I will always remember my 11th-grade1 English teacher, Ms. M. She had such a profound impact on me and was one of the most inspiring teachers I've ever had.
Before her class, I saw myself as just an average student who didn't have much passion for writing. I tended to just complete assignments to get them over with. But from the first day in Ms. M's class, I could tell she approached teaching differently.
Her passion for literature and language was infectious. She found ways to relate even the most complex works we read to our lives. I started seeing assignments not as tasks to check off but as opportunities to learn and grow. And whenever I approached her with a question about certain authors and their style, she always had the answer.
Her belief in continuously challenging myself remained a lesson long after that year. One debate she organized still stands out - whether writers should censor themselves. Coming from my background as a passive writer, arguing for total openness stretched me creatively. I still draw on the rhetorical skills I gained there.
Most of all, Ms. M helped me find my voice.
She encouraged experimenting with different writing styles to discover what I had to say and how I wanted to say it. Whenever I felt uncertain, she boosted my confidence with thoughtful feedback. By submitting my work to the school archives at her recommendation, I realized my skills and took pride in my writing for the first time.
Her legacy has stayed with me as I continue pursuing writing. For opening my eyes to literature's power and cultivating a passion that has endured, I will always be grateful to Ms. M.
In India, the Eleventh Grade is the first year of higher secondary education. This grade is mainly the third year of High School (i.e., Higher/Senior Secondary School or Senior High School) according to all National and State Boards of India, and according to some State Boards of India, it is the first year of Junior College (i.e. Intermediate or Pre-University College). Generally, the equivalent grade for this grade is known as "Class 11" or "Plus 1".↩