20 Former Students Share Things Their Teachers Did That They’ll Never Forget, Both Good And Bad
Possibly we all have that one teacher that we remember very well to this day. Perhaps they saw a potential in you when no one did, helped when the times were rough, or said encouraging words that inspired you to be where you are today. Or maybe it still grieves you what the teacher did or said to you back in the day.
Luckily, this thread on Reddit proves that most of us carry sweet and precious memories of our tutors. When someone asked, “What did that one teacher do to you that you’ll never forget?” thousands of (former) students were willing to share their bitter-sweet memories from school years. And some stories are really heart-touching. Might need a napkin. Aw, bless them!
Did you have a teacher that you still remember today? Why? Let us know!
More info: Reddit
My 9th-grade English teacher asked me if I could write a creepy short story. I did it, gave it to her, then she retyped the first page and submitted it to her teacher in her Master’s program. I found out about it because when I asked her what she thought of it, she said “oh, it got an A.” I said “what do you mean? You graded it?” She said, “no, look.” And she handed it back to me with her name on it as an author and an A on it. I said, “You turned it into your teacher as if it were you own work?” A friend of hers was sitting in the classroom too, and this look passed between them that said, “She knows about plagiarism.”
Before that, she had been my favorite teacher. She lost all my respect that day.
Told me to stop dating my boyfriend when we were 13 because “It’s not like you’re gonna marry him”. We stayed together and got married.
In fifth grade, I had a math teacher that would actually staple a Mcdonald’s application to your test if you failed. Thankfully she has since retired.
A girl in our High School English Lit. class was talking too much, so the teacher moved her next to me because I was quiet. I thought this little chatterbox was cute, so I asked her out. We’ve been married 54 years.
My physics teacher in high school hosted an annual trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando for 15-20 kids for over a week. I was one of the better and most interested students in his class. He was an incredible teacher who found examples in physics everywhere. He also used to work for Disney prior to teaching.
Since my family was not so well off and I could not afford the trip to Walt Disney World, I declined when he asked me if I was going to join. He probed a bit and he somehow found the funds to have me join without me even inquiring. I don’t know if he pulled school money or there was a surplus, but either way, that was one of my best memories from that school.
I still keep in touch with him 15 years later.
Had a highschool art teacher who would let me stay in his classroom during lunches. Always gave me half his sandwich and other extra food because he knew I didn’t eat much otherwise.
Edit: He would also keep a drawer in the classroom stocked with snacks so that I could swing by and grab something between classes if I needed. No, he never did anything “questionable,” and no, I never “fell asleep” after eating the sandwiches. He was just a kind person :)
My first grade teacher bought me clothes, got my doctor to recognize my epilepsy and diagnose it, and sent me to another school for highly capable students. I lived in a bad situation but she gave me my life back and now I have been accepted into college as a student athlete, with a nearly full ride scholarship. My epilepsy is still with me, I work two jobs now, but I have a future because of her. Thank you Mrs. Trudeau for believing in me.
One time I ran into my fourth grade English teacher on the subway and she went on and on to my mom and me about how good of a writer she thought I was. really inspired me to be the writer I am today.
At my high school, we had an annual week-long science trip, fully paid for by fundraising. Only 4 people were selected to go each year. My sophomore year, I was chosen. I knew there was no way I was going to be allowed to go. I had never been out of the state, never been on a single vacation, never been on a plane and never been away from home for more than 24 hours. My parents were incredibly conservative and immediately said no. I had a science teacher who just didn’t accept the no. Instead of just giving up and selecting someone else, he called and tried to convince my parents. When that didn’t work, he came to my house and had dinner with my family to convince my dad that I would be an asset and he would be doing me a disservice by not letting me go. He sat and ate my mom’s terrible cooking and talked to my parents for over 2 hours until he got a “we’ll think about it”. Then he just kept following up.
I had never had someone in my corner like that before, who was willing to go to bat for me like that. He wore them down and it was the best week of my teenage life. I’d never seen the ocean. 20 years later and I can still recall every detail of that trip. It was a major pivot point for me.
Called my mum while she was at work to tell her I’d written one of the best things he’d ever seen as a teacher.
Senior year I was placed in a Freshman typing class. Everyone Else was chatty and goofed off, but I wanted to learn to type, so I really put in a lot of effort. I only had two classes in the morning, and the rest of the day I was a waitress, as I was pretty much on my own in my senior year. I got called into work on the day of our class final, so I went to work and missed the final. When I showed up to class the next day, I apologized to the teacher for missing the final. He asked me, “do you want to know the grade you got?” When I replied yes, he said, “I gave you an A because if you had been here, that’s what you would’ve gotten.” I never forgot that. Thank you, Mr. Wyatt.
My High School English teacher helped me get an IEP for my dyslexia. Yes I found many coping skills but still had trouble.. She also also helped me in so many more ways like had me take a paper to the office every day just to give me a 2 minute break. Would ask me if I knew all the words for the matching on my spelling tests. Got me a comic book of the book we were reading in class to help me. She would proof read my papers before they were due even for other classes. Most of all she helped me with all my paper work for my rank of eagle scout and talked me in to going to college because I could go for free. Because of her I have 2 degrees and earned my rank of Eagle scout. I owe the world to this teacher.
When I was in 5th grade in 1975, my parents were divorcing and I was living with my abusive father. If I didn’t get B+ or better on my report card, I got the belt. Not a little, mind you. A full-on beat down, and probably denial of meals for a while. The ’70’s with an abusive parent were a very different time.
My father had quite a reputation in the small Pennsylvania town I lived in (McKean, PA). He was known as an incredibly strict person, and our neighbors all hated him. But this was a different time, and that sort of behavior was ignored in public.
My 5th grade math teacher, Mr. Cunningham, scared me. He looked a bit like my father, and didn’t suffer any nonsense in his classroom at all. I struggled with mathematics, and it just didn’t make sense to me.
We got our first report card in 5th grade. These were the days where you could carry a card with you for the day, and the teacher would write your grade on the report card. You would then have to take it home, and have a parent sign it to acknowledge that they had seen your grades.
So far, through the day, the grades were good. A’s, mostly, an A-, but all good.
Math was my last class of the day before I had to catch the bus.
When my report card came back to me, I froze in terror. I recall this moment like a photograph. The grade was a D, written in pen, right there on the report card. I knew what was coming. The blood drained out of my face.
Mr. Cunningham dismissed the class, and I was frozen in my desk. Scared of what he would do, and even more scared of what my father would do.
All the other kids had left the classroom, and my world around me was gone – just me, my books, and the D staring at me telling me that my 10-year old self was going to suffer. Badly.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, and I shook and started crying.
Mr. Cunningham looked at me. He took my report card out of my hand, and walked up to his desk. He called me up there. I was still terrified, probably shaking, definitely trying to hide my crying and failing.
He got out a black pen and changed the D into a B+. He didn’t say anything, he just looked at me. He knew. He could see the signs, and he knew how terrified I was and why.
I had no idea an adult could be so compassionate, and had no idea it was even possible to change something like that.
He handed my report card back to me, and said two words that have stayed with me to this day. “Earn this.” He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I know. It’s not fair, and I’m sorry. You’re a smart kid, and you can get this. Just ask me for help.”
It was a simple act of kindness, and it’s stuck with me to this day. The math grade didn’t matter – I’m successful enough in my 50’s to not have that come up on my permanent record. But the permanent change of my impression of Mr. Cunningham is still very much with me.
If you have power over other people, you have to wield that power with compassion. You have to tailor that power to meet the needs of the individual. That is the lesson I learned that day from Mr. Cunningham.
The next terms I got a B+ or better. I assume it’s because I worked really hard, and Mr. Cunningham helped me out at lunch – or, he was kind because he knew.
Thank you, Mr. Cunningham. This was 45 years ago, and I still remember you.
Sixth grade my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was caught copying my friend’s homework because my dad had a treatment the night before and I was unable to do it – that’s how my teacher learned he had cancer. Throughout the year she was so supportive and reassured me that I could submit assignments late if needed. About a year or two later I saw her again and she asked about my dad. I told her he had sadly passed away and we cried together. It was so heartfelt and I realized how much she cared.
3rd grade-Mrs Jones. My dad had just deserted us and we were suddenly destitute. She bought my school pictures for us and paid my lunch bill all year. She never said a word about it. Only found out later. Bless her
I called somebody stupid once when they got a question wrong and the teacher instantly made me stand up and spell “stupid” backwards. Got it wrong with the pressure and learnt a lesson that day.
In 1st grade I struggled really hard with reading, I was very far behind where I was expected to be comparatively. I wanted desperately to read this book series called the magic tree house because…magic. She told me I needed to read some easier books at the time and assigned me 3 frog and toad books to read completely through, when I would finish the book I had to tell her what happened and I got to start the next one. Each book took me weeks to get through but eventually I finished all 3. Finally, I got to read the magic tree house books and by the end of the year I had read through book 5 and was incredibly proud of myself.
A week into summer vacation our door bell rings, I get called to the door and to my surprise my teacher is standing at the front door. She said she stopped by to tell me that she was incredibly proud of the progress I made with reading. She then presented me with a gift, she had bought me the 6th book in the series! I was incredibly happy and excited to continue the journey I started.
This simple act of kindness sparked a lifelong love of reading that I have passed on to my own son through the same series and it is something that I will forever appreciate and never ever forget.
In 5th grade I had this teacher who was very… gruff. Most of us didn’t like her because she was such a hardass. Like military style with discipline and homework completion. She wasn’t mean, but she wasn’t nice either.
Then I found out my parents were getting a divorce. I showed up to school one day visibly upset, kinda shaky, and had obviously been crying. She basically grunt rasped “Decidedly-Undecided, hallway. Now.” I was so not in the mood to be scolded and I knew I was a mess… I stomped out into the hallway. She told me she knew what was happening at home, asked me if I was ok, then listened to me sob and break down about how I felt. She gave me a hug and asked if I wanted to spend an hour or so in the library since she knew I loved books and then I could ground myself.
It was so unexpectedly kind. I will never forget it. I found out later she was so gruff and short with us because she’d been teaching for a long ass time and kids are mean. She had some sort of health condition that left her in pain most of the time and she had to use a cane which caused her to hunch a bit. Over the years all the meanness of the kids made her a little hard and cold. But she really did care about her students.
I was anorexic when I was in school. She took me aside after class and told me that if I didn’t stop doing what I was doing to myself I was going to die. That my body was going to start shutting down, my organs would fail, that it would not be beautiful and I was going to die an awful and painful death.
I still catch myself slipping back into that mindset ten years later sometimes. But I will never forget that. She saved my life.
Senior year of high school. I was on the wrestling team and I had cut about 30lbs that year, from 170 down to 140.
I happened to have the same math teacher 3 years in a row so we really got to know each other. First name basis and all that. She knew how much weight I cut for the season, I told her and it was obvious just from my face. I wasn’t fat before my cut either, I had a 6 pack. She had a strict no eating in class policy. That’ll be important in a minute.
The day after the wrestling season ends I walk into math class and sit down. She walks over to my desk and puts a whole apple pie right in front of me (she knew it was my favorite), handed me a fork, and said she’ll ignore the no eating rule for 1 day. I finished that whole pie in maybe 30 minutes.
Linda, I’ll never forget that. You absolutely made my day.