Teachers Remember Standout Students Who Have Stayed In Their Memories
Teachers have sometimes hundreds of students each year. It's remarkable that they remember any, right? The special ones, the standouts, are the ones that stay in their memories the most though. Here are some stories from teachers who recall being touched by the efforts of their particular students thanks to Redditor mteart, who asked: "Teachers of Reddit, who is one stand-out student that you'll remember for a very long time?"
"You don't see much empathy from 6 year olds."
I teach 1st. I have a student with high anxiety if I'm not there. I had a funeral for my grandpa, so I front loaded him with something like "My grandpa went to heaven so I wont be here tomorrow. So and so will be the sub." He said okay, walked away, then came back a few minutes later and hugged me and said "I'm sorry about your grandpa."
You don't see much empathy from 6 year olds. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment.
"I think we're all teachers."
My first year working in education, there was one kid that was super creative; he could turn anything into a game. He made a game with dominoes one time that I couldn't for the life of me beat, and I was seriously trying.
He later confided in me that his ex-stepfather had hit his mom and been to jail several times. It broke my heart because he and his siblings were the sweetest kids. He said to me once, "I think we're all teachers" and that quote still rings true, 7 years later.
"Everyone just assumed she was mute..."
Not while I was a teacher, but while I was an aide there was a girl in the class who didn't talk. Everyone just assumed she was mute and would make fun of her for not talking. Even the teacher kinda brushed her off as "oh so and so just doesn't speak so don't worry about it." I don't know what that little kid went through or why she wouldn't talk to her classmates but she could definitely talk and hated everyone in that class for being mean to her. I think about her all the time and often wonder how she's doing since she'd be entering high school pretty soon.
"From day one, he had been my favorite student."Giphy
I teach 8th grade. Last year, we lost one of our students in an accident right before fall break. From day one, he had been my favorite student. He was unbelievably kind and intelligent. Literally every single student had only positive things to say about him. I know that's typically how it goes when someone passes, but it wasn't like that with him. He was just one of those people you couldn't help but love. He was someone who would go out of his way to help those around him, and he brought out the best in his peers, a born leader.
Then we lost him.
I floundered for the rest of the year; I never felt like I completely regained my footing. I'm thankful for the time I had with him in my class, but I'm terrified of having to go through that again.
"I had one super sassy student..."
I had one super sassy student who would always grimace when asked a question and give minimal effort in anything related to class. One day our school had a Halloween party and I was helping with a magic show when she ran up to me with her friend and said "this is my favorite teacher" to her friend. She was smiling so much and so happy, and from that day on she was a brilliant kid showing her true potential. Always high five everyone in your class and make em blossom fellow teachers.
"It was absolutely brilliant."
I run a creative writing club for kids. One boy I met doing a creative writing workshop at his primary school, he was reluctant to participate in my activity because it was getting in the way of his writing career - he was working on a novel. He asked me if I'd read the first few chapters, so I did and I was blown away, convinced he'd just hand-copied an Agatha Christie novel.
A couple of years later, he joined my after school program, for kids who want to be writers, and then last year he emailed me to say he'd finished his first novel. (Not the same novel from primary school, he gave up on that one). He asked me to read it, and it was absolutely brilliant. It's a cozy murder mystery, set on an alien planet, with heaps of dry (British style) humour. I read it in between reading two Terry Pratchett books, and his book stood up in terms of entertainment and humour value. Meanwhile, I was looking for a book to be published through my start up independent book label. So, now he's being published at the ripe old age of 15.
"We kept things very vague."
Taught high school theatre and discovered a notebook that was being passed around mentioning a lot of high school drinking. So, one night instead of rehearsal, we staged an "intervention" with the cast of the show. We kept things very vague. Let the kids know we cared about them and talked to them frankly about some of our own experiences with addiction and depression. At the end of it, one student -- someone who was not even mentioned in the notebook and I would have never suspected ANY of the things we talked about applied to him -- pulled me aside and said, "I don't know how you guys figured it out, but yeah, I've been cutting. And I really appreciate you not calling me out in there." He got help soon thereafter, and is living a healthy life to this day.
"Her drive was impressive."
I teach where there was a school shooting. My student was shot and almost died. She survived because a specialist happened to be in town. When I visited with her in the hospital a couple days after, she asked how she could finish the class. Her drive was impressive.
"I'll always carry him with me."
I started in my first classroom this past July. It is a full special education elementary classroom. I had a very strong connection with one of the students. He had Cerebral Palsy and was nonverbal, but you always knew what he needed and how he was feeling. He was sweet and enjoyed life. His home life wasn't the greatest, but he loved being at school with his friends and teachers.
He passed away in September. I'll never forget that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when the staff in my classroom got called down to the principal's office and we were told. It was one of the worst things I've ever experienced. I'll always carry him with me.
"I think I will always remember him."Giphy
One of my former students just ran into a burning house the other day to save a family with no thought to his own safety.
So, he is on my mind right now. It is hard to really pin down because there have been so many. I had one kid who is going to college and getting into politics, and he should.
He took on a superintendent... and won, for the good of all his peers. Pretty awesome. Not in the news, but pretty awesome. I think I will always remember him.
"Just a wonderful PERSON."
The first one who died tragically young after graduation. He reminded me of my oldest son, and was the most genuine and kind young man.
He wasn't an especially good student. Just a wonderful PERSON
"He recognized me from her yearbook pictures
A student once asked me what his sister was like when she was in high school. We had been in the same year throughout high school and then went to the same college for a bit, so I knew her pretty well, even though we weren't exactly friends. Great girl, everyone loved her, she had this way of making you smile no matter how sad you felt. So I'm like "Well, what is she up to these days? She must've recognized my name if you know we went to school together."
Well, turns out she committed suicide a few months after our last semester together. Her brother was 9 at the time, and was now in my class 7 years later. He recognized me from her yearbook pictures, and just wanted to learn more about his sister from someone who got to see a different side of her.
"Yeah, I will never forget that kid..."
I had a student who really struggled with depression. One day we were doing an activity in class and he asked me if I had seen Dead Poet's Society. I said, "Yes! I love that movie." He then said, "I was watching it with my grandma and the main teacher reminded me of you"
Yeah, I will never forget that kid or how he made my father tear up when I told him the story and he watched the movie for the first time ever.
"Great sense of humor that I really enjoyed."
I had a student with autism who was a carbon copy of Napoleon Dynamite. Great sense of dry humor that I really enjoyed. He's still around town and works at a convenience store. Whenever I go in there to buy beer, he'll casually walk by me, wag a finger and, in cartoon fashion, whisper "moderation."
"Tested him for allergies. And guess what?"
I had a kid named Michael, and he had a severe peanut allergy. His mother was very clear with us, he needed to eat his lunch and snack alone in the nurses office (this was before most schools were nut free zones). She also insisted he have his own school bus to school. So every morning one of the special buses would pick him up on his own and at would collect him. The kid was socially awkward, because he was isolated from everyone else. Well, somehow the school got wind his mother was a bit off, and they, without her permission. Tested him for allergies. And guess what? The kid was allergic to literally nothing. He had spent his entire childhood separated from his classmates simply because his mother made up and allergy. And this, and her parenting, made him an odd child. He'd be about 30 now and I wish I know what happened to him.
"Not that great of a student..."
Not that great of a student, but an amazing person. If you've ever taught middle schoolers, you know you don't expect them to have the wisdom, patience, and kindness of a grandfather. I learned later in the year, that said child had an older sibling who was severely developmentally disabled. I suspect that may have had something to do with his prematurely wise personality.
"I had this student who was the smartest kid I've ever met."
I had this student who was the smartest kid I've ever met. She was the sweetest, kindest, and genuine person I've ever met. You could have dropped her in a college classroom and she would have gotten straight A's. I have her article from my grad classes to read and I think she got them more than I did sometimes. She was an overachiever and smart as a whip.
Unfortunately she had a pretty severe eating disorder and before my semester of student teaching was up she was sent to inpatient. The poor thing finished her research paper two months early because she didn't want to disappoint anyone.
I wish I could have done more for her as I had a similar experience in my high school years but I was only two years older than my students and had to really keep my distance so they wouldn't see me as their friend. She's in college now and seems to be doing well and I hope she stays well because she's gonna do great things.
"She has been so coddled by her parents..."
The girl who brought her support dog in every day, but used it for everything but support during times of anxiety episodes. She has been so coddled by her parents that she hasn't come to school since October. They were approached by the English teacher, who informed them that he holds after-school work make-ups on Fridays. They answered "We'll have to go ask her, and see if she feels like it."
This student was allowed to leave the room over literally anything that "bothered" her. When confronted by any teacher, she would say that she "doesn't have to," and that's "not in my IEP."
"Weirdest kid I ever taught."
I nicknamed him Legolas. At the most random times he would get out of his chair and pretend to shoot a bow and arrow at all the bad guys in the room. He would do parkour moves off the wall. His little episodes lasted for like 15 seconds then he would sit back down and act like nothing happened the rest of class. Weirdest kid I ever taught.
"Or the kid..."
The one who said his goal was to build a nuclear device in his garage. It was for the middle school boy shock value, but the kids is a genius, so probably could have. He's now studying engineering (or physics?) at Cornell.
Or the kid who used to eat things off the floor as a middle schooler and had never learned how to use a knife to cut food.
Or the kid who used to hiss like a cat until he trusted teachers, at which point he'd start purring. This was an improvement from when he used to bark.
Also, the kid who basically lived in my classroom all day (we ate lunch together and he helped out with some of my wild freshmen) and then was going to be pulled from my class roster because he was failing. Turned out he was failing because he was being so badly neglected that he was a LITTLE more concerned with where he's be sleeping that night and my classroom was the only safe space he had. That was a fun fight with the guidance department and ended up having an impact on the end of year evaluation. Apparently him failing took me into "partially effective" as a teacher. F**k you, Deborah, for telling me it was my fault I focused on getting this kid to feel safe somewhere.
Secretly, we all fear having birthdays like the one in Sixteen Candles, where nobody shows up and we're forced to deal with how lonely we feel as people. But sometimes, people have things happen on their birthday that put Molly Ringwald to shame.
It stinks to have your special day go sour. Moreover, it hurts, that if whatever happened was bad enough, you will never be able to not associate your birthday with that awful thing.