Teachers are responsible for us during our formative years, and how they treat us can make a huge difference in the way we view the world. A kind and receptive teacher can be the difference between hating school and loving it.
From being willing to listen when a student is having problems, to giving a little extra time on assignments here and there, recognizing students as real, individual people helps everyone. If students know that their teacher sees them as people, they are more likely to make an effort in classes or come to the teacher if they're struggling.
Reddit user u/CrimpyThunder66 asked:
My 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Hunsaker was the first person to notice that I was washing my hands a few times every hour and that my OCD was getting out of control causing my hands to crack so bad from the frequent washing that my knuckles were bleeding. She put a bottle of lotion next to the sink in the class room so I could put lotion on my hands after washing and help prevent the dryness. She did countless other nice things, but this one sticks out because it was the first time that I realized what I was doing wasn't normal, and the way she addressed it and other issues I had that no one at home was noticing at the time was phenomenal.
My awesome math teacher bought me a GameCube after hearing me talk about how I was missing a GameCube from my collection. He gave it to me at my graduation and I cried.
I lost my science book. The rule was if you lost your book, you had to pay for it.
I really couldn't afford it.
Teacher just sort of made the issue go away.
Thanks Helen M. wherever you are.
After I achieved some success as an adult, won a few awards, was on a cover of a magazine and appeared on national TV, none of those things mattered to me as much as the letter I got from Mrs. Faulkner, my second grade teacher. She wrote to me to tell me how proud of me she was and included a couple memories of having me in her class more than 30 years ago.
One of my teachers literally went in a dumpster to get back my test that she accidentally threw away!
Wrote me a scholarship recommendation in which he said that no matter how bad his day or week had been, I managed to cheer him up, and that he missed my "quiet resolve to excel." Twenty years later, I still have a copy of the letter, and now it brightens my day whenever I think about it.
As a junior in high school I went through a nasty break up. The girl I had been seeing decided to make it a rather public affair, I guess she had a knack for extravagance. The whole ordeal was a nightmare. F**kers I didn't know wanted to talk sh*t, people I did know treated me differently, and friends with good intentions were so hellbent on telling me how awful she was that it got rather uncomfortable.
My English teacher was the only person who handled it well. She was great, I really respected her, and we got along. See, my expired squeeze's exposé was so widely talked about that every teacher in the school knew. And I knew they knew, which was down right sh*tty. My English teacher asked me to stay after the class. She waited till everyone had walked out of the room, then turned to me. "Girls your age are the worst," she stated, "but ten years from now, that girl is going to look back at you as the best relationship she ever had. And girls better than her will be hoping you notice them." It was the kindest thing anyone had ever said to me. Honestly, those few seconds turned my whole sour attitude around. After that, I didn't give a f**k what my peers had to say about my relationships.
In all fairness we're more than a decade out and that teacher was dead wrong. But she meant well, and in that moment she did make a huge difference for me.
visited me when I was in the hospital.
held me when I cried at a former teachers funeral.
gave me food like every morning when I forgot to eat breakfast
Seriously visit them. They want to know how you are doing.
I was failing school hard a few years ago because I've always had motivation problems, and just never did any homework. A few teachers really stuck by me and encouraged me for a long time, and weren't afraid to kick my ass if I was being an idiot. I ended up passing the year
One of my teachers wrote my college recommendation letters and helped me through most of the process.
My science teacher in high school did the same thing, and wrote a beautiful letter about how I went out of my way to help out others in the course and my genuine curiosity in the world around me and wanting to learn. I've struggled with bullying and anxiety since I was in school and it made me cry.
I keep a copy of it with the letter from my printmaking teacher in college who gave me an A (extremely hard to do in his courses). I'm still in touch with both of them.
On the last day of school I was helping my art teacher clean up for the summer. She knew I was rather poor growing up, so she gave me all the leftover paper, (some really high quality watercolor paper) all of the leftover prismacolor pencils, tons of paint brushes, and other various art supplies.
It was her last year teaching and she didn't care to save the stuff for the next year. She said the school buys all that stuff new every year.
I still miss her. She was the best teacher I've ever had.
Just the other day I tried to buy a bottle of water and didn't have enough money the teacher noticed, passed me the bottle he just bought and bought another
Wasn't even my teacher I don't even know what he teaches.
My English teacher when I was very, very young. She was the sweetest I've ever had, she knew I loved Harry Potter books, they were not super popular in France back then and she did bring me HP-themed colouring books from her trip to England. It made me so happy that she thought about me even though she was away from school !
It's been more than 20 years and we're still writing letters to each other
In ninth grade, one of our classes had us shadow someone in a job field that we were interested in. I can't remember what it was that I was interested in, but my mom for some stupid reason (she never made any sense to me) absolutely refused. I told my teacher for that class, he took me aside in the hallway and told me 'I know you're not bullsh*tting me on this, I understand, so I'm going to give you an 85 for this and we'll call it good'. Mr. Urell, you're a helluva teacher wherever you are. Almost twenty years later I can't remember what job I was interested in but I remember the teacher.
Back in grade 10, I was walking back to school alone at the end of the lunch period. One of my teachers just happened to turn a corner and wind up walking directly next to me on the way back to school.
We had a nice 12 second conversation before realizing that we were going to have to walk for at least 10 minutes in the most painfully awkward silence that's ever existed because I'm awful and can't hold a conversation to save my life.
She instead said "well... See ya" and power walked the ENTIRE way there so she was constantly just out of acceptable talking range for the entire walk. Woman was a hero.
When I told my SAT prep teacher how well I did on the SATs, the pure look of excitement and happiness he showed was probably the nicest thing I ever got from a teacher.
It felt really good to know that a teacher could be that happy for a student and proud to see his work pay off.
I went to a very small school with a bunch of really amazing math teachers and one really sh*tty math teacher (tried to sue a kid for "aggressively swinging his backpack" at her when she threw him out of the class room for something trivial. He had picked up his backpack in a normal manner.)
I was slated to have pre-calc with the terrible teacher the following year and was complaining to my amazing math teacher how much I was dreading her class. So my amazing math teacher offered to teach me pre-calc over the summer so I could skip a year of math and go straight to calc with the amazing teacher.
So once a week each week over the summer I met my amazing teacher in her back garden where we had tea and cookies and she taught me pre-calc. A week before school started I met with sh*tty teacher and took her pre-calc final, aced it, and got to stick with amazing teacher.
I also napped at my English teacher's house once.. .I was running myself ragged with AP classes, school play, at PT job so she let me nap in her spare room between classes.
When I was in the 2nd grade we had this poetry writing assignment that our teacher ended up putting together into a little class booklet. I wrote a couple of poems, but one of them called "There's a Bear in my Hair" really caught my teacher's attention. He pulled me aside after class one day and told me that he really liked it and wanted to enter it into this national poetry competition where it could end up in a book and I could get some scholarship money for college.
It didn't win, but having a teacher compliment my writing and encourage me like that was a huge push for me wanting to become a writer. Here is the poem in case anyone wants to read it. It's pretty dumb and weird, but I still think it's kind of cool to this day.
So...I was actually getting ready to comment about my amazing 12th grade English teacher. We were given a 5 minute journaling assignment each morning, and I adored her and trusted her, so I was always quite honest in my journaling. She took them up at the end of each class period and gave them back out the next morning. As an adult, I now see this as a very sweet way to make sure her students were doing alright. One morning I journaled about my fear that I may have been pregnant—I was 17 years old and had used protection, but the condom had broken and my period wasn't on time. I was terrified. Would my mom kill me, what would this mean for college/my future, was the guy someone who I could realistically raise a child with?
I wrote all of this out, and the following day as we were leaving for our next class, she called me to stay after. My first thought was that I was in trouble or that she was angry with me. She called me to her desk and brought out a pharmacy bag with a pregnancy test in it, went to the bathroom with me, and comforted me from outside the stall while my future passed before my eyes. When I came out crying from relief after seeing the negative results, she gave me a hug and told me to be careful in the future. It was one of the most compassionate things that anyone has ever done for me, and I will always remember Ms. Johnson.
The one teacher I'll always remember: my geography teacher. He was the only teacher who was brave enough to approach me after class and ask what was wrong, instead of just sending me to isolation/detention where I could be another staff member's problem. He knew just what questions to ask, he knew just how to relate my situation to his story or the stories of other people he knew, and he knew just when to transition the conversation from serious topics to more fun topics. And he gave up so many lunch breaks to talk to me about geography and travel.
After being raised in a religious cult by my abusive father and having mistruths about the world drilled into my head which left me cold, hateful, and prejudiced, I believe my geography teacher was single-handedly responsible for sparking my curiosity about the world. He was the one who told me start hanging out at the library after school instead of on the streets. He was the one who got me into reading about other countries and cultures. He was the one who inspired me to start traveling at a young age.
If I hadn't had my curiosity nurtured, I would've never started traveling. If I hadn't started traveling, I wouldn't have experienced such a diverse spectrum of people, places, and perspectives, and I'd have likely remained shackled by the narrow-minded, toxic, hateful beliefs my father and the religion he forced me into instilled in me.
The geography teacher and I still follow one another to this day. I've watched him grow to be a headlining speaker at education conferences and a principal of a school, and he's watched me grow to lead an on-the-road lifestyle which takes me country to country as a designer, artistic director, and writer.