Teaching is truly a noble and essential profession. If 2020 has taught parents anything it's that. And what is most missed is the connection, the face to face that develops between educator and pupil. That connection is something that can sustain and make change. For the good or bad. Teachers meet and greet a countless number of students over the years. So it's aways fascinating to find out which faces among the many stood out.

Redditor u/Jade-Spade was hoping the educators out there would be willing to share some tales about pupils that have lasted in the memory and why by asking.... Teachers of reddit,what student will you never forget?

Say it Again

Teaching ESL in Taiwan I joked with a young student and told him I was hungry. Not knowing I speak Chinese he responded with "chi da-bien!" Which translates to "eat sh*t."



A wonderful young man who was killed in a car accident back in early June 2020. He was in his Grade 11 year.

Took him under my wing in Grade 9. Worked on his impulsive behavior, colorful language, anger management and questionable life choices. By Grade 10, he was a mentor to incoming Grade 9s that had similar issues as himself. In Grade 11, he was a leader here in the school, volunteering, joined the Arts community and held down two after school jobs.

We shook hands everyday, he'd bring me coffee, his last text to me said: "Life is beautiful, man" and he had recently told me that he wished that I was his dad.

He wasn't wearing a seatbelt coming home from one of those jobs. He was killed instantly after being ejected from a car he was a passenger in. My commute to and from work everyday passes by the exact spot he was killed.

Miss you, Edward.


Several Memories

The Good

I teach English as a foreign language and had a class of middle school students who needed to use sequential words (First, Next, Then, etc.) to describe making something as part of their end-of-book test. Most students used the example presented in the book on how to make a sandwich. Some were creative and write about how to make a hamburger instead. One boy raised his hand and asked if he could write about a computer game.

"As long as you follow the instructions, I don't mind."

Ten minutes later he asked for a blank sheet of paper. Whereas everyone else answered the question with four or five short sentences this particular student wrote two and a half pages on how to make a house in MineCraft -- creating tools, assembling material, avoiding enemies, etc. One of the most impressive things I've seen from students at that level.

The Bad

A boy who couldn't seem to keep his hands to himself. He would occasionally punch other boys in the arm, flick girls in the head. The troublemaker was eventually kicked out but not before his mother came to complain that her son was an angel and I was obviously making everything up.

The Weird

A fifth grade girl joined my class and on her very first day - after everyone else had left - walked up to me and slid a folded-up piece of paper across my desk.

"Teacher, this is my phone number. Call me any time."


Big Mike

Big Mike.

I'm a HS science teacher in an affluent suburb. We get this transfer kid in who is about 6'8", 350, long thin Hulk Hogan mullet (not bald tho) and big glasses. Mike hailed from the hollars of Kentucky, thick southern accent, and was the most quotable kid I ever met.

"I hate books Mr. xxxxx they PISS me off."

"My grandma made me sleep on the porch because she cooked some veggies and I told her dang it woman where's the meat?!"

"I ain't never seen a pencil like this. Can I keep this and show my dad?" (Talking about a regular mechanical pencil)

"They threw me out of Golden Coral because I ate 8 of them steaks they had. I was pissed, next time I'm trying for nine."

And we were supposed to have a fire drill at like 1:55 or some odd time, at 1:57 he went ahead and pulled it honest to god thinking he would help out whoever forgot.


The Carny

I taught GED classes in a local prison to the mens SAP program. These weren't violent offenders, they were just addicts that got caught up.

Totally the most rewarding position I have EVER had in education. Seeing those men get their GED was incredible. One old man, he was a carny that traveled the US his entire adult life, never made it past 8th grade, got his GED right before the virus shut everything down.

He came and found me in my classroom and hugged me like a brother and thanked me. I still remember his full name, he made that much of an impression on me. He was due to get released a few weeks later, I really hope he's doing well....


The Good Soul

I had a kid, 16, total addict. Really rough childhood. He'd come to school high or drunk and we would send him home. Nice kid, always respectful and just had "a good soul." One day he was all sorts of messed up and I pull him out of class. I told him that I loved him and I was worried and if he kept this up he would more than likely be dead by 30. He freaked out and ran to the principals office and complained that I had just told him that I loved him and cared about him. Principal said "Well, maybe he loves you and cares about you."

We kicked him out of school after we had to.

He got sober. He came back to track me down. He grabbed me and started sobbing. He said when I said I loved him it was the first time and adult had said that to him and he believed it.

He has stayed sober for years, went to college, and is doing really well as a nurse now.


The Shock Dummy

I had a junior (~16 years old) in my high school science course last year peel the strip of metal off the side of a ruler and proceed to stick each end of it into an outlet and shock himself. I saw the sparks out of the corner of my eye and he jumped up and his arm was in some significant pain. He said he did it because he wanted to see what would happen. Scientific method in action I guess. I will never forget that dummy.



excited dwayne johnson GIF Giphy

I teach at a prison.

The first inmate I had graduate under my teaching cried when he looked at his diploma. He was the first in his entire family to graduate. It was quite the accomplishment and I was very moved.



Joseph. I taught (read: tried to teach) Joseph science for two years so I wasn't exactly blind to his, uh, limitations; but he really did surprise me when we began our unit on the Universe.

We watched a short video about the life of a star and then I lead a class discussion and we talked about our sun and how small our solar system is and all of that fun stuff.

At some point it dawned on Joseph that the Sun is a star and would go through a life cycle like any other star does, and he starts to lose. His. Freaking. Mind. (It's not much going on up there though, so I am not too worried about long term effects).

He suddenly has SO many questions. "Wait so we're gonna get burned alive????" "How much time do we have?!?!" "How come nobody has said anything about this before?!" And this isn't like when middle schoolers ask dumb questions for attention, this kid is freaking grabbing his hair and squirming in his seat totally scared.

So I go "no, Joseph this isn't going to happen for a looooong time, we won't be here by then"which does not help the situation.

All that poor kid was doing was minding his business, and doing the least academically up until now. I threw his entire existence in his face (accidentally, I'm not a monster) and he had to take a minute outside in the hall to figure stuff out after that.

Joseph did not pass the 8th grade that year. :/


Tiny Dancer

spin turn GIF by New York City Ballet Giphy

Dance instructor. Student had one hemisphere of her brain removed as an infant and she was paralyzed on one side.

She said that she wanted to dance because she wanted people to see that she wasn't ashamed of her body. After months and months she finally managed one spin around. The other instructor cried, I cried, she cried. It was freaking incredible.


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