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Think back to your K-12 days. You had A LOT of teachers in those 13 years.


Let's ball park it with some quick math. K-6 you probably had one main teacher, maybe a few more with "specials" like library or gym. That's 3 per year for 7 years, so 21.


Then 7-12 you had about 6 teachers, one for each subject. That's 36 teachers, plus the 21 from earlier makes roughly 57 teachers in all your years at school (not to mention college, if you decided to go, but we won't even count that for now).

Depending on how many years it's been since you graduated high school, you probably only remember a fraction of that list of nearly 60 people.

Which begs the question: why? Why do we remember certain teachers?

Those memorable few were either insanely mean, hilarious, amazing at educating, or just good, genuine human beings. Some Redditors gathered to discuss the most positive memories of teachers, and the exact moments they were solidified as heroes.

ApacheAirCover asked, "What did a teacher do that made you automatically gain respect for them?"

A few Redditors were impressed by the teachers who understood their role as the adults in a room of either children or--even worse--teenagers.

These teachers, in one fell swoop, stepped up as powerful defenders of bullying victims. And they did it with grace and humor.

Joining In 

"When I was in the 1st grade my mother gave me one of MANY really awful haircuts. The first day back at school afterward the kids picked on me horribly. So much that I ran out and hid."

"The principal found me and we went back to the classroom and he asked me to wait outside for a minute while he talked to the class. He then walked me to his office and bought me a Coke."

"The next day - first thing in the morning - we had an assembly with the entire school and he walked up on stage with his head shaved completely bald and talked about bullying and the like."

"Some twenty years down the road he had retired and I ran into him at the local college. Shook his hand and said, 'You probably don't remember me, but...'"

"'Yes I do,' he interrupted and said my name and the event. The man was and is a hero in my eyes."

-- hopgeek

Nipped in the Bud 

"My high school science teacher paused class to rip a student apart for bullying another student."

"Called it out as soon as it happened, in front of everyone, and that bully never went near that other kid again. Will always remember that."

-- Mariospario

How to Take it Seriously While Keeping Things Light 

"10th grade English teacher, huge prankster and joker. He heard one student make fun of another student in a degrading way and proceeded to use the last 30 minutes of class to hold a trial for the punishment."

"The bully was given a week of cleaning the halls after school had let out. Never bullied again."

"This is also the same teacher who made us listen to T Pain while reading Thomas Paine. By far my favorite teacher."

-- NotJackMinnell4

Others remembered the teachers that were keenly perceptive of students' lives outside the school context.

These teachers took it upon themselves to be a resource for when hardships of home-life struck, be it through emotional support or pragmatic assistance.

All on the Same Side 

"It was a professor, but she said she wasn't going to have a textbook for the class. Basically, she didn't respect the textbook representatives trying to take the pharma approach to force kids to buy an $170 access code."

"Instant respect. You just had to show up to the lectures and she'd teach you what you needed to know."

-- enchiladacheese

A Good Background to Have 

"I had a business studies teacher who used to be a mental health professional. So she knew the signs when my depression was particularly bad (for example submitting work at 3am)..."

"...and would always make sure I had eaten and offered me coffee and generally made her classroom a safe space for anyone. Sesstein if you're reading this you're amazing!!"

-- Spooky_ShadowMan

Investing in the Future

"I remember my 5th grade teacher had every student circle one book from the Scholastic book fair flyer."

"When the day came for the fair if you didn't go to the library to purchase that book for yourself, she would buy it with her own money to make sure every student got to take a book home. I wouldn't have had any books of my own if it weren't for her."

-- banhbohap

Don't Fight Nature

"Told us a joke about his name (before we could) and allowed us to eat during his classes 'because kids your age can't help being hungry all the time,' as long as we did it quietly."

"Great guy. His whole attitude made all of us actually pay attention and do our best."

-- Mom_is_watching

Creating Community 

"I had a physical education teacher who organised basketball, volleyball, handball and football tournaments, organised 'olympic games' for the local kids and taught us dancing on weekends."

"On his own. Just for us kids, because we lived in a remote place without many activities and things going on. He was more than a simple teacher."

-- remote_peach

Dedicating Time and Attention

"A math teacher went to the hospital several times to visit a student who had been seriously injured in an accident."

"The teacher offered companionship, free tutoring, and genuine encouragement."

-- Back2Bach

Showing Generosity and Doing it With Subtlety

"When I was a kid we had to purchase these red punch cards to get lunch at school."

"Unfortunately we didn't have that much money so there were times where my punch card would run out and I wasn't able to eat for a while until we got enough money to repurchase another one (why nobody in my family applied for assistance was beyond me)."

"I had one teacher who noticed I wasn't eating every day and she would bring an extra sandwich and offer it to me whenever she saw that. I really didn't understand how kind that was when I was a kid but obviously as an adult That was such an amazing gesture of kindness."

-- sk8erguysk8er

A Few Words That Spoke Volumes

"I moved out of home during high school. It was stressful, to say the least. I started to fall behind in assignments, I would be absent for days at time, I missed tests etc."

"I ended up explaining the bare minimum of my situation to my English teacher, and their response always stuck with me."

"'Just do what you can.'"

"It may not seem like much, but right then and there, for sixteen year old kid who felt like simply living was a burden... it was everything."

-- jodehleh

And of course, we cannot forget the teachers who were exceptionally good, well, teachers. These educators deliberately made sure they did all they could to mentor kids and expand their minds.

Sometimes that meant taking a less conventional route, or even being open to confrontation.

Tough Lessons

"Not take my sh**. I was a pretty decent writer in school; able to pop stuff out pretty quickly that was superficial but sounded good."

"The first time I had a teacher hand my work back pointing out that I managed to compellingly fail to say anything was sort of a slap in the face that I didn't realize I needed."

-- AvogadrosMoleSauce

Focused on the Priority

"math teacher : 'I don't care if you have good grades or bad grades, if you work hard, I will work harder to make you pass.' "

"He worked hard for me; I passed ..."

-- Thesorus

A Mature, Level-Headed Discussion 

"Junior year of high school, English class. We were discussing a story we had read. One student (let's call him Carl,) made a point. The teacher was dismissive and basically said Carl was wrong."

"The next day, after we took our seats the teacher said, 'Before we begin, I was thinking about what Carl said yesterday. I was wrong to dismiss it so quickly. Let's take a look at that again.'"

"He then went on to repeat Carl's point and initiate a conversation with the entire class. After the conversation, it became apparent Carl's point was indeed off base, but I was impressed the teacher publicly owned his mistake and went down the path he should have."

-- Andreas_NYC

Just So Attentive

"I went to a small charter school for middle school. Our English/literature teacher was brand new to teaching, if I remember correctly she was only 22 which seemed old at the time. She always did her best to be so cheerful and make learning fun."

"But the thing that truly solidified her spot as my favorite teacher was that for every student's birthday she would give you a personalized mini notebook."

"It was just a simple small composition notebook but she had filled the first couple pages telling me how much she loved having me as a student, how far she knew I would go, and other affirmations."

"It seems small but as a 13 year old who had a crappy home life it made all the difference in how I acted the rest of the year."

-- Voiceisaweapon

Hook, Line, and Sinker

"Instead of shouting at my loud class for not shutting up before the lesson began, my history teacher decided to quietly tell the story of a pink elephant that wanted to be an astronaut."

"After a few seconds, people started to shut up and listen about the pink elephant. When everyone was quiet and listening, he stopped mid-story."

"As much as it made me respect him.. WHY DIDN'T YOU FINISH THE STORY FFS! THAT CLIFFHANGER!"

-- Cae1us

The Long View

"This will probably get lost, but I want to shout out this teacher of mine. She was our AP English Language teacher for our senior year of high school. On one of the first days in her class, she explained how she went from being a kindergarten teacher to a high school senior teacher."

"She always saw off her cute and happy kindergarten kids, but as they grew up and they came back to visit her, a lot of them came to her troubled and dissatisfied with their lives."

"It made her real emotional about how people had treated these kids she loved so much, how she couldn't afford to see kids so disconnected with life, and how she didn't want them to suffer as they headed out towards college and their adult lives."

"So she changed curriculums and started teaching seniors. If I remember right, it always came down to sending her kids off with a smile, prepping them for the real world."

"I respect the hell out of her and she'll always be one of my favorites. Truly like a mother to all her students."

-- NuluProton

So think back to the handful of teachers you remember from your time in school. There are probably a few mean ones, but plenty of great ones too.

What made them great? What was the moment you knew it?


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