People Describe The Teachers Who Completely Changed Their Life

Teachers are a vital part of childrens' development, both because they teach them facts and because they teach them how to be good people.

Sometimes that education happens in the classroom, and sometimes it comes in the form of sage wisdom or a but if extra help shared one on one.

Reddit user Zimthegoblin asked:

"People who had a teacher change their life, who was your teacher and what did they do?"

When I was about to graduate high school, I got a really competitive scholarship to study language abroad. Once I went to apply for a passport, it became clear that I didn't actually have a birth certificate or a social identification number-- basically had no proof that I was a citizen. My parents had lost one, never filed for the other, and were completely unconcerned about the situation. Zero f**ks given, especially because they didn't want to me study anyway.

My high school biology teacher, who had written several of my recommendations and who had encouraged me to apply for this 'out of my league' program in the first place, took care of it within two weeks. I don't actually know what he filed or who he called or how much he paid. But I was on a plane about a month later and I have only him to thank.


Not traditional teacher but the head instructor of the martial art I currently practice and teach.

I had already joined the gym as a student, with my wife (ex now but she actually was the one that talked me into it). I was enjoying my time there, but not really feeling very fulfilled by it. One of the reasons was that I was, IMO, too old to start (27).

One random day my wife and him were the only ones left at the school and he offered to take us to lunch. Was just casual but conversation turned to how I felt we were too old to ever get to his level of skill.

He asked us when we thought he started training. I guessed 7. He told me 35.

He told me the story of how he always wanted to pursue martial arts. As a teen there was nothing near him. In his 20's he thought he was too old too. There was a studio in his town and he drove by it every day on his way to work wishing he started.

Well, he moved a few times, finally settling in a place he would live for the majority of his life. Lo and behold, he passed another school every day for work. He told me he remembered at age 30 passing the school wishing he had just started a few years earlier when he moved to this town.

He kept that job for years. Then he told me at age 35, on the same route home from work, he passed the school and he remembered wishing he had just stopped in when he was 30. He hit the next stoplight and had a 'lightbulb' moment..

"If I keep this job, 5 years from now, I'm going to be sitting at this light, and wishing I started at 35."

He immediately did a u-turn, and went into the gym and signed up. 18 years later he ran his own school.

It inspired me that it wasn't too late, and I became a teacher myself as a result of that conversation.


A teacher once found that I was writing notes about sex in my notebook and passing it to my friends. Instead of getting me in trouble, she took me aside and found out I was seeing lots of stuff at home that I shouldn't have been. My parents were going through a split and there was a lot of turmoil in my life and no support. Thanks Mrs. Marchetti.


My year 11 home room teacher - Miss Dobra. High school was difficult for me, I lacked drive and direction. My home life was a mess and I had the weight of my parents wasted high school years projected onto me. I was battling anxiety, depression, binge eating and felt completely rudderless.

Miss Dobra was always there for me to talk to. She knew I had potential and she didn't shy away from encouraging me to apply myself, but she was always there for me to talk to. She never judged.

Fast forward two years, I finish high school but I don't sit all of my university entrance exams. I'm ashamed but I make a point of going back to the school once a year to see her - despite now also being homeless. She still doesn't judge. Three years later, my life has turned around and I sit my exams and begin university as a mature age student.

She was so happy for me. It took me five years to complete my degree but unfortunately she moved interstate part way through and we lost contact. I wish I had the opportunity to show her my certificate. She'd be proud.

Her love and faith in me has spurred me on in so many endeavours since I finished school. Graduating university was just the tip of the iceberg. I will never forget her. She's the closest thing I have ever had to a guardian angel. Teachers can truly make a difference in a kid's life. ❤️


I asked my music teacher why she wanted to be a high-school music teacher. She said it was the best way to continue to learn and buy new instruments without having to sing nursery rhymes all day (implying that a highschool teacher was a better prospect than a primary school teacher). I said on the offhand that singing nursery rhymes all day would be amazing and she responded- do it then.. be a childrens music teacher.

And so i changed my plans after graduation from nursing to teaching. And love singing nursery rhymes with my students! My previous music teacher now plays in a rock band in festivals all over the world and is such a f---ing badass. Thanks Woody. You were honestly the best teacher and shaped me to be the person I am today.


My primary school principal. Right before my teen years I started acting out due to family/home problems. No matter how many times I acted out, he treated me with absolute kindness, always above and beyond. I can't remember what I did to get sent to his office, but I'll never forget what he told me: "The best man you can be is a gentleman".

He encouraged my love for writing and drawing, helped me submit a story and was there when I won second place. When I failed maths, he tutored me in his office after school. When I showed interest in music, he let me practise on his guitar. I am forever in his debt for making me the person I am.


Struggled with eating disorders in high school. Senior year my dad passed away and I spiraled. Had a meltdown in the middle of my English class. Teacher pulled me out into the hallway, gave me a hug and said “are you eating?” Idk why but it snapped me out of it and that is the first time I realized people noticed or cared. She probably doesn’t know this but I’m sure she saved my life.


He actually believed in me. Most of my teachers before didn't care and didn't form the connection with their students that he did. I came in after a week out with the flu and he gave me an entire packet he made just so I wouldn't fall behind. We talked often of video games.


My kindergarten teacher saw me struggle with spelling the word together. She told me to spell it To-get-her. I'm in my 40s and still spell it like that.


My German teacher made me realise that I was being bullied by a boy. I thought he just didn’t like me. She talked with me and made me realise that the things that he said to me were not okay.


Teachers truly have the power to transform children's lives.

Want to "know" more?

Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Never miss another big, odd, funny or heartbreaking moment again.