Teachers Reveal The Saddest Thing They've Ever Overheard A Student Say


Oh the things you can never unhear....

Being a teacher is already a demanding job; physically, mentally and in the end it's especially draining emotionally. When you really think about it educators are surrogate parents. They hear and feel an enormous amount of emotional pain from their pupils.The stories that teachers overhear or will flat out be told could break one's soul. Teaching will often be a constant reminder that the world is cruel and that all too consistently life is unfair.

Redditor u/anuarsalas wanted the teachers out there to divulge us a few stories by asking.... Teachers of reddit, whats the saddest thing you've heard a student say?

Hungry Child.


Did a pretty standard scale drawing project where students measured and drew their bedrooms. A student drew squares along the walls and when I asked what they were, he said they were the stove and refrigerator. Kid was sleeping in the kitchen. fillastradamus

Somebody to Love....

I work as a paraprofessional for kids in grades K-5, and I kind of hop around from kid to kid and help wherever I can. A lot of my one-on-one students are special education or have learning disabilities, so my approach to working with them is being open to their interests and talking to them in between work. You'd honestly be surprised how well this works, just letting them tell you about their day or Fortnite or their weekend. Now I have had issues with stuff like this with a few kids but the one that sticks out to me is this boy in my 5th grade class, he has both learning disabilities and issues with emotional processing.

He's a very large kid at 10 years old, taller than I am. One day I come into the room to find him sullen and quiet and I ask him if he'd like to come out in the hallway and talk to me. At a bit of probing he told me that one of the kids in his class told him he should die that that nobody likes him. At one point he just whispers "I just want someone to love me." It absolutely broke my heart. I struggle with feelings of not feeling loved myself so I went told him "You know I love you, right? You're my friend and I always look forward to seeing you every day."

We ended up taking a walk around the school just chatting to get his mind off things and I told the social worker. Ever since then he's been one of my best students. Yes he still doesn't want to do his work but he's always excited to see me and one day when I came to class with a pulled muscle in my leg he helped me walk to his seat and pulled out a chair for me. It's honestly one of the moments in my life where I feel I made a difference. PaleoAss

Silent Night.

Ex-wife taught first grade in a school district known mostly for trailer-park crime. At Christmas, she had her kids write stories about the best thing about the holidays. One extremely impoverished kid wrote that he was excited that Santa was going to let him pick out a single box of cold cereal that would be his and his alone, and he could pick from ANYTHING in the grocery store. Mom was dead-a** broke, working two jobs trying to make ends meet, and food stamps were the only way she could get her three kids a "present." She played this up and the kids got excited about this. MastadonBob

Not my Daughters!  

I was teaching media (journalism, podcasting, video editing, etc) to students in Southeast Europe who wanted to better utilize social media to share what was happening in their countries (think Arab Spring).

One of my students from Burma mention sleeping with her father. I pulled her aside to have her clarify. Her father sleeps in bed with her and her sister to make sure they aren't kidnapped overnight and sold into the sex trade.

Most sobering moment of my life. TheDreadedLorax

Be my Mom....


Telling me I'm more of a mother to them than their mother. I had a few of those through the years. I had expectations for them. I pushed them to do better. I made sure they had breakfast. I listened to their worries. I spent a lot of time with them. They were special needs kids. Many had abusive, druggie, alcoholic, neglectful,etc parents (or any combination of those). Thistooshallpass0987

Here. Manga. 

"My mom told me she didn't pack lunch because it was too expensive." Gave him my lunch. Designatedlonenecron

Aawww. That's what my Principal did to one of my students. No one likes him, he wants everyone to grow up and have a bright future. I'm starting to miss him reading this. EverydayEverynight01

It doesn't Matter! 

I remember when a girl in our class told the teacher it "didn't matter if they learned it, she was going to be dead in a couple of years anyways." At the time I told my mom and she said the girl was probably just being dramatic, but the girl didn't come back after summer break. billbapapa

Not your fault....

I had a student who was diagnosed with leukemia. Went into remission, returned to school; shortly after, his sister was diagnosed with skin cancer. A few weeks later, his brother was killed in a RTA.

One day he came to see me and just hung around my classroom door. I asked him if there was something he wanted, and to come in. He walked in, sat down and simply said "I just want it to stop. I don't know what I've done." Then he sobbed. We ended up crying together for the entire break. Absolutely heartbreaking. meringueisnotacake

Life is Rough....

A 2nd grader told me that he was feeling weird and tired that day because he didn't sleep much the night before because people were shooting each other on his street, and his dad went out to see what was happening and didn't come back until morning. He was so worried he hadn't slept at all.

Another student told me he couldn't take his ADHD medicine because his mommy sold it for food. 88questioner

Where is She?


If I don't get a 90 in your class, my dad won't let me see my mom. barstoolLA

Daddy Issues. 

I was only sort of a teacher for one year - I worked at one of the national laboratories in the Bay Area and as outreach we gave two science lessons each to all the schools in Oakland and Berkeley.

On Lesson Two in one of the Oakland schools, from a 10-year-old girl who was clearly having trouble paying attention:

"Sorry I wasn't here last time, my dad got shot." Porrick

The Little Boy. 

I was assisting another class of 1st graders and when they were dismissed one of the boys was slightly panicked and sticking to the wall, when I talked to him to figure out why he informed me that his older brother had come to pick him up and that he was terrified. I called over the other teacher and we found out that his brother was physically abusive when they were alone together, of course in light of this information we couldn't allow him to leave with his brother so we called the mother and waited until she could pick him up. I informed the mother of what her son had told us and that was it, but I'll never forget how scared that little boy was. YouRWho


When I taught elementary school I had a kindergarten kid that was always at the school. He'd show up super early and leave super late. He was in a before and after school program called MELC. They give the kids whose parents work breakfast and dinner. It was right before April break and I can't remember why, but I mentioned we were going to be off of school for a week. He started crying and said, "But miss, how am I going to eat if I'm not here?" I almost cried with him. His parents work all day long. Reported it to the admin, but I don't think anything came of it. He might've stayed with other family for the week. He seemed fine when we came back. Feorana

Don't Waste.


My sister had a kid in kindergarten have a big breakdown seeing all the food getting thrown away after lunch on the first day. He had a bunch of siblings at home, and they were all hungry. It's the first time my sister cried at work. (CPS was called and stuff happened). Bangbangsmashsmash

The Edits. 

As a community college peer tutor I've heard too many kids and adults tell me about their depression, anxiety, addiction, and bullying. for some reason one kid stuck with me. He told me about his autism and his love for writing movie scripts. he said "I know they're not very good so my dad always reads them and helps edit them." It was sad hearing him beat himself up about something he loved but nice to hear that his dad always takes the time to go through long scripts with him often. DecentSkin

Keep Trying! 

"I'm a f***ing idiot." The young man had just received his scores on his ACT. They weren't good, and he felt his dream of being a police officer were over.

The kid is 17, just go his life rammed by a stupid test. It makes my blood boil how much stock we put into the damn test.

He's a joy to have in class, spent all of his lunches with me going over content he didn't understand, is well liked, works 40 hours a week, is a productive member of society, and is just an overall good kid. And a damn test says he's not good enough. Nelly_24

Teachers should be given meds. 

"I'm sorry, I didn't take my meds today because mom sold them again... and is it ok if I stay in your room for lunch? We don't have any food in the house."

I bought that kid bread, peanut butter, jelly and some snacks, and he made lunches and dinners for himself and his brother. I cried every night during that school year. Potokitty

Life in Pieces.


I have two from the same open university in an economically depressed area.

  1. (with tears) "Can I please turn in my paper next week instead of next class because my brother just got convicted and they are asking for the death penalty." Poor kid. That's a hell of a lot to handle at 18.
  2. This was an essay on the topic of "Why are you here?" The student, an older woman in a freshman comp class, wrote that she'd had her kids at a young age, and now that they were grown, she wanted to show them that she could still make something of herself. And even though her husband told her that he would leave her if she went to college, she came anyway.

Thank God it was a diagnostic essay, because how the hell would you grade that? I just wanted to cheer and hug her. IThinkThingsThrough

Too Young. 

Not me, but wife. A couple years ago a grade three kid whose birthday was coming up was saying how he didn't deserve a birthday; that he was a speck of dirt; that he was bad. It took a while, but my wife was able to figure out that when he was in grade one and at his birthday celebrations, his dad stabbed his mom. He had internalized this into somehow being his fault because it happened on his birthday. It was his fault that his dad was in jail and that his mom was so severely injured that she could no longer work. It was his fault that they had to move into a much smaller place. Really tough to hear. Kids should not have to deal with this crap. trees_are_beautiful

Prayers for Jeremy. 

I was a secondary education major for most of college, and worked at a bunch of schools nearby.

At one middle school, there was a kid we'll call Jeremy. About twelve years old, black, family was pretty broke. Smart kid, worked pretty hard and took good notes. He was never involved in any of the problems around the school, and never got in trouble for anything more than missing an assignment or two. Good dude.

We were talking about their plans for the future, and Jeremy mentioned he probably wouldn't be able to go to college, but that was okay. He'd try to find a job before leaving high school.

"And when I go to jail, I hope it'll only be for a few years so I can get back to work."

Not if. When. With everything he'd seen in the world up to that point, it wasn't really a question for him. RinellaWasHere


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