Kids start going to school from the age of five, and for the most part, they spend more time at school than at home. Because of that, teachers can become very important figures in the lives of their students.

Some students don't have the best home lives. Some keep it to themselves, but others confide in their teachers.

Curious about various situations, Redditor Delicious_Mastodon83 asked:

"teachers of reddit what is the saddest thing you found out about a student?"

In Need of Parents

"Not a teacher but was a school-based therapist. Had a student (7 -8 y/o) I didn’t know knock on my office door and ask if I’d adopt her and “if you have room, my brother too, but if not, that’s ok, we can be split up. We’re split up now. And I don’t take up space. I just need a sleeping bag”. Broke my heart."

– secretkpr

Heartbreaking, But Industrious

"My mom taught at a school in a bad neighborhood in Chicago in the mid 90’s. There was a second grader that would save his milk and ketchup packers from lunch for his mom so she had something to eat when she got home from work."

– PowerstrokeMe

Big-Hearted Mom

"Not a teacher but a parent with a 9 year old son. Every day I pack extra in my sons lunch because he tells me he has a friend that never has anything to eat. It's winter and my son came home and told me his friend was turning up with shorts and shirt and holes in his shoes. So I sent in a jumper and long pants for him to wear and some slightly used but good condition shoes. I have been up to the school recently and the teacher pulled me aside and thanked me profusely for helping this child. Apparently teachers are not allowed to aid kids they teach here in Australia and they have already reported the issue 3 times to child welfare without results so I was the only one helping this child. The teacher told me before I started sending in more food and clothes, this child would steal others food from their lunches and look through the bins because he was so hungry. They doubt he gets fed at home. So now I make sure to always send an extra lunch and some school clothes/supplies when I can. I can only hope child welfare eventually does something but it breaks my heart."

– spetzie55

Amazing Big Sister

"It was right after winter break and before class started I was just talking with some students and asked if they got anything fun for the holidays. One girl said on no, I don’t ever get presents, my mom is a drug addict. But I went out and got some stuff for my little sister so that she can have a real Christmas."

"She just said it so matter-of-fact. She was so used to being the parent to her little sister that she didn’t even care about her own childhood. It totally broke my heart."

– tonydanzascaulk

The Importance Of Human Affection

"Second hand story from my mom, elementary teacher for 30ish years. She had a hug or a handshake out the door policy, just some small contact and a proper goodbye, and had this young boy who always picked the hug. She wondered why he always went for it, most kids would go back and forth depending on their mood that day, so she asked him why he was always so excited for the end of day hug? His answer, "It's the only one I ever get.""

– needsawholecroissant

Coming Out The Other Side

"Two teenage boys (16/14) with learning disabilities were on my caseload, they never missed school but often ditched class. They were homeless mid-year after they went home from school to find the locks changed, their Mom had abandoned them for a new boyfriend. She didn't leave an address for them to find her."

"*Edit: both eventually dropped out, however a couple of years later the younger brother came back to visit. He and his brother were both working construction, and his brother had gotten married, had a child, and was living with his wife’s family."

"The younger had roommates and was saving for a car. He told me it was a shame I didn’t have kids, because I would make a good Dad."

"People often persevere, even with the odds stacked against them."

– Kursch50

True Parentification

"Not me but my daughter is a teacher, she has lots of stories but one that stands out for me is one of her kindergarten kids saying she was tired and her asking why, the little girl explained that she had been up all night with her mums newborn baby. She did this every night, fed her bottles and everything."

– lb47513343

​Luckily, He Was Resilient

"This year I had a 17 year old kid enroll at my school. He was sitting in my math class and I could tell he was struggling. After class I took some extra time to go over a concept with him. I asked him to read the question to me, and he sat there silently. He then looked at me and said “I’m not going to lie to you, I cannot read. I have no idea how to say these words""

"Turned out at age 17 he was illiterate and had been kept out of school by his very religious, controlling parents. Over the past few months he has worked very hard! Now he can finally read at an 8th grade level and he is STILL improving!!"

– User Deleted

Ashamed Of His Pain

"im 16 and one time i had to watch 3rd graders for a test & one of the kids there told me to turn on the ac so i turned it on and told him to take off his jacket (it was hot in may) he gave me a sad look & said no, after their test i went out & asked him why does he look sad and if there’s something wrong, i also got him chocolate so he can be a little happy he then took off his jacket and told me “i don’t like how my arms look they hurt me and ik it will be worse by tonight” his arms were all bruised & he had many scars so i asked if someone is doing this to him he said his mom hates him at night and loves him in the morning then cried hysterically it broke my heart sm i then told the principal & their parents got divorced. He lives with his dad now and i see them sometimes after school."

– Due-Importance-807

Thankfully, She Survived This

"Saddest thing I found out about a student:"

"This 9th grade girl already had a 1-year old child. She told me that the father of the child was her own dad. She had been molested for many years. The dad is now in jail. Shes doing better, she goes to church and is surrounded by a good community. But she always live with this child."

– blamegenetics

Hard To Even Imagine

"That he was living in a tent in the middle of the jungle. He was bit by a snake once. Also, in the two weeks he didn’t go to school due to Christmas break, he wasn’t able to shower for that long and he broke out in sores.

He is deaf and his sign language is progressing so he couldn’t really communicate his troubles to us. I remember giving him toiletries to take home and he would just beam with joy as he stuffed them in his bag."

– fujicakes00

Broken System

"I'm not a teacher, but my mother worked at a lower end of town at a CDC (special needs) room. There was this one girl, about 7-10 I think, and she had a 2–5-year-old brother. The little brother was basically being taken care of by the sister. The little boy had parents that wouldn't care about him, and just watch TV all day. My mother was basically seeing that this special needs girl was helping out her little brother, while the parents watched. The girl was as sweet as an angel, and was just very nice."

"My mother favored her, and always took care of them, and always spoiled them in anyway she could due to their home life."

"My mother got a call about 4-9 months after the girl had come to school. It was simply horrible, the girl had "accidentally" fallen down the stairs and was killed. It was salt to the wound how STUPIDLY OBVIOUS that she was pushed down the stairs, and was hit and abused. CPS did nothing, as far as I am aware, nobody has been jailed. It has been 1 year since that incident, and I still don't know what happened fully."

– Hot_Chocolate_Boi53

Suffering Privately

"Just had a student tell me last week that their birth mom died of a heroin overdose last year but that they don’t feel anything about it because she wasn’t in their life."

"After the conversation she walked away and disappeared behind a tree. After about 4 minutes she came back out acting as if she didn’t just duck out to deal with whatever just happened to her emotionally."

"It broke my heart."

– among_apes

Absolutely Horrifying!

"I'm not a teacher but my wife is. She recently told me about one of her students who, when she was a young child, found her mom decapitated in her bed. Although the girl thinks her father may have had something to do with it, no one was ever arrested."

– blackthunder00

Luckily, She Thrived

"Not a teacher but volunteer as an instructor in a youth organisation."

"We had a 14 year old female who was always clean. Well kept and happy, then we suddenly noticed a change. Transpired that her parents had kicked her out and she realised that as the building we used was only ever used 2 nights a week she could live there without being noticed. She was living alone in the building for 2 months before we figured it out."

"Instantly got her help and into care. Still speak to her now she’s in her 30’s, successful and married."

– english_muppet

Breaking Bread With Someone In Need

"I have a student who is currently living on his own in an apartment his parents pay for. It may not sound too bad but all his parents pay for is the rent. As far as food, clothing, emergencies, etc. his parents left him on his own to figure out. I try to share my food with him as much as possible and bring snacks for him when I get the chance since he currently has no food at home. Both breaks my heart and pisses me off."

– screaminpanties

Teachers Really Do Make A Difference

"I’m not a teacher, but I had a teacher in junior school who really looked out for me. I had to grow up fast and deal with a lot of shit. He really helped me and I believe helped me on the path I am on today. Without his support, I’m not sure what I’d be doing. Now I have a daughter, a good career, working towards a degree in mechanical engineering, my own house etc. I consider myself fairly successful and hold him responsible for shaping me at s young age"

– FalseSeaworthiness45

He Was Finally Seen

"One of the kids in the class I supported in was adopted and after being adopted said to his foster parents “you can see me?” - he thought he was invisible because his biological parents just ignored/neglected him so much. Heartbreakingly sad."

– Cyclingnightmare

Hopefully, He Did Make It

"I taught a traumatised 10 year old boy who had been so emotionally abused and neglected that it took almost two years for him to learn that I actually cared about him.

He told me so much f*cked up sh*t. (I’m a mandated reporter so I followed policy but he had already been removed from his parents). He single-handedly raised his younger brother from birth. His younger brother is profoundly deaf and so had no language because my student couldn’t teach him English or sign language. My student didn’t know what to feed the baby so he would give him rice that he had soaked in cold water to soften. His parents would sometimes not look at or speak to him for weeks because he couldn’t make the baby stop crying. So much more sh*t that made me sob on the way home from work every day.

Such a great kid too. Sweetest and funniest little dude. Angry and developmentally behind, but who wouldn’t be after that kind of life? F*cked up by the worst humans I’ve ever met. I have high hopes for him though. I think he is going to make it."

– Longjumping_Tea_9549

A Heroic Teacher

"I worked in an inner city charter school. One of my students (`M10) had a sib (M8) in a lower grade. The mom was there every day in the beginning of the year encouraging them, helping them and generally being very supportive... until a CPS agent spoke to me asking about her behavior. After CPS left things went downhill. The boys showed up late to class even though they lived a half block away from school. When in school both boys were tired from sleeping in the car while their mom "went fishing". She also had two very young girls which she dragged around making the boys take care of them. One day the boys didn't show up and their teacher walked over to the house to find the mom had loaded up the fridge, paid the rent for the month and abandoned them. The teacher (a candidate for sainthood btw) took them in, adopted them and grew them up to be great men."

– mopedarmy

This is really heartbreaking stuff! Luckily, teachers aren't just another adult in your life; they can be your saving grace as well.


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