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15 Inspiring life lessons teachers have passed on to their students

You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker a thousand times (at least): If you can read this, thank a teacher. It’s true.

The millions of teachers in America help us do everyday things, from reading articles on the Internet to writing emails, to figuring out the right tip on a restaurant check (when in doubt, double the tax). But chances are there’s one teacher whose lessons you carry with you today and have nothing to do with reading, ‘riting or ‘rithmetic.

SheKnows asked 15 women to share the inspiring lessons they learned from their teachers that have made their lives all the better.

1. “Cheat legally, because the answer to one question could be found in another.” – Melanie

2. “What you do today will have an effect on tomorrow. He taught me to fight for what’s right. So much so that I got it tattooed on me!” – Jessie

More: DIY teacher gifts that get an A-plus

3. “Don’t sacrifice tomorrow on the altar of today. First year of college, Professor Voss. I was terrified of his class because he was known to be very, very difficult. On the first day he told us that this was the best advice he could give us for our college careers and the choices we would make. It is one of the only specific things I remember from college, and the advice has served me well more times than I can count.” – Naomi

4. “My eighth-grade history teacher taught me: Trust your gut; it’s usually right.” – Linda

5. “My principal said at my freshman orientation, ‘If it’s a reasonable request, do it.'” – Faith

6. “It’s OK to be stupid, but you don’t have to open your mouth and prove it” – Barbara

7. “A teacher once told me that they could open the door, but I have to want to walk through it.” – Erin

More: What your child’s teacher wishes you knew

8. “Happy people take risks.” – Kathy

9. “Being fair is not giving each student the same, but giving each student what they need.” – Tracy

10. “We are all the same on the inside, so don’t judge by the outside!” – Jackie

11. “Being fair does not mean that things will be easy. One of my favorite teachers in middle/high school was definitely the toughest, but she was fair to everyone.” – Patricia

12. “Live as much of your life in the ‘here and now’ as you possibly can because you can’t change the past and you can’t predict the future. The only thing you have control over is right now.” – Melissa

13. “Consequences are real (gum on nose all day — thank God for Catholic school, and I actually mean that).” – Vera

14. “Be organized. It’s the key to a successful life!” – Nicole

More: Teachers deserve a lot more respect and not just on National Teacher Day

15. “I was in jazz band and my band director wanted me to take a solo to perform during one of the songs. I told him I didn’t want it because it intimidated me [and] to give it to someone else who could really pull it off. And he kept pushing me to do it; he said something along the lines of, ‘Even if you suck, at least you tried, and the room full of people watching you will respect you for that.'” – Kristine

What’s the most inspiring life lesson a teacher ever taught you?

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