Teachers Reveal The Most Surprising Things They've Learned About Their Students While Attending A High School Reunion
Well now it all makes sense.
Haven't you always wondered if teachers keep journals with names and descriptions of the students that made an impression (for better of worse) over the years? They must have a curiosity about how everybody turns out, especially when it comes to the high school or college age kids. They must make mental notes about the girl who will be President or carry a mental scare from the boy who rankled them so often that by graduation it wasn't just water in the water bottle. Reunions are the best way to find out all of those answers, well if they get the invite.
Redditor wanted the teachers out there to share some facts about former pupils by asking.... Teachers who regularly get invited to high school reunions, what are the most amazing transformations, common patterns, epic stories, saddest declines etc. you've seen through the years?
The Drug Crisis....Giphy
8 of my 438 student graduating class (2009), have passed from opioid overdose. The reunion is this July. ZalphaMBio
Yeah my graduation class of 160 something in 2013 already has three overdose deaths. Probably more, I'm not in touch with most people from HS. Rust belt is really dying from heroine. LibatiousLlama
The Star Pupil.
I have a few. One guy was this star pupil. Smart handsome athletic everything. Dating the head cheerleader. Some hallmark movie stuff. They leave go off to college and nobody thinks it'll go wrong. Come 10 years later, she divorced him, was given the House his late grandfather built in the divorce, and lived there with her new lover while he was in a hotel. 10 year reunion happens, he's deathly skinny and depressed. Sees the school, remembers the memories he had, goes home after reunion and kills himself. Leaving behind 2 little girls. His ex got chased out of the community last year. Death threats against her and her lover. She's trying to get in contact with people now because the lover took her money and fled back to the Philippines and she's homeless now. RedRoverLaws
I'm a middle school teacher of over ten years so some of my students are high school and college graduates at this point. I'm happy to say that a good number of them have reached out to me to share life stories and updates.
The one student that comes to mind was confidentially suicidal from a broken home with identity issues. She came to me for help and we found spoken word poetry as an outlet for her emotions, anxiety and discovery of self-worth.
She is currently returning to school to finish her associates degree and she was the first in her family to graduate HS. I get updates from her on my birthday each year. She still writes and performs spoken word poetry in her spare time.
Edit: Wow I did not expect to get this kind of overwhelming response! Yes, I have a million other stories (many of which don't have as happy of an ending.). Yes, this is why I love being a teacher and yes I love hearing from my students years later, though very few actually reach out. Dsgorman
People will find a way....
I wasn't a teacher but a janitor in a handicapped school, did a stint for 9 months.
There was a kid there, around 14, who was mentally somewhere between 5 and 10. Troublemaker, hard to control by his teachers, but he loved helping us janitors in the gardens (often greatly overenthusiastic). Ran into him last Christmas in a supermarket. He actually managed to pass an apprenticeship as a gardener and was working as one now, still living under general supervision of a carer, but financially independent and with perspective. Acc87
I'll Remember, the strength that you gave me....Giphy
My mom used to be a teacher for children with severe learning disabilities. By severe, I mean the majority of students she taught could barely do anything for themselves. Now she's retired, but one day we were in the supermarket when a lady comes up to my mom and hugs her. She seems a bit surprised at first and asks if they know each other, and it turns out she used to be in her class. We get in the car and mom instantly breaks down in tears, after a few minutes she explains to me that 20 years ago, that lady had been unable to speak, walk or even go to the bathroom by herself. And yet there she was, out on her own, talking to us and doing her own grocery shopping. What probably made my mom cry was that after so long and accomplishing so much, this girl actually remembered her old teacher. :3 Roseora
So many kids....
A frustrating thing as a teacher is not being able to remember all the kids you've taught. I've taught roughly 150 kids a year for 15 years, so it becomes hard to remember specific things about every student. I feel like a d-bag when a kid who really enjoyed my class comes up and asks me questions about life or the class he/she was in and I can't remember much about it. I've found that I usually remember high achieving/creative students or kids who were badly behaved (as I have a soft spot for these kids).
Since I usually remember the badly behaved kids I have noticed that most of them figured it out by the time they reach 30. Most have great jobs and are well adjusted. Conversely, many of the high achieving students end up dropping out of college and are working low-wage jobs. I don't believe that high school is much of an indicator of future success. As long as you graduate high school and attempt college, how you performed in high school will not be that important. Thechosendick
On the way to the pole...
A former student of mine grew up in an ultra-conservative Christian home. He and his siblings were never allowed to socialize with other students during lunch and recess. Whenever they had free time at school they had to read their Bibles. In science class they were forbidden to learn about evolution. Every essay, short story, personal narrative, and poem he wrote for me involved some kind of Christian theme.
When he graduated, he immediately enrolled in a big seminary in our area and that was the last I heard of him until his class invited me to their 10 year reunion. This same kid showed up with sleeve tattoos, piercings everywhere, slamming beer after beer after beer and smoking like a locomotive! When I asked what he was doing now, he responded he currently was a bouncer at a strip club. JediTaz
Used to have this one kid in my art class in senior high who treated it like one of those "easy to pass" classes. He was a big guy, much bigger than the other students, and he'd use his size and strength to bully other kids. The smaller ones, he was a little b underneath it all.
He would draw guns and crosses in his art book with pseudo-gangster sayings like "live by da gun, die by da gun," and "F**k da police." You get the idea. Come reunion time, which was some 5 years later, he's found a girl who really reined him in and, kind of like a hunter taming a wolf, really turned him into a good man.
They had a baby boy, and he's a responsible father and does yoga on the rocks by the beach. Complete 180. I do think he was a good guy underneath it all, he just needed direction from someone who could break down his walls. lifesnotperfect
The end of the Rainbow....
A previous student of mine grew up in a horrible home situation. This individual was really smart and I did my best to help them apply/receive many scholarships and grants, and eventually went to an ivy league school to get away from their abusive home life. They made it big and I mean BIG - big time millionaire. Made their family jealous but in the end their hard work paid off. It was great to see and I was so proud of what they'd become. developingwaver
Some required reading....Giphy
At a reunion, my English teacher told me not to be an English teacher. Then we started pounding wine, and I complimented her on her (then) recent publication of a romance novel. It was actually a great read. I commented that she had clearly been naughtier than I'd previously realized. SourMelissa
You know it's not a great place to work when employees band together to walk out. Literally.
Unions were basically created for this reason, by having the working people band together to fight against being mistreated by corporations, they create power in numbers. Even without a formal union, there is still power in numbers--no company wants to be tasked with explaining themselves like that.