These are just a few of the gratitude letters I have received over the years. Each and every one I cherish.

From the most important references you can get – students themselves!

June, 2016

Ms. Astor,

I can’t put into words how much I’m going to miss you. You’ve only been my teacher for one year, but it was enough for you to have left a permanent mark on my education and life. You opened my mind, and allowed me to freely explore the worlds and stories inside my head. Not only that, but you helped me make these stories stronger. You taught me how to express myself in ways better than ever before.

You are a truly incredible teacher, but beyond that you are an extraordinary person. You never made me feel like a child. You let me and the rest of the class be on the same level as you. It was such a breath of fresh air to have a teacher who truly saw you. Saw your mind and what it was capable of, and helped you reach those goals. I don’t know what the hell life has in store for me next, but the things I learned in your classroom will stay with me and continue to help me grow as a writer and as a person. Thank you for making me stronger, while also making me laugh.

Don’t think you’re getting rid of us though. Me and the girls will be back to wreak havoc.

Until then, Don’t forget me. 😉

June, 2017

Thanks for the amazing past two years Ms Astor, they have been filled with nothing but joy, excitement and fun with you as my teacher. You have been there through my lows and highs over the past two years. You have been nothing but supportive and helpful at my time at duke.

It has been an absolute pleasure having you as my teacher and my friend over the past 2 years. I can’t express how much appreciation I have for you in my life as you have changed it completely and I will be forever great full for what you have taught me and helped me get through. You are unlike so many other teachers I have had in the past, you are fun, energetic and so much more respectful and helpful than other teachers I have had. I’m sorry I didn’t say this in person but there were my friends around me and it would be embarrassing. I can’t express the positive affects you have had on my life. You have changed my life and I am forever great full.

With Love.

June, 2021

Dear Miss Astor,

Every year, all of us (except for maybe Alic) wake up begrudgingly to get ready for the long haul they call a school year. Doing the same thing day after day after day. Only this year was different, not just because of Covid and all the restrictions, but because we had you as a teacher. You make every day exciting and fulfilling! You know how to make even boring stuff seem interesting. You can even get people to have fun even while teaching their least favourite subjects. You make us so much more confident in ourselves.

You make all of us genuinely want to be in school and really want to learn, and at the same time, you’re totally the “cool teacher”. We can all say in full confidence that we learned more this year in your classroom than any other year at Duke. While we’ll all inevitably begin to forget more and more about the school years and the various teachers we’ve had over time, we will always remember perfectly this year we’ve had with you. We will all undoubtedly have more teachers in the future who are great, but you will always hold the title of the best teacher we’ve ever had.

Teaching kids, especially teenagers, seems extremely difficult because we seem to be moody all the time and we’re said to be in our “rebellious stages” of life. But you, being the superhuman you are, can find a way to reach out to us as individuals, and breakthrough that strong stubborn box we seem to keep our brains locked in most of the time. You help us see the world in brighter and happier colours. You don’t just interact with us as children with whom your job is to cram as much information into our brains as you can, but you actually care about us and treat us like real people, and have a personal connection with all of us. You made each and every one of us feel important and special. We can all say that we all woke up every day excited to see you, talk to you, and learn with you.

We all have this very distinct memory of a supply teacher walking towards our lineup one morning, we remember we were all huddled in one big group (as we always are) hoping that the supply teacher would keep walking past us and go to a different lineup, and sure enough, she did. Then you came out and all of us ran up to you at the door happy to start the day, and even though you weren’t close enough to hear us, we all started yelling at each other how happy we were that you were there. (We’re pretty sure we were all giggling like maniacs when we ran up to you but that was already pretty expected with us).

This school year has been tough in all sorts of strange ways, but us knowing you were always on our side made everything so much easier. You left such a huge impact on each and every one of us. You’re an amazing teacher and human being.

Don’t think this is the last you’re going to see of us ;)

With much love

Keira, Rowan, Alic, Lilah, Lexie, Semira, & Faith / Your favourite students (obviously) <3

And a few thank you’s from parents!

May, 2014

Hi Danielle,

My son, John, was in your class many years ago. He is 19 now–20 in August. John was not a particularly accomplished student, but you gave him opportunities and encouragement. At the end of the school year you gave each student a T-shirt with their name and words you felt described them. In John’s case, the words were artist, writer, thinker, and actor.

I have been meaning to contact you for a long time, because that T-shirt has been one of John’s favourites over the years, and he still wears it. In high school he became very interested in acting and writing and did well in those areas. In his last year of high school he performed a one-hour one man show (Daniel MacIvor’s House), and we were all so impressed with his dedication and ability. He spent last year at York U. in the theatre program, and is going to the University of Windsor this coming fall to be in the well-respected acting program.

A couple of days ago, when I saw that he was wearing the shirt you gave him I asked him whether he thought that the words on the shirt had helped give him a sense of who he was, and what he could be. He thought that was right. He said he couldn’t understand why the shirt still fit him (he is 6’3″!), but it does (like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, I guess). We talked about how so much of the feedback he has got from teachers (the feedback he remembers) has been corrective or negative, and it made a huge difference for him to have these words on the shirt affirming his better self, and his potential.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your thoughtfulness and your ability to articulate and affirm something essential in John. I hope you are still teaching!

All the best,


June, 2015

Hi Danielle

I wanted to send a personal thank you for the wonderful year of teaching you have given Frankie’s and her entire Grade 8 class. She has really excelled – moreso than I even thought – Science Award – Wow!

Thank you also for fostering her friendship group, which I think has played a big part in building her self-confidence.

It takes a very special person to keep teens engaged, to spark their curiosity and to instil a love of learning. I think you’re an exceptional teacher and will be remembered years later by many of your students as a person and educator who was an inspiration.

All the best, Dawn