There's a show on Hulu called A Teacher that made me think about the repercussions of a teacher having an illicit affair with a seventeen-year-old student.
While the controversial topic is justifiably subject to condemnation, the show delicately depicted each characters' emotional turmoil and their families in the aftermath.
While many in these types of forbidden relationships don't end well, Redditor Sadebiru was curious to hear from those familiar with the situation and asked:
These Redditors faced immediate disciplinary consequences for their involvement in their respective intimacies, but one suffered emotional trauma for years.
The Trauma Of Being Used
"My English teacher used me as a sperm donor. She slept with me until she got pregnant and then stopped. She didn't even bother to switch schools so I wouldn't know. This was about 50 years ago and it still crosses my mind and bothers me. So the fallout on my side was being mentally messed up for about 4 years and not being able to have a normal sexual relationship for a long time."
Predatory Soccer Coach
"I had a very inappropriate relationship with the assistant soccer coach. His contract was not renewed the next year and I was the subject of gossip, obviously, and labeled the school sl*t by my classmates. It was a very small private school so there was literally no way to keep anything secret. It was only later on I realized he'd taken advantage of me and was, obviously, a sicko who knew I'd fall for the flattery of an older guy the rest of the girls on the team thought was cute."
Sleeping With The P.E. Teacher
"My cousin Adrian slept with the physical education teacher. It was in the mid 1980s, and it right near the end of the school year. She was immediately transferred and he lost his school reference and was suspended for the remainder of the year, which was like four weeks from memory."
"he was no angel. He was an absolute player and he said he has no ill feelings about the whole thing at all. It didn't affect his schooling any further after that and he said he absolutely seduced her, it wasn't the other way around."
Left "Morally Conflicted" About Taking Action
"It was horrible. I was groomed by my English teacher. He said all the right things and I thought I was emotionally mature enough to handle it. I was not."
"I realized when I was 19 how messed up it was and very quietly told the bishop and the Victims of Sexual Misconduct Councilor (catholic school). My worst fear was that it was going to be a big public scandal and I didn't want my family's name dragged through the mud. So he permanently lost his teaching license."
"He is now dating a woman and I want to reach out to her so bad to her to ask if she knows, but at the same time I want that chapter of my life to end. I'm very morally conflicted."
Instead of suffering a fallout per se, the following Redditors reflected fondly back on their romantic affairs.
"Nothing since I was 6 years out of high school by that point."
"We became friends a couple years after I graduated, eventually I told her I had something of a crush on her, she thought it was cute and flattering and sat on it for a while. One day she invites me out and we meet up, have a good time, we leave. Later that night she texts me when I'm work says she's got feelings too and wants to pursue it."
"We go on a couple more dates, see a movie (The Watch for those wondering), make out in her car afterwards like a couple horny teenagers. We do the deed that night, good times."
"Anyway, the age gap was something she couldn't get over, I was 25 and she was 48, different places in our lives with different goals. We still chat though."
The Chinese Teacher
"She was my Chinese teacher at a Confucius Institute, and is almost 10 years older than me, but I always had a minor crush on her."
"When her contract was about to expire and had to leave my country, we went out to dinner. She was leaving for one last trip before returning to China, so this would be the last time I would see her. I decided to take a shot and told her about my crush. We slept together that night."
"There wasn't really a fallout. We are still in contact, but don't really talk about that night."
The following academic flings were either highly erotic or wound up being blissful.
"Too Riskey To Continue"
"A few people found out and gave me sh*t about it, but really not a big deal for me personally. It was obviously more difficult for her. Rumours got back to other teachers who were not cool with it and she had some awkward conversations to navigate with the headteacher. She admitted we saw each other outside of school but denied anything sexual, which they did not seem to believe. She was told never to be alone with me and had restrictions placed on her ability to act as a chaperone on school trips etc."
"It didn't last as it was obvious it was too risky to continue but there was no bad feeling between us."
The French Teacher
"I slept with my French teacher about 5 years after leaving school, she was just as as I'd always imagined."
"Afternoon Office Nookie"
"It was in college, we slept together before we knew I was in her class. It was one of those lecture only classes with like 200 students in it so it wasn't a big deal."
"No fallout beyond some late afternoon office nookie now and then."
"She would text me pictures of what she was wearing under her outfit that day. I miss being young."
"The Best Thing That Ever Happened"
"I started dating the grad student that was teaching one of my undergrad classes, although because I took time off before going to uni and he started early I was actually older than him."
"The uni had rules against the sort of thing, of course. We weren't found out until the spring quarter, at which time we were told to cease and desist, but by the time this happened we were engaged."
"The administration were happy for us (and we were all friends there, the department was like one big family), so instead they told us that for the rest of the year my exams and juries would have to be handled by another professor and that our class sessions would be recorded to be sure there was no funny business or nepotism."
"20 years on, we're still married - it was the best thing that ever happened to either of us!"
In rare cases, some students have glorified their dalliances with teachers and bragged about their conquests among their peers.
Some – as those participating in this thread – expressed the absence of fallout or lack of emotional trauma.
But let's make one thing clear: a teacher having sexual relations with a minor student is considered illegal by the law and court opinion in most states, and children under the age of 18 cannot give consent to sexual conduct.
An improper relationship with a student can lead to a criminal conviction and imprisonment.
Teachers have a TOUGH job.
They mold the minds of the future, and literally provide childcare for 8 hours a day for countless kids all over the place. The profession demands our utmost respect and gratitude.
Fortunately, there are some perks for those who choose the role of educator.
And one of the best bonuses has to be having a front row seat to the truly bizarre things that kids say and do. The not-yet-formed humans of society are a trove of illogical conclusions and confident absurdities.
Lucky for us, some teachers on Reddit filled us in on what's been going on in that classroom.
For some reason, food comes into play quite a lot.
Several responses in the thread centered around the weird behavior that kids exhibit whenever food and eating comes into play.
First Things First
"I had a student who was new to the class and didn't speak English. In his first few days in the class, I looked around and didn't see him. I had a moment of panic but then happened to look down."
"He was sitting under his desk eating an entire ear of corn. He just looked at me and gave me the biggest smile, I had to let the man finish his meal."
Just Going For It
"I have a 'you can eat in my class as long as the food isn't loud. At any time if your food disturbs me or your peers your privilege is gone' policy"
"Most of the time, zero issues. Everyone agrees no chips or anything crunchy is allowed, no cans of soda etc. Most kids have a sandwich or a banana. At worst, a loud apple."
"One kid, well, he didn't break the rule, but it totally f*cked me up. I'm lecturing about whatever, and right there in the front row, this kid is eating an Orange like an apple, peel and all."
"No noise, but I couldn't get over the fact that he was chewing up the orange peel like it was the best part of the orange. I had to stop lecture and literally address him. Like, you eat the peel dude? What the fu-heck?"
"I didn't want to embarrass him or anything, but I could not really let go of it. It was bizarre. Later I learned some cultures are pro peel eating. Weird"
"Not a teacher. It was in 4th grade."
"Somebody came in with a snack and a bottle of hot sauce, and when finished with the snack downed bottle."
Other people focused not on what kids did, but what they said.
Again, children tend to make some strange--and hasty--logical leaps based on very minimal knowledge of the world. This can make for some truly fantastic acts of free association in the classroom.
That's a Fact
"6th grader, who the week prior told me he was getting moved to honors science, stuck a paperclip in a light socket that caused a very short-lived fireball."
"Another time an 8th grader asked, 'when you die, how long before you become a ghost?' Before I could answer, his friend (with the utmost confidence) said, 'yeah, after 10 years.' "
"I couldn't get him to divulge his source for such information"
"Wasn't my class, but had a friend whose entire class stood up and simultaneously said 'butt lickers,' and then they all sat down." -- Douglas_Funny1989
"The hivemind has influenced them" -- The_darter
Where Did That Come From?
"Why must I only pick one? Okay I love this story. I had the kids sitting on the rug completely silent while I was writing the morning message (I teach young elementary).
"Out of nowhere one of my students yells 'ride that bi***.' "
"I was crying, trying so hard not to laugh. I called his mom later and had to repeat what he had said without laughing."
"She said 'where did he learn that?!?! I'm married to a woman". Why are you asking me? I have no idea.' "
"I have like 50 more stories, but that one always makes me smile."
And finally, some interpreted the prompt in the broadest sense. They simply shared the weirdest antics and behaviors to ever grace the four walls of their class.
"A first grade girl was making a tiara during free draw time (I teach art)."
"She apparently couldn't figure out how to attach a strip of paper long enough on the front of the tiara she drew and cut out, so she ended up gluing it to her forehead."
"She was super proud when she showed me."
All Planned Out
"Middle school teacher here. Had a girl come into homeroom, open her backpack, take out a fully inflated balloon (which has taken up a Lion share of the space in her backpack; I don't remember if she had actual supplies with her that day) and began hitting her friend over the head with it."
"I couldn't stop laughing."
At Long Last
"My first year teaching high school, there was this kid who always asked me 'Sir can I throw my chair at the wall?' And I can tell he was serious. The answer was always no."
"Christmas holidays roll around. Him and his friend were the only ones to show up to class. We're last period before end of the day. Bell goes off, 2 weeks vacation."
"He asks again, 'Sir, can I throw my chair at the wall?' "
"... 'ok, you get one throw. Merry Christmas.' (I specified he throw it at a particular brick wall, so nothing was damaged)"
"He put everything he had into it."
More Alarming Than the Rest
"A kid in my class handed me some scraps of paper and asked if I would throw them away. I looked in my hand and saw what appeared to be ripped up money."
" 'Yeah, but it's fake. A kid on the bus was handing them out. He gave me these too,' the young man said as he handed me two very real hundred dollar bills."
"It turns out a kid broke into his parents' safe and stole $1300 of his own family's money so he could hand it out on the bus. This was money that his family was planning to spend on Christmas gifts. This was not at all a wealthy family. Fortunately, it was all recovered."
And so, if you find yourself debating if teaching might be the right career for you, be sure to ask yourself: "Do I enjoy fielding bizarre questions and hanging out with miniatures versions of The Three Stooges all day?"
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As a former teacher, I can tell you that the goal is to always hype up and encourage your students to reach their goals and be their best selves. As a former student, I can also tell you that not every teacher is like this. Unfortunately, there are a handful of teachers out there that use their position of authority to make them feel like they have power. I've seen it happen firsthand, and it's awful.
Sometimes, the people who we depend on for our growth are also the people who hurt our confidence the most. Here are a few examples from former students, who discuss the worst things a teacher could ever say to a growing kid.
It’s insane how full-grown adults can get away with abusing children while getting paid to do it.
Even the other kids knew this was messed up.
I watched this happen to my friend in 7th grade. It was social studies class and my friend was one of those students where the common core curriculum was horribly suited for the way he learned.
One day he asked me if he could borrow a red pen (the teacher was too lazy to grade the papers herself so she'd have us do it at the start of every class)
The teacher caught on to it and literally yelled to me "don't you dare give him that pen." And proceeded to chew him out saying that he was a sad excuse because he was too lazy to remember a simple pen, called him worthless, and told him that he'll go nowhere in life because he can't keep track of simple things.
She spent the first half of the class continuously belittling him to the point where students were asking her to stop. Despite the fact that half the class reported this terrible treatment, she was not punished.
Way to permanently damage a child.bad teacher fighting GIFGiphy
I had a Dutch teacher that used to pick on me always. Once before a presentation she told me that no matter how good my presentation was she wasnt going to give me a grade higher than a 5. I ended up almost having a panic attack in front of the class, told her to go f*ck herself and stormed out of the classroom. Got a 4 eventually.
This is so unbelievably petty.
I was nominated for a place in the Gifted and Talented program at my school. I was 10 or 11, and had precious little that I was proud of, but I could write like nobody's business. I was nominated for writing and was promised that I would not be tested on mathematics (worst subject then and now).
The teacher giving me the exam had a beef with my mom, and presented me with the mathematics test. I told her that I'd been told I didn't need to take it. She said it wouldn't count, just to do it. I did.
I don't remember much else between that moment and sitting in front of the panel, between my parents, silently crying and trying not to make eye contact as I was told I'd done so wretchedly on the mathematics portion of the test, which I wasn't supposed to take, that they were considering pulling me back a grade, and that the nomination had been a horrible mistake and should never have been made in the first place because the Gifted and Talented program was for "students of an outstanding nature and SkepticLinguist just didn't meet our expectations in mathematics." Did I also mention that the teacher who gave me the test was on the panel?
Saw that teacher later on, and she always gave me the smuggest smile before she flounced away. I was kind to her, as that was really all I had going for me at the time, but that messed me up for years, and still keeps me awake at night some times.
Jokes on her, though, I'm a published author now.
Sometimes these things happen in the high school and college world as well, and can be equally traumatic.
What happened to constructive criticism?
I'm an architecture student and in my design class we'd usually have a panel of guest professors to critique on our projects. In one of them a professor just outright said "your design is boring" and that was it, no other comments or suggestions for improvement. I think another panel member noticed and quickly added in a constructive comment to save it. But that moment still hit me and I've lost a lot of confidence in my designs since then.
Why would you assume that?mean girls no food in class GIFGiphy
When I was in high school I had this English teacher that was basically a washed up mean girl in her 50s.
She gave us an assignment about our goals and where we wanted to go after highschool. I wrote about my interest in music. She shot it down and told me that it would never happen, I would be lucky to get a job as a fast food shift worker.
I remember some other time I was casually talking to her and she asked where I lived for some reason. I described it to her and she got all confused, then asked me if if I lived in an actual house. She said she was surprised I lived in a house because she assumed I lived in an apartment or trailer or something.
This is a mess all around.
My mum would not allow a PC in the house, she saw them as the devils devices. (She’s very old fashioned and a bit mad if I'm honest) She was convinced that no high school in the world could demand an essay written on a PC.
One of my teachers asked for an essay and said it needed to be written on a PC and printed out. I tried to convince my mum but she was having none of it. She told me to tell him we couldn't afford one. I straight up did not want to say that because it was a lie and I knew the teacher wouldn't buy it and I knew that regardless, I would be bullied for being poor. I was already being bullied pretty bad at the time due to not having expensive trainers and clothes, so I wanted to avoid adding to the list.
I wrote the essay by hand, in the best possible handwriting, stapled the pages in order like a little book and put it in a little plastic thingy. I did my best.
Teacher ripped it up in front of the whole class and threw it in the bin. He refused to beleive there was a household in the world that didn't own a computer and yelled at me for being a lazy little smart a**. He compared the essay (which he did not read) to a dish rag. The class actually went silent and the bullies actually eased up a bit which I did not expect.
I returned home miserable and angry, told mum what happened. She still refused to allow a PC but conned someone else's mum to let me use theirs. The last was so nice to me and I could tell she felt sorry for me. Mum called her up and said "we are too poor for a PC can my daughter use yours?"
IF WE COULDN'T AFFORD IT I would have been ok with it. But we could. We could have got a second hand ancient little thing with just Word on it. It was just lies and that still irritates the f*ck out of me. And I hate to think what that a**hole teacher put other students in not-so-great circumstances through. More than anything I hate that there are people walking around that thought it was ok to make someone's life miserable because they were (as far as they could tell) too poor to have nice things.
But more than anything, middle school seems like the worst spot for kids getting bullied by teachers. Here are some of the worst cases.
That’s the worst attempt at “motivating” I’ve ever seen.
Oof. Okay. Middle school seems to be universally bad for everyone but my older sister died the same year middle school started for me. Dealing with grief and undiagnosed ADHD + dyscalculia meant I was not a good student. People were decent that first year, but by the new school year and approximately 1-2 years after my sister's death I was being told by one of my teachers that I needed to be over it.
12-13 years old by then, struggling immensely and I can't adequately explain why doing things was hard for me so she just took the bad approach: I needed to stop using my sister's death as an excuse and get my grades up or else I was on the path to repeating 8th grade.
Other teachers were bad there too, with many of them using public humiliation against me having bad grades as an attempt to "motivate" me, but all it did instead was lead me to believe I was a failure.
That one teacher though hurt me so bad. I'm almost 31 now and I am realizing still how much shame I carry over my ADHD, the distrust I have for authority figures, and the fractured confidence I have that I'm capable of doing things. I work full time with a stable job, I have a boss I like working with, and I'm loved and married and have friends, but this still follows me.
That’s not only bullying, but also sexist.sexist laci green GIFGiphy
I was doing poorly in school ~2006 because I was horrifically depressed. My 6th grade teacher took a special interest in "helping" since she knew my sisters so one time she made me stay after class and in a roundabout way accused me of being lazy and said "what will you do if your husband dies? how would you support yourself" and I burst into tears because all of my home issues stemmed from my dad dying from an aneurysm very suddenly the year before.
My grades started drifting even more after that so uh. Thanks Dr. Alexander.
That’s gotta be hard to begin with.
I moved to Germany as a pre-teen, and I didn't speak the language at all upon arrival - had to learn it as I went.
In my second year here, my mother decided to put me in an all-German school. My language skills were still quite shaky, so it was quite difficult. German class was the hardest.
I had this teacher who took a disliking to me for being a foreigner. He would constantly pick on me, and make me repeat things, saying he couldn't understand what I was saying due to my accent.
The cherry on top was when we had an exam, and we had to write an essay on a book we had read in class. I had severely struggled with the book, as it was written in a Berlin dialect - at the time I was barely able to read normal German, let alone a book written in a very heavy dialect. My teacher failed me completely on the exam, saying that I had not understood the task and my spelling and grammar were atrocious. At the time, my mother had a colleague who was a German teacher. She looked over my exam after I had gotten it back and was surprised that he had failed me - I had by no means done brilliantly, but it was still worth a passing grade.
Needless to say, I was devastated and was convinced that my German is terrible and I was no good, and I would never be any good and I simply suck.
Even today I am still a little self-conscious when speaking German, especially in public settings. Which is quite unfortunate, considering that I'm an interpreter...
Why would a child lie about that?
I had a teacher in middle school who would pick on me constantly. One time in the sixth grade there was this math problem and it had this banking term I wasn't familiar with cause you know I was 11 and didn't go to the bank. So I tried to do the problem on context clues and got it wrong.
The next day when she collects the homework she told me how could I get such a simple problem wrong. I tell her I didn't know the meaning of one of the words. She says I'm lying and even if I didn't I should have asked my parents. I told her my parents are immigrants and only my dad can speak English fluently and that he was at work when I wading doing my homework. She says I'm lying again about my mom not knowing too. She berates me some more until I have tears in my eyes.
Overall, as a former elementary school teacher I am getting so angry reading about all of these stories. However, I am of firm belief that if teachers were paid a better wage, we wouldn't end up hiring these kinds of teachers, and see this kind of behavior happening.
Teachers, treat your kids better. They're just small people that don't understand everything yet.
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.
"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."
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."
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."
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."
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!!"
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."
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."
"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."
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."
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."
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."
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.
"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."
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 ..."
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."
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."
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!"
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."
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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Taking a written exam is like deliberately entering a fugue state.
Under beaming fluorescent lights, pen in hand, you flip the paper over and feast your eyes on on of the more stressful inanimate objects out there.
You blast through the questions and give the best answers possible. Hopefully you're prepared and the experience isn't pure panic and quickened breath.
But even if you did prepare it could still happen: you draw a blank.
You stare at a question and you haven't the faintest clue what to say. You stare for minutes, look around at the other poor saps also under the gun, and reread the question roughly 87 times in a row.
You have to write something, anything. And maybe, on the off chance, you'll guess right.
About Sums it Up
"In tenth grade I was taking a test on All Quiet on the Western Front. One of the questions was an essay question."
"It read: 'In as few words as possible, summarize the main theme of the book.'"
"I responded: 'War sucks.'"
"I was correct."
"I was in the gifted program through elementary and high school. With that label attached to me, teachers assumed I was pretty smart (I was a good student as well so I wasn't just riding on the gifted label)."
"Anyway, I had really messy cursive writing."
"Once, for a fill in the blanks question, I didn't know the answer for one space. I had everything else right, so I looked like I knew what I was talking about."
"Well, my writing was so messy that for the one answer where I wasn't sure, I just put a random scribble down. Not even letters - just the unhinged flow of my unguided fingers."
"My teacher just assumed I wrote down the right answer and I got perfect for that section"
Case and Point
"I remember I had a timed essay I had to write about hubris (basically just a high ego) in some books. (I believe Frankenstein, Lord of the Flies, and Twelfth Night)."
"I had the hook line just be, 'This is the best essay ever written in the entire world, containing the best grammar, the best evidence, and the best analyses.' 'That sentence right there, is hubris.'"
"The title was also 'The Best Essay Ever.' I got probably my best essay grade then, somehow."
"Jim is making cakes and he has 1050 grams of butter. Each cake needs 25g of butter so how many cakes can he make?"
"None. He doesn't have any other ingredients to make the cakes."
Equal Parts Valid and Snarky
"Music exam. 'Name similarities and differences between these two pieces of music'"
"Two Audio files are played to the room"
"I write, 'both make me want to stab this pen in my ears' instead of the expected analysis of structure and musicality."
"I get the exam back with one mark on that question and the note, 'valid opinion bassed comparison, but do try to be more polite next time'"
"We were doing an exam in 8th grade and I couldn't think of a single piece of evidence (personal anecdote, quote, historical example, statistic, etc.) to add to my essay."
"So what did I do? Make one up."
"I believe my quote was along the lines of 'something something climbing the ladder of success something something the rungs are made of your goals -unknown ancient Roman author.' I thought for sure I was going to fail."
"At lunch the teachers called me into the lounge."
"I thought oh sh**. I'm in trouble."
"Turns out they called me in there to discuss that I got a perfect score and said they were all talking about my essay all day and that it was the best one they'd ever seen. I was in shock."
"Then the dreaded moment came. 'Where'd you get that quote from??'"
"'Uhm... I made it up because I thought I was going to fail' I thought my a** was gonna be sent home or something but instead they all just laughed. It would've been funny to me too but my anxiety said no."
Ahead of Their Time
"In a human biology test, there was a question that asked what viruses were useful for. It was meant to be a trick question, and the answer was meant to be that they weren't useful for anything."
"I wrote that they might be used to cure genetic problems."
"And they are. Now."
"I was right, they were wrong, I want my point."
A Fellow Fan
"There's a Calvin and Hobbes strip where he answers a question like 'It would be against my religious principles to answer this question.'"
"I wrote that under a question that I was baffled by. It was not valid, but the teacher knew the comic and threw me a half-credit on it."
"Had to do a German verbal exam. Learned a few handy phrases to bail me out - so near the end after muddling through I had a question I just didn't understand a word of."
"So busting out my final piece I confidently responded (in German) 'That, is a stupid question'"
"The examiner paused, then laughed out loud, said something I took to mean 'yes I guess it is' then scribbled something on her paper."
"Never did find out what the question was."
"Back in middle school, there was a kid in my religion class who developed a stupid strategy."
"Every time he didn't know the answer to a question on the tests, he would write 'God is always the answer.' It hurt me to see him have that work more than twice."
Just as Long as High School Class Period
"'What was the duration of the shortest war in history?'"
"I wrote '40 mins' on impulse, partly as a joke."
"I was right."
"During the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896, the East African island state Zanzibar fought back against the British Empire. The fighting began at 9 a.m. on August 26 and ended by 9:40 a.m., making the world's shortest war a mere 40 minutes long."
"We had a teacher who always said 'write something.'"
"My friend wrote 'something' and got half credit and a smiley face."
"In college, in a logic class - the very difficult question started out with 'In your opinion........' I answered that I did not have to complete the question as my opinion is personal to me and therefore not open to judgement in an exam."
"I got full credit."
Way Too Fun for Hepatitis
"I wrote 'hepatitis is a virus that will make your liver quiver. It can travel through your blood like a salmon swims up river.' On a short answer portion of the exam."
"I thought I was bombing that exam so by the time that question came along I was like meh might as well have a lil fun. I ended up getting an 88! Way better than I thought I would."
"I wrote my entire AP US History essay on 'Henry Truman' instead of 'Harry Truman' and still got a perfect score."
"I was shocked and to this day wonder if the grader actually didn't catch the mistake or if they allowed it because the rest of the essay was accurate. Shrug"
The Historical Figure Approach
"Went to a Christian high school and we were all required to take this one biblical class. One of the assignments was writing an essay on 'Who Jesus is to us.'"
"As an atheist, I knew I should have made something up but I decided to write about how he was just another carpenter in history to me."
"Thought for sure my hardcore Christian teacher was going to fail me or give me the minimum to past."
"Ended up with an A."
It's Tough Out There
"In 9th grade English we were supposed to read the book 'The most dangerous game' I being a slacker of course did not read it and didn't have time to get the spark notes version before we had to write an essay on it."
"The question was 'In your opinion what is the most dangerous game?'"
"I wrote a two page paper about Ice Hockey."
"My teacher said that technically i wasn't wrong because it was an opinion question but clearly i hadn't read the book."
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