Teachers can easily have more than a hundred students under their instruction across several different classes every year, so it means a lot to them when a student stands out, as we learned when Redditor ZucchiniFace44 asked: "Teachers of Reddit, what was your "That student's going places" moment?"
"A girl in my class..."
A girl in my class last year had a tough home life. Her father left, her mother was disabled, and her little brother was going down the wrong path. She had to hold the family together. She had to drive her mom to doctor's appointments, discipline her brother by taking his phone away when he acted up, and worked a full time job.
When she came to class she got straight to work and worked up to the bell because she didn't have time to come to tutoring. Every time she had to miss class because she had to take her mother to the doctor, she would let me know a couple of days in advance so she could get her work and stay caught up with the class.
I truly believe hard work is more valuable than natural talent. I trust she'll be successful in her life.
"I kept in touch with him..."
4th Grade teacher here! Half the way into one year, this student James learned trigonometry and began learning calculus immediately after that. I kept in touch with him and he had finished learning practically all of calculus by 7th grade. I even tested him and he got over 90% right! He's in high school now. Can't wait to see where he ends up!
"About 10 years ago..."
I'm a dance teacher. About 10 years ago, I made a passing correction to a class of 9 year olds about something really specific. Several months later, this one little girl was still making sure she remembered that specific thing every lesson (as well as every other correction she'd ever been given - this one just stood out because it was such a tiny, specific detail, none of the other kids even remembered it the next week). She was naturally talented and a hard worker, and I knew that level of attention to detail would take her really far. She's now doing really well in the commercial dance world, and I called it first, so that's my claim to fame.
"I usually hung around..."
Taught English in Japanese middle schools for the 2016-2017 school year. The seventh graders were just (officially) starting to learn English. I usually hung around after school to chat with the students, helped them with English hw/questions, or just stuck around during their club activities. One seventh grader (1st year of middle school in Japan) came up to me early in the year and started talking with his very limited English. Normally the students would be self conscious about making mistakes or not knowing how to say something, but he kept trying and didn't let the mistakes bother him. Over the year he was one of the best English speakers in his grade and his classmates often asked for his help when talking to me. He was in the student government/representative group thing, but as he was just a seventh grader he was like low level.
I went back to the school a couple months ago to attend their graduation, and also to see how far he's come since I last saw him. I couldn't spot him during the ceremony, but near the end when one of the staff members asked the head/leader of the student representative group to come up and they called his name, my immediate thought was "of course it's you."
I got to see the students and congratulate them afterwards. Of course I spoke with him again and caught up a little. He just started high school and is doing well so far, and I'm looking forward to see him continue to do well. I've told all my students that I look forward to seeing them again if/when they come to the US in college and show them around, but he is definitely one of the ones I hope to be able to continue to foster and encourage his education and life.
"I did that thing..."
Me teaching honors biology:
"Hey guys, today we will be delving a little deeper into the digestive system."
Student raises hand, "will we be going... bowels deep?"
I did that thing where you try to hold back a laugh but end up essentially blowing your own nose on your face. This kid was brilliant, star lacrosse player, and witty to boot. I couldn't help but acknowledge his comment.
"The first thing I thought..."
Formerly a teacher. Pre K- I saw a student playing with a toy, just as happy as can be. I then see another student (very sweet little girl, but also very sassy) come up with another toy, tell the first student that he wants to play with said toy, so she could take the one he was playing with. Kid gives up what he is playing with for the new toy. She walks away with the biggest smirk.
The first thing I thought was that she will work on Wall Street one day.
"Girl came as a Somali immigrant..."
Girl came as a Somali immigrant, spent some time in a refugee camp before coming. My first year of teaching at a pretty rough school and she was the most driven, sweet little seventh grader. She's graduating in a couple years and she's in all AP classes.
"I was teaching a pop singing program..."
I was teaching a pop singing program and a totally weird, tall, red headed girl with a huge personality came in. When she spoke, she had this sort of gawky, never-stops-joking personality but the moment she sang she was completely vulnerable and real. She was every kind of different all at once and we fell in love with her.
A season later, Catie Turner placed seventh on American Idol. Nice work, Catie.
"I've had so many."
I've had so many. I've been lucky enough to teach some incredible, ambitious, kind, compassionate and intelligent students. The first debate team I had were funny and smart and would talk about space and geopolitics for fun. One now in getting her PhD in Astrophysics from Stanford (after graduating from MIT), the other is high up in a microlending non-profit. One student was just a dream to coach and learned an event from me easily, getting championships...shes VP in an international business firm and divides her time between the US and China.
I have students who became doctors, built hospitals in other countries, created NGOs, fiercely advocated for the disenfranchised, teach with compassion, create amazing art, perform internationally... and many who turn out to be really good people. I love seeing updates on their lives. I love seeing their posts on social media where they are passionate about what they believe in. It's one of the best parts of the job.
"Every day he would come in..."
I used to tutor for kids with learning differences at a Place called Shelton School in Texas. I taught an English class in the morning and a Lego robotics course in the afternoon. A lot of the kids in the Lego robotics course had a hard time keeping up, and were in groups of two to four kids that were helping build one kit.
But there was one kid, named Ranen, who never needed help. He had a group, but generally worked by himself without any need of assistance from any instructors or classmates. He even figured out how to program the robot without us having to give out instructions.
Every day he would come into that class with the biggest smile on his face, ready to work from the start to the end of class. Great kid, worked his butt off, inspired the class to do their best, and was once of the sweetest most enthusiastic kids I've ever met.
Minimum wage is often paid by some of the most physically and emotionally intensive work—service industry jobs. Having to work in a hot kitchen all day or deal with irate customers while being paid less than you need to survive is not exactly the best situation to be in.