Everyone knows being a teacher is not easy. They are so busy with lessons and students. But that’s not the all matter. They, sometimes, might have a more special relationship with some of their students. A Reddit user asked ”Teachers of Reddit, what student will you never forget” and here are 35 responses by teachers.
I had a kid, 16, total addict. Alcoholic, meth, pills, heroin. Really rough childhood. Started smoking crack with his dad at 13, stepdad committed suicide in front of him at 14, unimaginable s!@# in between.
He’d come to school high or drunk and we would send him home. Nice kid, always respectful and just had “a good soul”.
One day he was all sorts of messed up and I pull him out of class. I told him that I loved him and I was worried and if he kept this up he would more than likely be dead by 30. He freaked out and ran to the principals office and complained that I had just told him that I loved him and cared about him. Principal said “Well, maybe he loves you and cares about you.”
We kicked him out of school after we had to.
He got sober. He came back to track me down. He grabbed me and started sobbing. He said when I said I loved him it was the first time and adult had said that to him and he believed it.
He has stayed sober for years, went to college, and is doing really well as a nurse now.
I’ve had many students that are still taking a large place in my heart. Some are sad, like the girl whose mother started beating her during a parent conference. I started crying and begged the mother to stop.
The student who had no water or electricity at home but we allowed him to shower at school and we washed his clothes.
The student who watched his grandparents get murdered by his mother and wrote about it in an essay for my class.
The student who had never been in a lake that we took camping. He was so excited but didn’t know how to swim. So he just stood in the water up to his neck and grinned. Lovely.
The girl with terrible anxiety that I sat with for hours after school to work on school work, not because she wasn’t smart, but because she was so anxious about not being perfect.
The girl who was mauled by a dog, which messed up her face, but she always smiled.
The girl whose father brought her to school every day late who finally broke down and told me her father was raping her every day when the mother left to go to work.
The Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees who flooded my school after the war. One wrote an essay about running towards a boat and seeing his grandfather get shot but he had to keep running.
The Brazilian boy who got up in class and got me to start dancing with him while we all laughed joyfully.
The group of students I took outside during their first snowstorm. The wonder on their faces was priceless.
The student who found me on Facebook after 20 years to tell me I made a difference in her life. She came to my state and took me to dinner and told me I was there for her when her home life was terrible. I had no idea. I’m just kind to everyone.
I have a million more stories. I have loved every student and being able to teach has been an honor.
Had a student who did very well, always pleasant, helped others, etc.
One evening I had to run back to the school to pick up my car as I had went out with some fellow instructors. As I was preparing to leave I noticed activity near the dumpsters and saw him digging through them pulling out food scraps from the cafeteria. My heart sank about 1000 feet. I didn’t know what to do — if I were to go up to him, he’d know I knew and I just didn’t know how he would react.
I talked with a colleague of mine who knew a social worker. The family had suffered the loss of his dad about two years ago, and now his mom was battling cancer. To say they were hanging on by a thread would be an understatement.
We knew we had to do something. So we all waited one evening and sure enough, he returned. He was scared, ashamed, crying, angry — every emotion you can think of. I do not blame him. We took him to his home and his mom was emotional too. We ordered hot food and a colleague went and got it, and we all spent many hours that evening talking and reassuring them we were there to help.
Working with local resources, we got them the help they needed. Food, medical assistance, even local volunteers to come help with some chores around their house.
The mom got better thankfully, and the bright young man continued to do well in school and got a scholarship for college when he graduated a few years later.
This was 20 years ago — today, that bright young man works as a mechanical engineer and is still as generous and considerate as ever. His mother, sadly, passed on around 10 years ago. All 3 of his “former teachers” from that night went to the funeral.
I am very proud of him. We still keep in touch, and visit often.
I teach at a prison.
The first inmate I had graduate under my teaching cried when he looked at his diploma. He was the first in his entire family to graduate. It was quite the accomplishment and I was very moved.
A wonderful young man who was killed in a car accident back in early June 2020. He was in his Grade 11 year.
Took him under my wing in Grade 9. Worked on his impulsive behaviour, colourful language, anger management and questionable life choices. By Grade 10, he was a mentor to incoming Grade 9s that had similar issues as himself. In Grade 11, he was a leader here in the school, volunteering, joined the Arts community and held down two after school jobs.
We shook hands everyday, he’d bring me coffee, his last text to me said: “Life is beautiful, man” and he had recently told me that he wished that I was his dad.
He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt coming home from one of those jobs. He was killed instantly after being ejected from a car he was a passenger in. My commute to and from work everyday passes by the exact spot he was killed.
Miss you, Edward.
I was a watersports instructor teaching people kayaking and canoeing a couple years back.
There was a group of refugees, all minors between 11-17 that came to us through a charity that was supporting them gaining asylum in my country (UK).
All of them had crossed the channel on a raft or dinghy literally 2 days before, and for some goddamn reason the charity had decided it was a good time to take them canoeing! Can’t make this s!@# up.
There was this one kid from South Sudan, 15 years old and an absolute behemoth. We’re talking 6 foot plus and pushing 14-15 stone in weight. Covered in scars, some of them ritualistic scarification, missing teeth and generally just looking like he’d been through hell many times.
He was terrified of the water. I took him in my boat, nice and easy, then once he got comfortable I just stuck a stern rudder in and let him power us through the water.
Him and the other kids loved it! We had some tears at the beginning, I imagine there was a lot of PTSD involved judging by the state of some of these poor kids.
At the end of the session, this giant monster of a child walked up to me with a huge jagged grin, said in broken english “thank you leader” and gave me a bear hug I’ll never forget.
To this day, 4 years later, I still remember that grin.
I teach English as a foreign language and had a class of middle school students who needed to use sequential words (First, Next, Then, etc.) to describe making something as part of their end-of-book test. Most students used the example presented in the book on how to make a sandwich. Some were creative and write about how to make a hamburger instead. One boy raised his hand and asked if he could write about a computer game. “As long as you follow the instructions, I don’t mind.”
Ten minutes later he asked for a blank sheet of paper. Whereas everyone else answered the question with four or five short sentences this particular student wrote two and a half pages on how to make a house in MineCraft — creating tools, assembling material, avoiding enemies, etc. One of the most impressive things I’ve seen from students at that level.
Dance instructor. Student had one hemisphere of her brain removed as an infant and she was paralyzed on one side. She said that she wanted to dance because she wanted people to see that she wasn’t ashamed of her body. After months and months she finally managed one spin around. The other instructor cried, I cried, she cried. It was f!@#$%^ incredible.
I had a 7th grader that was the biggest, happiest doofus. He actually was pretty intelligent, but he was such an open book (and didn’t put much effort into school) that he came across as a bit of a fool.
Other teachers treated him like a nuisance, because he definitely was a distraction to other kids. He didn’t try to be disruptive; he just was.
But he lit up the room with positive energy and was genuinely happy to enjoy every moment of being alive. I didn’t understand how his prior teachers were annoyed by him because he genuinely was a ray of sunshine and he made everyone a little happier by being in his presence. He was always smiling, always entertained by life–and it was contagious. Kind of like a human golden retriever.
I helped him learn how to set school-related goals for himself and take more of an interest in the things we studied, and he was so proud of earning his first A in my class.
The reason I will never forget him is because I wasn’t yet a mother when I taught him, and I decided then that “if I ever have kids, I hope they will be as happy as Oscar is.” I would try to encourage their sense of wonder and fun, above all else.
Not a teacher anymore, but there are so, so many of them.
I’ll never forget the little boy who was abused from birth to age 3 before he was finally taken away from his mother (who was struggling with a serious drug addiction) and adopted by his maternal grandmother. He had some delays but he was such a smart little kid who absolutely loved dinosaurs.
I’ll never forget the student who didn’t have anything to give me for Christmas, but he wanted to give me something so badly that he taped his fruit roll up from his lunch onto a piece of paper and handwrote a Christmas card.
I’ll never forget the kid who sobbed in my lap at recess when her mother was going through chemotherapy, because she was terrified. Months later, this same kid came running down the hallway and literally leapt into my arms while screaming “Miss N, my mom is going to be okay!”
I’ll never forget the kid who noticed that my pencil jar (for students who needed pencils) was empty, so he filled it with his own.
I’ll never forget the little girl who came to school every day with dirty clothes, sometimes the same clothes she had on the day before. She made her lunch herself at 6 years old, and she never had anything fresh or healthy, it was generally packaged because that’s what they had. She would also hug anyone and everyone because she was so desperate for affection. I was a student teacher, but the principal was trying to get authorities involved by the time I left. I hope she got help.
I’ll never forget the kid who emailed me on the weekends and over holidays, just to tell me what’s going on and to say hello.
There are so many more, I could go on for ages.