19. The most rewarding and heartbreaking job
My teaching career is pretty varied. One school was a private school, the other was rural first nation school. Once they turn 18 and are graduated, if they add me, I'll add them. I like to show you can transition from a professional relationship to a casual one appropriately. As long as I generally trust the student.
So success is measured very differently. The private school ensured every girl graduated and went to university, so some are doctors, excellent research scientists, or on their way in business and law. These amazing successes are expected.
At the first nation school, we just had two of our grads go to college for cooking and mechanic tech. This is a huge success in the eyes of the school and community.
Both have students who are struggling, whether it's too much partying and enabling from parents to parents who are struggling with addiction which in turn leads the youth to addiction. It plays out, and it's hard to watch as a teacher.
I love every student I have/had, they all deserve a healthy life with purpose. This job is the most rewarding yet heartbreaking position.
And I wouldn't change it for the world.
20. The teacher that made an impact on a student’s life
I taught GED classes for a while. The kids were 16-21 and mostly referred by the courts and this was the last step before going to prison or juvie or something. Some were referred by social services or the Social Security or welfare office. These kids had everything against them and usually the best you could hope for was for them to show up and do a little work. It was a sad group of kids. Pretty dismal.
There is one young woman (now late 20's) who just kind of got her stuff together, stopped hanging around people who brought her down, and really is doing well as a functioning member of society. It sounds like easy stuff that makes sense but that really took her leaving where she lived and all her friends and starting anew. That is pretty darned difficult for anyone to do.
I remember she bounced in and out of my class for a year and a half and when I finally strong-armed her into taking the GED exam, she was surprised at how easy it was. She was a smart kid but never believed in herself. For reference, a passing score on the GED is normed at 40th percentile for graduating seniors. That means 40% of graduating high school seniors probably could not pass it. It isn't a super easy exam, but it isn't impossible for most people.
She wrote me this last year: "Through my whole life you're the only teacher I have kept in touch with and can really say you have made an impact on my life." That's the stuff that sticks with you.