Teachers Share Their Best 'This Kid Is Going Places' Stories.

Teachers who have spotted the early potential in their students share some heartwarming and inspiring tales about certain youngsters that they just knew were going places.

Source available at the end.

One of the kids at the school I worked at started doing everyone else's homework for pay. The thing is, he was smart enough to ask for samples of the other kid's handwriting and copy their handwriting as best as he could while doing their homework for them. It took about two months for him to get caught, and in that time, he had made over a grand doing homework for other kids.

The only reason he even got caught was that he was spending so much time at home doing homework. He was a fifth graders, so he should have been receiving around 30-minutes of homework a night on average (outside of any big projects), and his parents went to the school to complain about how much homework he was doing every night.


Preschool teacher here. We have a three (almost four) y/o at my daycare who wows us with his interest in numbers. He is obsessed with telling time and can read an analogue clock. As an extension of this, if you say to him, "It's 4:10 right now. How long until 5:20?" He's able to rattle off 70-minutes. He's also extremely interested in traffic and has memorized most of the highways in our city. He often tells us if there is an accident on one.

It's not only that he can do neat "tricks." It's that you can plainly see on his face all of the gears turning in his brain. He's so personable, open to learning, and quick to catch on. I find it very interesting and gratifying to see a child clearly so full of potential at such a young age. We work on mathematics with him whenever we can, and we dearly hope that he continues to pursue his passions as he grows.


I taught a kid who saved up his paper route money in the seventh grade to buy a lawn mower. He started mowing lawns as a summer job. By the tenth grade, he already had three lawn mowers and was subcontracting mowing work out to other students.

The summer after eleventh grade, he had saved up enough money to buy an old truck. He then worked bringing junk to the dump for people who didn't have one (Meanwhile, his workers kept mowing lawns).

By the end of twelfth grade, he had bought equipment to seal and repair asphalt driveways and paint lines. The equipment he tows around using his old truck.

Three years out of high school and he's getting municipal contracts to paint lines on the roadways and parking lots. Work that he's partially subcontracted out to others while he goes to school full-time working on a business degree. He still contracts high school students to mow lawns. He also has contracts to mow grass and clear brush with several municipalities in the area, as well as, local businesses. 

He's currently saving up to buy heavy equipment such as dump trucks, loaders, backhoes, etc. to further expand his business opportunities.

I've never seen a kid with such self-motivation, drive, and determination. It's enviable!


I go on visits to high schools for recruitment purposes (to come to our college).

I met a student who had not only taken it upon himself to self-learn creating android apps, but he had already made a game and was selling quite a few copies on the Google play store.

I was thinking that this student could just skip the college bit and go straight to working for somebody by showing them this app. Or better yet, he could just continue making games and placing them on the market.


I was privileged to have a true "prodigy" student who (at 11-years-old) had already worked through and memorized many of Bach's two-part inventions and several well-tempered clavier, preludes, and fugues. He was also working on Chopin preludes, etudes, and waltzes (among other literature).

I told his parents their son was "going places," and that they should fully support a special accelerated course of music studies for him.

He recently earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (performance) and is getting offers playing solo piano works and concertos with orchestras.


I had some college students in my speaking class (ESL). I asked them an opinion question about the Industrial Revolution, and they had no clue what I was talking about. Even when I broke it down to dates and inventions, they remained lost. My goal was for them to be able to express an opinion, not deliver their turn of the century expertise, so we moved on.

Well, the next day, one student took it upon himself to research the Industrial Revolution and told me all about it the next morning. He ended it with, "It was really interesting, thanks".

An inquisitive mind can take you to so many places.


One student has gotten into podcasting, and he did a few projects in podcast and webcast form. He has a bit of a speech problem with pronunciation (think Ric Flair or Dusty Rhodes), but his hearts is in the right place, and I see him working towards that goal.


I tried to emphasize creative problem solving and entrepreneurship last year with my sixth graders. We did a lots of small activities leading up to a big project wherein they would come up with a product to sell to their classmates (picture Shark Tank style). Tons of kids showed potential, but there were these two girls in particular who started making things at home and selling them to other students and teachers at school. One made these amazing chocolate pretzel things. The other made and sold slime, which she had learned how to make in science class.


I had my students create a debate where they had to research different topics. For example, between cell phone usage vs. no usage, the effects of television and games, the implications of torture for military use, etc. One of the student, who sided against torture, gave a rich and detailed paper with sources from both sides of the political spectrum to create a well-rounded debate. Her written portion was excellent but her actual classroom debate was even better. She had appealed to everyone emotionally and logically. I remember telling one of the other teachers, "Holy smokes, she's my new attorney."


I was a grad student who was teaching adjunct classes for the local community college. She was in one of my night classes which was held at a BAD local high school. She was a 16-year-old student there in her junior year. Obviously, she was a little scared being surrounded by college students. Tiny little girl who barely said a peep the first few class meetings. After the first week or so, she came to me after class to ask for reading recommendations on a subject in the textbook.(Mid-Atlantic sectionalism in the 1850's). The thing is that was only covered in the last chapter of the book. She had already finished the textbook and the outside reading, all in a week, while attending two other college level night classes and high school.

I made it my job to keep her engaged after that. She asked incredibly thoughtful questions and had a first rate analytical mind. Bear in mind, this was the worst school in the city, and she lived in one of the worst neighborhoods (This was right as the drug epidemic went into high gear). That girl basically lived in a war zone.

I eventually asked her where she wanted to go to university and she said, "My mom will only let me go to an all-girls college." I thought about it and asked her, "Do you think your mom's has ever heard of Radcliffe?" She broke out in a grin and said, "Nope! But we could never afford Harvard."

What she didn't know was that my best friend was on our local Harvard/Radcliffe review board (The folks who personally interview applicants in each city.) She also didn't know about the size of Harvard's endowment, but I did. I convinced her to apply and wrote her the most enthusiastic rec'd that I could conjure. I even paid the app fee and called my friend to give her a heads up that this girl was special.

She graduated from Radcliffe College in 3 years with a Double major, and her mother didn't figure out a thing until graduation day.


A 5 -year-old girl in my class came in with a "Girls Just Want To Have FUN-damental Rights" t-shirt. I told her that I liked it, and she started explaining feminism to me.


I teach elementary school, and I run ultra marathons and organize trail races in my free time. We had an outing for my science class to find trash around the school. I was walking by the track with a kid who is pretty lean and tall and challenged him to a race (one lap). The plan was to let him stay close and then school him at the end. When we got around the last turn, he slowed a bit, so I did too. Then, he took off, and we ended up about even. He told me that his plan was to stay with me and then school me at the end. Few months later, I got him on the youth track team, and he's keeping up with the high schoolers. I can't wait to see how he does if he keeps up the drive.


I'm a tutor. This kid was really creative. He would draw a ton of pictures that were detailed and awesome. He once built a video game out of cardboard. His imagination was just unreal.

He couldn't concentrate and didn't like doing real school work. I never worried much because I always knew that he was going to solve some problem that no one had ever even thought of yet.

The moment in question, he was asking me a bunch of questions when I was overwhelmed by work and getting other kids out the door. I told him to go draw a picture. He asked of what, so I said a polar bear cause it's my favorite animal.

He goes away and comes back in like a minute and hands me a piece of paper with what looks like a keyhole on it. I asked him where's my polar bear. He told me it was a polar bear blinking in a snowstorm.

I just kind of laughed. Kids going places.


I am a former music teacher. I had a student write me an eight page song. She played and sang it on the piano with such poise. It was called "Always Follow Your Heart." She is going to be amazing at whatever she decides to do.


This kid used to make announcement videos for his church by quick pressing the record/stop buttons on an old VCR camera and did some amazing stuff with Star Wars figures. Some local video editing guys had him show them how he did it (this was in the late 90's), and they told him that what he had been doing wasn't even supposed to be possible with a VCR camera. He's a movie producer now.


When I was teaching students (I had around 30 assigned to me once a week on Friday), we were doing math and learning how to add double digit numbers like 12+11 and double digits with single digits 12+9. Everyone took their time counting on their fingers, but this one girl who had transferred in from Japan finished in less than 10 seconds by doing it in some special way that she had learned in Japan. I stood there astounded at how it was all correct and at how fast and efficiently she had done her math.


I was teaching a course where students had to apply to get in. A student on the wait list really wanted to get into the course. He attended on the first day of class with my permission and reminded me at the end of class that he wanted to take the course. He showed up on the second day of class with the course book. I let him in because he showed commitment. He did really well in the course too.


A kid sat next to me on the bus on one of our field trips and said, "Miss S, have you ever heard about Pangea?" He then proceeded to tell me all about the shifting continental plates and the current position of our continents. I was curious as to how much he knew about geography and began questioning him. He knew all of the continents, and he could name every country in Africa and South America (pronouncing every one correctly). This kid was so smart. It wasn't even just memorization. He actually understood things that he shouldn't of yet in the first grade. 


 I work with kids with autism. A few years ago, I worked with a 6-year-old boy who was a genius at Lego. He saw how everything fit together and could make the most amazing structures. In kindergarten, the teacher did a unit on robotics. She ended up creating a robotics corner, for the rest of the year, for that boy to use. He would show all of his classmates how to build super cool things.

He went for IQ testing about a year or so later. He scored off the charts for math and visual perceptual (I believe it was 98th percentile for both). The psychologist said she'd never seen such high scores in her entire career. His mom was crying when she told me this and was thanking me for believing in her son and always telling her that he was a really smart kid who could do anything.

He's only 8 now, but I'm still sure he'll be a famous engineer or architect one day.


I am a tennis teacher. We had a kid, who at 5-years-old, we could already tell was going to be pretty damn good. By 8, we had to play him against 12-year-olds that were like the top in the state. It was like a joke how good he was.

He is now basically the best in the world for his age, and I'd say his chance of winning a major is at least 25%. We teach a lot of kids who are the best, or close to the best, in their age groups. The odds of the next best kid winning a major I would put at 0.1%.


Not a teacher, but there's a senior in my school that's currently running for Senator and making headlines for himself. He's been our student union president for the last few years or so.


I taught at a summer camp for kids in homeless shelters in New York state last year. There was this one girl, we'll call her Gabrielle. Gabrielle was 9-years-old, and she was one of the smartest and kindest kids that I've ever encountered. She wrote a letter to the charity that ran the camp to try and encourage them to hire someone who spoke Spanish, for those like her father, who couldn't speak English.

My colleagues and I agreed that she should be working for the UN or something similar.



Post are edited for clarity. 

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