Teachers Explain Exactly Which Things They'd Like To Change About The Education System
It is no secret that the education system, especially in the USA, is broken and neglected.
Kids are held to one standard of greatness while coming from uneven backgrounds. Standardized tests crush students' hopes and dreams and make them believe they are less-than on a daily basis.
Teachers aren't even required to care about teaching to teach. Schools are understaffed, under-funded, and sad.
Here were some of those answers.
Failure Is An Important Tool
Students should be allowed to fail.
Absolutely. You can't learn from your mistakes if they're never seen as mistakes.
Destroying Good Teachers
My mom is a high school teacher in the US. The biggest problem (at least in her school district) is the administration not focusing on the students, and pushing for making the district look good. So to answer the question: I would add more checks and balances to the district administration to force them to do what is best for the students.
A few years back, the board in my mom's district decreased teacher funding, but the superintendent's salary got a big boost which put him over $200k.
Half the actual course material has to be tossed so half the year can be used to teach students how to pass the standardized tests.
The past few years they have been having an issue with the administration forcing the teachers to pass the students to make the district numbers better. I'm not talking about bumping up a 60 to a 70, I'm talking about passing students who have not turned in a single assignment the entire year and turn in all their tests blank.
The current Corona rules for remote schooling are as follows: If they made contact with the teacher at some point, minimum grade of 70. Take the best score out of the 2 halves of the year (students use this to do no work in the second semester since they passed the first semester).
Every year has been getting worse according to her. More and more high school seniors can't do basic multiplication. More students getting aggressive and yelling at teachers mid class and not being held responsible. I should mention, this is not a low income town, it is full of middle and upper middle families.
My mom loves teaching, she has been doing it for over 30 years. But it has gotten to the point where she just wants to retire asap so she can escape the drama.
Rights Out The Window
I'm only a substitute teacher, so I'm not sure if my opinion is relevant, but here it is:
For classes that have special education students in them for mainstreaming, I'd make it mandatory that a para-educational professional (aide) be assigned to that student, and the teacher should receive an extra stipend for each of those students that they have in the class. Because while it can be rewarding to teach such students, it is a lot of extra work, and should be compensated.
I'd also consider more intervention for kids who act up in class. I'm referring to kids who actively don't want to learn, and are disrupting class by choice on a continual basis -- I'm NOT referring to kids that have an IEP or disability that gives them a logical reason for behavior issues. If there are kids who have disengaged, we need to find out why. If they have a destructive home life, maybe the school can initiate some community outreach from social services. But if the kids are doing it just to amuse themselves, they should be pulled out of class, and if it's a chronic problem, maybe homeschooled or something -- because they are violating the right to an education of the other 29 students in that class. Just my opinion.
Side note: I've subbed for over a dozen different elementary schools, and I've noticed that the schools that have very active principals tend to have fewer behavior problems.
Higher Ed Is A Business
College professor here: I don't think people realize how bad the adjunct system is in higher education. In fact, I don't think most people even know what an adjunct is. Long-ish post below for those who want details but the TL;DR is that most college classes now are being taught by overworked, underpaid part-timers while full time faculty are slowly getting squeezed out of the system and this represents a severe threat to everything higher ed is supposed to stand for:
For a whole host of complicated reasons, full-time faculty can't teach every single class that's needed in a given department, so some part-timers are necessary to fill in for extra classes or to teach highly specialized courses that may only be offered once a semester. These part-timers are called adjuncts. In a healthy academic environment adjuncts only make up a small portion of the college faculty (say 25-30%) and are often either professionals in the field teaching college as a side-gig, retirees looking to keep themselves busy or something along those lines, and they are well compensated for their work.
Outside The USA
UK, inner-city London school, deprived area. My views are:
Staff aren't treated as professionals or trusted to do their job. Curriculums are too rigid. Schools are engineered towards exams rather than encouraging genuine passion for education and building robust social skills.
Teachers are held to account for poor exam outcomes, which defies ALL logic. Too many holes to jump through and excessive marking for staff with lack of planning time, so lesson quality is often poorer than staff aspire for. Too many useless and overpaid middle-managers and senior leaders who justify their existence by creating more work for everyone else. Academisation needs to be absolutely obliterated (we are in the 3rd poorest borough of the country where over half of all kids live in poverty and our Academy Trust CEO somehow justified taking home a quarter of a million pounds in his pay packet every year purely because Academies can determine their own pay structure to some extent. Literally "taking food from the mouths of babes").
Teaching Assistants are underpaid and undervalued but essential for large classes with students who have complex needs. Class sizes are too large so children get neglected. Schools are becoming miniature welfare states responsible for teaching, child protection and social services, feeding, toilet training, policing and parenting kids and not enough responsibility is being pushed back onto parents or kids themselves (especially teenagers.)
I can probably think of more... but I will stop there.
As I understand it, schools are funded based on property taxes of the town/area/neighborhood they're in. This leads to poor areas having underfunded schools. Maybe they should be pooled at the state or federal level and then divided among schools on the basis of number of students enrolled or something along those lines. Every child in the country should have access to the same teaching resources as every other child.
I realize throwing money at the problem isn't going to fix all the problems, but it seems like the best place to start.
It's All Practical Applications
People working for the state and national level education agencies (ie TEA, Department of Education) should be required a few times a month to go work in schools. Not just the high income private type schools, but also the Title 1 schools. It would also be reasonable for them to visit different school districts, again to get a fair picture of what is going on.
Over and over again you have people making decisions for schools they don't understand. They say things make sense on paper, but they don't see the impact it has in a classroom setting. I think that having them visit or better yet teach lessons to these kids will help keep them connected to what is truly going on.
Dick And Jane Are Bored
In English, a reform of the English spelling system would be most impactful. It would shave 2 or 3 years of "literacy" (decoding) "learning" (memorizing disguised as useless and boring games, useless and boring songs, useless and boring activities or Dick-and-Jane reading). In lieu, more crucial subjects (ethics, finance, relationships,...) could be learned and could be learned independently (since learners would be able to read anything that they like). Imagine the increase in motivation and interest. I doubt any educational reform could have more of an impact on so many learners (native or not) and especially on the lower socio-economic groups. Prove me wrong.
Socialize The System
The US does not have a system of schools. We have a multitude of systems. Some of them are even pretty good! On international standardized tests, however, all of these different systems average out to a middling result. I think these two points are fairly achievable and would help most, if not all school systems.
- Even out the wildly divergent levels of local school funding. Ideally by bringing underfunded schools up.
- Shorten the amount of time teachers spend with students. Teachers spend 6 to 7 hours a day with students. That leaves a pretty small slice of time (always at the end of the day when you are exhausted) to grade, write lesson plans, contact parents, receive training, or even just stop to reflect about what went well or badly. That all combines to cause burnout, poor performance, and an inability to improve your craft.
Ultimately though, I don't think US schools will show major improvements until a robust social safety net is in place.
Stinky Socks Is MY President
So much. For one thing, I would prioritize education over sports. Even now, I'm still salty over the fact that my senior year in high school, they cut electives and got rid of those teachers so they revamp the sports teams. Also, if you've never taught in a classroom, you are unqualified to make decisions regarding educational policies. Looking at you, admins. And lastly, no more catering to parents. Your kid doesn't do the work, too bad. They fail. And no, "stinky socks" was not the first president of the US. You are so not getting credit for that.
How We Fund Schools
Allowing students to fail and retake things. I think its important for kids to learn from their mistakes and then apply their new learning to the same task. Thats how it works in real life.
We learn a lot more from failure then we do with successes.
I also think that funding shouldn't be based off of the average family income in the area. This puts kids in low income housing at a HUGE disadvantage when in reality, they probably need the funding the most.
It's Called RACISM Kids
All teachers should have mandatory ESL and/or diversity education courses. I'm an ESL teacher (and black) and I can't tell you how many times I've had to coach a teacher through making content accessible for her one or two English language learning kiddos, or that their focus on the two black girls in the class who spend all recess teasing each other are not bullying/being aggressive.
The stereotypes that come out of even well meaning teachers is difficult to deal with. Like when a black student enrolls and the teacher finds out just mom is in the picture. "Oh, that poor soul, no dad. Again." Um no, you have never met this kid please stop. Or assuming all immigrant students and families from Asian backgrounds are easier to deal with than immigrant students and families from Latinx or African backgrounds. I taught in a city with a high Somali population and heard teachers talk about teaching at Somali charter schools and how those Somali boys are just so aggressive and they fight all the time and are so violent. Guess which kids got the cops called on them by teachers/admin the most, or were labeled as ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) or EBD (emotional behavior disorder). Special education labeling is highly racialized.
Educated people are not always very educated.
It Should Not Just Be Its Own Reward
Was a teacher for 7 years. Pay teachers more, and trust them with freedom. That's all. So many great teachers left because they couldn't afford it, and so much testing and accountability slows the good ones down.
It's not a prestigious position so there isn't competition for it.
You end up with only people who really wanted to teach and have a passion for it (awesome) and people who couldn't make it in their field (not awesome).
Our society doesn't value teachers like they should, and a lot of that issue would be fixed by paying them more (some kids respect people just for making money, the profession would attract better people and that would increase respect as well).
Also more freedom. Having so many restrictions and so much testing might be good for worse performing teacher but it is bad for strong teachers.
My last years was my first making more than the average McDonald's manager in my state, and it was close. We were planning on a third kid, I had lost my passion, and I was tired of not feeling valued by the system, respected, and safe. Now I build websites for double the pay.
Too Many Hoops To Jump Through
Quit with the endless paperwork. I spend more time on proving what I've done than the actual teaching itself. Endless goalposts shifting and duplication of paperwork (too many managers who need to justify their jobs/creating more shit to do). I just want to teach English to people who struggle.
Also, in the area I work in, the requirements of professional memberships etc can really add up. What for? So I'm a member? What does that do to help me in the classroom? Obviously I can claim them back against my tax, but it's the time and effort to jump through all the necessary hoops drives me insane.
Don't even talk to me about GDPR training, H&S training (and all the others) that need doing for EACH provision I work for. Updated every year. There is always something I need training on - that doesn't improve my CPD/overall knowledge, but just wears me down and bores me to death. Rant over.
Not a teacher but I'm training to be a teacher and I would eliminate all those standardized tests and replace them with tests that are like the ones done in the classroom already and are once a month this would eliminate so much stress for not only the children but, also the teachers.
Ten Steps Back
You would stay with one teacher for each tier of schooling.
One of the biggest issues is, every class might as well be a fresh start. You have a curriculum, sure, but every year is a gamble of how much foundation the previous class actually got and how much of the year will be review of things they should already know.
You could get so much more done if teaching a class was a continuous process with a consistent source of information rather than rolling the dice on who had Ms. Lewis or Mrs. Guerrero last year.
Reddit user Aesthetik_1 asked: 'What made you instantly realize This "friend" is not a real friend?'
A good friend is not always the one with whom you share laughs and fun experiences.
The friendships you want to keep include those who won't abandon you in a time of need or someone who supports you in a variety of complicated situations where not even a family member can be relied upon.
Unfortunately, many of us have experienced a time when a person's true colors revealed to us that the so-called "friend" we've always trusted wasn't one at all.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor Aesthetik_1 asked:
"What made you instantly realize This 'friend' is not a real friend?"
These Redditors didn't realized at the time that they were being used.
"When he only called me when he needed something. It didn't hit me until much later."
"I have one of those 'friends'. She always gushes about how we're friends but she never initiates contact unless she wants me to do something for her."
The Errand Girl
"Several years back, I had a friend who introduced me to this new boy she was seeing. Maybe a year later, their relationship blew up in a fury of bs (whole other story), but by the time they split, I was equally friends with both of them. He and I were both photographers at the time, so the friendship was instantaneous."
"One day we started talking about her, neither positively nor in poor taste, just kind of in general."
"He then asked me 'when she texts to hang out, what does she usually want to do?'"
"I paused. I thought. Holy sh*t, she'd either be asking for a favour or for help with some kind of errand. I was her f'king errand girl."
"She texted me a month or two later, just a 'hey'. I never responded. She never texted again."
"I'm still friends with her ex, though. That dude is genuine as heck."
Testing The Friendship
"When you decide to let them be the one to reach out. And you never hear from them again."
"Yup. Made plans with a friend three times, she cancelled each time. I finally told her to let me know when she was free, we haven’t hung out since."
"She was a good friend for the season, but not a lifetime."
People were shocked to discover the moment they realized they didn't really know who their "friend" was anymore.
"I had been giving rides to a girl I thought was my friend. To and from school in high school. She wasn’t really suppose to ride with other teens but due to her mothers work hours we could easily pull this off. I thought we were close."
"One day while on the way home my brakes went out. We were about 2 blocks from her gated neighborhood. I managed to roll in safely and parked at her house to call a tow truck."
"She flipped. Told me I couldn’t stay. She knew my brakes were not working as she had also been terrified when we couldn’t stop. She said she wanted to go to a movie that weekend with other friends and her mom would ground her if she saw me at the house. I offered to lie and say I only stopped there as my car malfunctioned on my way home. I had to pass her neighborhood on my way home anyways."
"She refused. Started to scream at me. She didn’t care what happened I had to go. Started to call the guard at the front gate to tell them I had broken in and was threatening her."
"I left her and that friendship that moment. I managed to roll my car slowly to a mechanic not too far away but never forgot the shi* feeling of knowing I could have been seriously hurt and she wouldn’t have cared. She wanted to see a movie. She had the nerve to sheepishly call and ask me a couple days later if I could give her a ride to school. Told her I was too busy and no longer had time… after all I wanted to help her obey her mom's rules. She rode the bus til she graduated."
"I had this friend in school. Each year there was a funfair in our city, all students received vouchers for a drink and something to eat. This friend complained the whole day that she had no one to accompany her to the funfair. So, stupid me offered to go with her."
"Once we arrived we met another friend of hers. And another, and another... until we were a group of 5 or 6 people. I didn't know anyone and was basically just walking behind them. This friend took me aside and said, 'My friends think you are annoying, and we would like you to leave.'"
"It was a pleasure to see that she failed her exams a year later."
There's the spirit of competition, but when it's taken seriously, we're no longer game for these friendships.
I Can Do It Better
"Constantly 'one ups' me. A real friend is happy for you."
"That one time I got a fake bag but she doesn’t know and then 2 weeks later messaged me that she also bought a luxury bag… Then when I got a bf, she also went to get a bf within 3 months which is TOTALLY fine but she constantly messages me for us to go on a double date. Anyways, sadly they didn’t last long :( I mentioned that I wanted to go to Cuba, she went ahead and bought herself a ticket to Cuba but I didn’t end up going lol"
Never Steal The Spotlight
"When they loved the idea of me shining, but behind their shadow, I could never do or achieve anything above them, and when I did, they would get jealous."
"Yes! I recently ghosted a friend because of this kind of behavior. She was trying to compete about EVERYTHING. Like she bragged about how her mom’s car accident was more traumatic than my elderly MIL’s - which is not even an appropriate thing to compare. She would also try to 'outshine' celebrations of my milestones and was mean to several of my friends for no apparent reason. She was a loose cannon at best."
All About Me
"ALL she talks about it herself and her problems. Granted she has a a lot but never asks about me or my life until she realizes she just bypassed my attempt to want to talk about something in my life bothering me and continued to talk about herself."
People can just be so rude.
"When I got really sick. Very few came to help."
"Same here. I got cancer and everyone I knew was over the top supportive for the first six months and then all but three of my friends just vanished. I saw one of them at a Halloween party while I was going through chemo and she told me that my bald head made people uncomfortable. I was dressed as Captain Picard, it was awesome and she ruined it."
Not Missing High School
"At lunch, she was sitting with her boyfriend, I was sitting with our friend circle. She came up to me, guilted me into sitting with her and her boyfriend, and then proceeded to ignore me for the rest of lunch."
"She didn't care about me, she just didn't want me talking to the friend circle that she had abandoned for her boyfriend. When I pointed this out to her, she called me a jealous b*tch."
"Ah, high school. How I don't miss thee."
These examples actually served as a good reminder for me to take a moment and assess my friendships.
Not so much about how I've been treated but more about checking myself to see if I'm respecting the people I call my friends.
We've all been guilty of casually mentioning future plans to get together. I embarrassingly wait for people to initiate something, which is terrible.
Show up for your friends. Make them feel important like the individuals they are.
There are few moments in life more momentous than buying your first home.
Of course, as is the case with any big decision, after going through with it, your mind begins to spiral down into a series of doubts.
Most of the time, once you've moved in and lived there for a while, all these doubts begin to slowly disappear.
In some cases, though, those doubts quickly turn into regrets.
Particularly when you notice more and more elements of what you thought was your "dream" home that is more reminiscent of a nightmare.
Redditor californiabred was curious to hear the biggest regrets from people who recently purchased a home, leading them to ask:
"Homeowners who bought recently, what’s your biggest regret?"
Not The What, But The When
"Not buying 4 years ago."- 3rdPartyArbitor
Location, Location, Location!
"The situation when you bought a house where it was possible and a month later they sell a house in the area where you wanted"- BenefitOk3952
"Not knowing enough about the area/town."
"I hate where we live."
"Hoping we can move by the time my oldest starts kindergarten."- MP1087jason patric fox GIF by Wayward PinesGiphy
Upon Closer Inspection...
"The inspector told us the main drain in the basement was clogged."
"We thought it was clogged with something normal."
"It was, in fact, 'clogged' with cement from when our basement floor was redone."
"So now our basement regularly gets standing water on one side."- doctorpotterhead
"Hiring the wrong home inspector they missed so much, I really have to wonder if all those reviews were bought and paid for."- CaptainQuoth
"Not planting the fruit trees sooner."
"It’s a long wait."- SageLeaf1Plant Hope GIF by The Seed of Life FoundationGiphy
How Long Have You Got...
"Be shameless enough to perform your own base level of inspection of a house so you don’t have to rely on what an inspector finds or get in a situation where you have to make an offer regardless of what the inspection finds."
"Turn all the faucets on and run the dishwasher."
"Start the washer machine for a second."
"Figure out if there is any water pressure issue."
"Bring a multi line laser and a tape measure."
"Check for any significant changes in slope on the foundation for some settling issues."
"Pay attention to the downspouts."
"Do they terminate right at the house or do they have longer pipes that lead the water away?"
"Pay attention to the flooring and create a rough estimate of what it will cost to immediately replace the flooring."
"Way easier to do when you don’t have a house full of furniture and can do it right before you move in."
"On the financial side you need to talk with multiple lenders at all times and make sure they continue to give you the most up to date closing costs."
"There were a lot of sneaky numbers that made there way in that I was unaware of as a first time home buyer."
"Until that mortgage lender gives you the locked in rate don’t trust them as to what number they are currently telling you."
"Discover your maximum mortgage rate + escrow and work backwards as to the maximum house you can afford."
"Don’t buy based on the pipe dream of refinancing."- from_the_LuftGIF by BlindspotGiphy
"Not recent, but I still regret not refinishing the floors before I moved in."
"I'll never do it now."- WinterFilmAwards
"I regret not having the inside painted and the carpet replaced before we moved in."
"Been here two years and it never felt like 'my home' until I got rid of the stains of those who came before."- DaisyRage7
Consider A Test Drive...
"Not particularly recent, but we did not pull out cars in the driveway or attempt to park them."
"So we didn't realize that my car could only enter the driveway from one direction, so I had to turn around half a block up every time I needed to park."
"And we just BARELY got two cars in the driveway."
"So my regret is that I took for granted that the driveway met our needs."- gtizzzhomer simpson episode 24 GIFGiphy
Always Read The Fine Print
"I bought a few years ago."
"So many things have gone sideways."
"One thing I regret is not being educated about permits."
"Contractors/handymen/ anyone who works on your house really, never mentions a permit may be needed."
"Learned that it’s up to me and me alone to do the research and phone calls."
"Currently have a job on hold because they needed a permit."
"The company blamed me and now I’m not sure they’re even going to do the work."
"Watch the movie 'The Money Pit'."
"It’s not that far off."
"Some days I wish I’d just be a renter."- MissPeppingtosh
Simply Not Worth The Effort
"Don't bother childproofing your home."
"They still get in."- Blueblackzincseason 9 friends GIFGiphy
It's easy to question whether or not buying a home was the right decision.
But rather than live a life full of regret, why not make the most out of what you have, and turn your not-quite-dream home into a temporary dream home?
Who knows, it might even increase the resale value.
In an instant, anything can change in life.
Deciding to turn left instead of right at a traffic light can save your life -- and you may never know it.
That's why the movie "Sliding Doors" is so great.
Small choices and seemingly minor chances can shift things massively.
Redditor Lexie_Mark wanted to hear about how life can change drastically by the smallest influences, so they asked:
"What's a seemingly minor decision you made that ended up having a massive impact on your life?"
I had dinner with a guy once.
I told him a joke and let him read 5 pages of my writing.
Now I write for this website. BOOM!
Right TurnNever Mind Baby GIFGiphy
"Turned up to a military recruiting day on the wrong weekend as a youngster. Walked into a BBQ for traumatized veterans accidentally. That changed my mind."
"I had moved countries and decided to go back home after initial plans didn't work out. Had a ticket booked, was in a hotel near the airport, and got an invite to stay with online friends for a week or so before going back. Deferred my ticket, took them up on the offer."
"Met the love of my life there- moved to his city, have a new job, new friends, new life completely."
"While I was experiencing a period of career ennui, I treated myself to taking some college classes in biology, which I had always been interested in."
"While walking in the neighborhood close to the university one day, I saw one of the professors walking down the street, contentedly eating some ice cream. I don't know what possessed me, but I actually stopped him, said hello, that I was in one of his classes, and how much I liked the course."
"I have come across many professors in such casual circumstances before and since and never had the inclination or the guts to talk to them, particularly when they are clearly just having an enjoyable moment and likely don't want to be annoyed by a random student they don't even know."
"But I talked to him, and we had such a nice chat that he invited me to come to his lab and potentially do some work there. I came by a few days later, and he asked me a few questions and then asked one of his postdocs if he'd like to have me give him some help on a project. The postdoc said yes, and within 2.5 years I had my MS in biology (advised by Dr. Professor and helped greatly by that postdoc), and I was on my way to getting my PhD.
"Now I'm the prof."
On the Vespa
"4 months ago I was riding my Vespa to the gym on a Saturday morning, and I was T-boned by a car pulling out of a side street. She was looking the other way to make sure the traffic was clear and didn’t see me."
"I was coming from her right (in Australia, left-hand drive) and the front left of her car hit the back of my Vespa. If I had been half a second faster, I wouldn’t have been hit."
"I ended up with a crushed lower left leg and foot, permanent nerve damage, and 2 weeks in hospital. Fast forward to now, and I still can’t walk or move my leg and foot, I’m in unimaginable pain, and I (just today) lost my job."
"The recovery timeline is looking like 18-24 months and there’s no guarantee I’ll walk again."
"I was just trying to be healthy and go to the gym on a Saturday, and now my life has totally turned upside down. lol. Sigh."
Swipe Righttinder GIFGiphy
"Matched with a guy on Tinder and complained about my current job. Encouraged (and walked me through) the recruitment process for a government job and 5 years later I’ve had 4 promotions, earned almost twice my old salary, and have much higher job satisfaction."
Maybe Tinder isn't so bad after all.
Key StrokesJim Carrey Reaction GIFGiphy
"Taking a typing class in 1974. Almost no guys took typing at my school. Made life with computers a lot easier."
"Same here, it was the main reason I got a job in IT, I was able to have a lifelong career."
"Started running because I heard it helps with chronic tinnitus, now run 5 days a week, lost 20 kg, stopped drinking, and can sleep. It doesn't cure the tinnitus, there is no cure and probably never will be, but it made it more manageable, lowered the volume in my head, and let me sleep easier. I still have it and struggle with it sometimes, but running/exercise for me is the best way to mitigate the stress chronic tinnitus causes."
"Buying tickets to Guns 'N Roses. I'm from Northern Australia and went to the Brisbane show. Ended up going with an old friend who was looking for an extra roommate, moved to Brisbane, did an audio course cause I needed something to do, and ended up working in the music industry full-time. Just got off tour with Suicidal Tendencies as their backline tech and have had an incredible career so far."
"My current job was a throwaway application I submitted purely for interview practice. It was one of two listings I saw at once, one was quite detailed and looked really good, and the other one was a handful of vague bullet points that seemed interesting enough. The one I was hoping for never replied, the other one offered me more than the maximum salary on the ad. No regrets."
ForeverSmooch Love GIF by molehillGiphy
"I decided to have my first ever one-night stand."
"We've been together for 12 years!"
"So you still haven't had a one-night stand!"
Ah, the curse of the one-night stand gone wrong.
Love is all around.
At the end of the last century DNA laboratory companies began to offer direct-to-consumer home DNA test kits.
According to The Center for Genetics and Society, as of November 2023 more than 26 million people have taken an at-home ancestry DNA test.
These tests have helped people find and reunite with long lost family members. However not all revelations were well met.
Unknown ancestry was discovered.
Infidelity and secrets and lies were also exposed by these tests which led to strife in some families.
Reddit user OmarBessa asked:
"Redditors who have gotten genetic tests, what's the weirdest thing you learnt from your DNA?"
"So my dad is from the Philippines and my brothers and I all assumed our whole lives we are half Filipino and half Polish/German from my mom. Even my brothers married Filipino women and are very much into the family culture."
"Anyway I’m the only one who did the dna test and it came back we are only a 1/4 Filipino."
"There’s a mix—1% Japanese, 1% South American, etc...—but the big surprise was our missing 1/4 was Iranian/Romanian."
"My brothers flat out refuse to believe it."
"Learned that I (White) had a 100% Nigerian ancestor around 130 years ago. Now I want to dig deeper to find out who it was!"
"What’s funny is that I spent a gap year in Nigeria as a teenager, and I love the culture and food and still have a lot of Nigerian friends."
"It’s still a big part of my life."
"For 29 years, it was assumed that my dad who raised me was not my biological father, that I was the product of an affair my mother was having."
"I came out with blond hair, freckles and blue eyes. A stark difference to my tanned, dark featured dad."
"My dad chose to raise me as his own anyways, refusing paternity tests. I was never made to feel like I wasn't his."
"I took 23&Me simply out of curiosity and found out that he is in fact my biological father."
"My dad has told me he didn't want to know the results either way, but I let it slip showing my sister's the app one time at dinner."
"He didn't react, but I got an extra big bear hug getting on the train to leave that night."
"It was assumed when my mom found out she was pregnant that the pregnancy was the product of the affair. My features only solidified that assumption."
"He was already raising my mom's first daughter as his own, who he'd met when she was 2 and told my mom he wanted to keep raising the kids together. They got married and he adopted her a few months after I was born."
She was also treated so much as his that I didn't even know she was adopted by him until I was a teenager."
"My parents stayed together for 14 years, and to this day are still best friends."
"As an adult, my father-in-law found out his mother was actually his grandmother and his older sister was actually his mom."
"Things were different in the late 30's."
"I think this is quite common, especially when the real mother is still very young and in school when they get pregnant."
"The grandparents will adopt the baby and say they’re the mum’s sister/brother, and so the mum can continue their life as normal as possible."
"The daughter I adopted and I are actually distantly related!"
"As an adoptee who is considering doing the DNA thing, this intrigues me."
"My brother (also adopted, not a blood related sibling to me) did the DNA thing and found his birth family! I got to meet two of his half siblings. It was fascinating seeing 'nature vs nurture' in real time."
"There were certain mannerisms, etc... that all three of them did, and then other things my brother did that are definitely from the family we were raised in."
"Really cool to watch."
"Not me but my grandma got a DNA test done because she was sold as a baby—this happened back in the 30s (Depression Era, USA)—and never knew her biological parents, so a family member urged her to do it so we could maybe find them."
"We found both sides—a half-sister from her bio mom and a half-brother from her bio dad."
"Although it was kinda weird to realize we have family close by (only 20 miles away in one case), it was much weirder for the bio families to discover my grandma’s existence, since neither side had anything to do with the other."
"Her bio mom and bio dad seem to have crossed paths at some point in the same city. He was a married man, she was an older teen. Not sure if it was a one night stand or whatever but her bio mom was pregnant as a result of that night."
"At some point in her pregnancy, she checked into a home/hospital for pregnant unwed teen mothers (using a fake name). The bio mom was told the home would find homes for the babies, so she delivered and left."
"Bio mom went on to marry and have her own family, while bio dad likely never knew of the situation."
"As it would turn out, the home was not adopting out babies, rather selling them. Since my grandma was blonde and blue eyed she was bought quickly for a higher price by a woman."
"My grandma didn’t know until her teens that she was sold."
"My grandparents—they were married at the time—had a biological son they gave up for adoption before my mother was born and never told any of us about."
"Turns out some of the extended family knew my grandma had been pregnant before my mom but kept it a secret."
"If it was during the great depression in the US it was sadly something that happened. Not even just with babies."
"Some families had to give away their children or some of their children (I can't imagine the trauma for everyone involved) because they couldn't afford to feed themselves, let alone a child."
"My husband's grandmother told me about family members she knew who had to find new families for their children or even send them to live in an orphanage where they would at least be fed.
"Sometimes they were able to get the kids back after finances improved but not always."
"My ancestry is exactly what I grew up being told, I have several family members who were really into genealogy".
"But I found out I have a first cousin we didn't know existed."
"Apparently, my uncle had gotten married and had a son no one knew about when he was 19 and stationed across the country that he bailed on."
"Ends up my bio dad was quite the dabbler."
"None of his relatives were surprised I existed, just that I was the only stray kid that did (so far). I keep an eye on my results for any other mystery siblings!"
"I told my new half siblings if I ever went to a family reunion I'd show up in a shirt that said 'Spare Parts' or 'I'm your plot twist'."
Solving Unsolved Mysteries
"I had the same suspicions when I took my test. Turns out it was my grandmother instead with the secret babies she put up for adoption."
"Didn’t find out until 6 years after she passed away so we’re never getting answers as to what happened."
"Also got a surprise contact by the police, as I was a high match to a John Doe that was found drowned on the shores of Lake Superior in 1991."
"That was a fun family tree rabbit hole to dive down. Turned out to be a half 1st cousin from my grandmother’s firstborn."
"The local police were great about informing me and communicating. The case was assigned to them by the provincial police who were clearing out thousands of cold cases."
"I was also very excited to assist because I’d done a rather in-depth family tree about a decade prior."
"They have a team of forensic genealogists, most of them on a volunteer basis, and they were incredibly good at finding information. A lot of it was birth/marriage records and working off random dna matches to try and figure out where the Doe related to the match."
"In my case, I was a 422cm match to the deceased so we looked from my maternal great-grandparents on down."
"I assisted myself on a couple of cases afterwards, all just unidentified bodies found in water or bush, nothing criminal that would require clearance."
"To be honest, I felt a little morbid because of how interested I was in the process. I had to temper my enthusiasm when responding to the police initially."
I didn’t know the person, I had zero attachment to them and it was more of a scientific interest."
"It wasn’t until weeks later when I realized how close of a relation it was that it hit me. That plus he was likely murdered made me feel bad about my earlier enthusiasm."
"But in the cases I volunteered on, those people were loved and missed."
"One fella was a cousin of a beloved NHL enforcer that passed away a year before and I recognized the names of the immediate family we had to contact. They still had Facebook groups dedicated to searching for him with posts until the day before we contacted them."
"I’m sure there’s a relief at having answers but grief at the loss being confirmed."
More and more people are exploring their roots through DNA testing.
Have you taken a test? What was your DNA revelation?