games that seemed lame at the time but really did help get you more acquainted with your classmates. Even if you didn’t actually become BFFs with any of them, these exercises helped you get a little more comfortable connecting with others.

3. Teaching You About Routines: It wasn’t easy for your kindergarten teacher when you and your friends refused to sit still for the last few hours of the day, and your middle school educators didn’t exactly relish the final days before holiday break when all you did was pass notes to your bestie during their lectures. But they soldiered on, steadfastly sticking to the schedule themselves in spite of your objections. Painful as they may have been, these were the moments when you first experienced the rigor of a routine, and it set the stage for all the years of structure to come.

4. Being Resourceful: Whether it was your third grade teacher finding a way to repurpose old tissue boxes for a science project or your AP English instructor campaigning for the school district to buy new copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, you saw examples of resourcefulness from an early age from your educators. Teachers often don’t have all the resources they need, so successfully doing their job requires creative problem-solving — a skill you can definitely use far beyond the classroom.

5. Demonstrating Patience: Despite what your grandmother tells you, you weren’t a perfect kid, and you were likely responsible for driving a teacher or two to brink back in your school days. Sure, they had to keep their cool if they wanted to keep their jobs, but we all know that they cut us a lot more slack than we deserved. At the risk of being cliché, patience is a virtue — and teachers have to be some of the most patient people in the universe.

6. Cleaning Up After You: Even if you had an official cleanup time built into the school day, chances are that your teachers had to do a thorough once-over of the classroom before they left at the end of the day. Major props to them for ensuring that you were able to learn in a tidy, organized space.

7. Laughing With (and at) You: You probably made your teachers want to cry way more than you realized. But guess what? They laughed instead! And they’re the ones who taught you that when you’re in a tough spot, it helps to take things lightly.

8. Modeling Selflessness: Being a teacher is one of most selfless professions out there, and the fact that we were each lucky enough to encounter so many people throughout our growing-up years who chose to do it is a gift. Thank you, teachers!

Which teacher played the biggest role in your life? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)