Teachers teach tons of students in their lifetime, but every teacher I’ve ever had always refers back to the one kid that left an impact on their teaching career and life forever.
Even if that impact was left by a negative experience like the stories the teachers share below.
For more stories, find the original article source at the end of the article.
“I knew she was in the foster care system, but one day she poured her story out to me. The year before, her mother told her she was sick and took her to the hospital. She said she was confused because she only had a cold, but figured her mom was just overreacting. Her mom legally abandoned her when they got there.She got her checked into a room and left without saying goodbye.
The poor sweet girl got left at a hospital at 13, while the mom kept her younger sisters. How do you ever overcome that?!
Here’s a little background information. I live in the United States, Id rather not say what state, but it must be legal here because she kept the other two sisters. She had depression, so maybe that is how her mom was able abandon her. My student followed her mom on Instagram and kept up with her sisters and mom through phone calls and text messages. This student had some major trouble with her foster mom (she wasnt supplying her with basics like feminine hygiene products, glasses, etc) and I called her social worker, so she moved schools after only a semester.
I kept in touch with her through emails for three years, and after a few runaway attempts she finally settled down and was on track to graduate high school this coming May. I quit teaching to stay home with my son, and I forgot to give her my personal email address. My school email got deleted, so I have no way of contacting her anymore. It is honestly the biggest regret of my life that I did not think to give her my email before mine deleted. I pray for her all the time, and occasionally search her name hoping to find her.”
“A little different story: I had a guitar student who played the biggest pile of junk guitar ever made. This was one of those student classical guitars they handed out to school kids in the 70’s. He refused to get another one.
The action (string height from fingerboard) was about an inch at the lowest, and the top was collapsing, making it virtually unplayable in it’s current form.
I tried multiple times to set it up or alter it so it would play better but he wouldn’t let anything be changed about it. He was very protective of this guitar.
Thinking he was just poor and couldn’t afford a new guitar, I tried to show him the cheapest new or even used guitars that would be so much better to practice with but he wasn’t interested in any other guitar.
I even offered to give him a guitar, free. Anything would be better than this unplayable piece of rotting wood he was banging on.
One day, after I am yet again begging him to try out this other guitar, he comes clean with me. He tells me when his mom died 2 years ago, she had that guitar sitting by her. She was trying to play guitar to take her mind off of her illness as she was dying.
The guy eventually did get another guitar. I stopped bugging him after he told me about his mom and tried to plug along with it.
One day he shows up to lesson with a guitar case and says he finally found the perfect guitar and he wants to start using it as soon as possible. He slowly opens the case for the big reveal.
It was an acoustic dreadnaught (your classic ‘country/folk’ looking guitar).
Yamaha or Fender, I forget, but it was one of those mass produced very common guitars. It was painted with a huge Union Jack flag on the front of the guitar. It looked like it was painted by hand, with a brush right over the actual finish. The paint was flaking. The neck was so warped. The strings were rusted, you would need shots if you tried to play this guitar. The thing was a dog.
‘I got it at the pawn shop for $100! Great deal right?!'”
“A girl with exceptional talent at the piano reached a point where she couldn’t focus on the notes due to vision problems.
I asked her when she’d last been to the eye doctor. She said her parents couldn’t afford it and had no insurance due to unemployment.
I offered to pay for a visit to my eye doctor, to which her parents gratefully agreed. The exam revealed that she had glaucoma and was suffering vision loss because of damage to the optic nerve.”
“He is the best student in the general chemistry class, by far.
He is living in his car because he was basically disowned by his parents when they found out he was homosexual. He ended up sleeping on my couch and another instructor’s couch for a month while we sorted out his financial aid and got him into some student housing.”
“I have a boy in my class. Hes super sweet but is extremely quiet. Majority of the students in my school have super loud personalities so he stands out like a sore thumb. With that being said, we had an assignment where the students were writing about what they learned in Super Kids.
Super Kids is essentially DARE with more information on internet safety, alcohol, and bullying.
He chose his topic on bullying and mentioned that he felt like taking his own life to another student because he has been bullied for years by a lot of other kids.
Thankfully that student told me so I could contact everyone possible to make sure he received all the help he needs.
This student is in 5th grade, is one of my top 3 students, and doesnt have a bad bone in his body. Kids are horrible and it breaks my heart to see this sort of thing coming from the voice of one of my sweetest students.”
“I’m a preschool teacher, but this breaks my heart. At my first preschool, in 2013, there was this little boy that none of the other teachers could really handle. He was about two, and he was in my very first ever class. The child was always high strung, full of energy and running around. We attributed this to him lacking stability in his life, bouncing around from him living with his aunt and uncle, then grandparents, then dad.
My mom wasn’t in the picture and we were told it was due to substance abuse. And then one day the kid disappeared. He was just gone. My director called his aunt weekly for a month, before just taking him off the roster. I was devastated.
Well, six months later he comes back, and is a completely different child. Dark circles under his eyes and was quiet. He didn’t even seem to remember me. On his first day back he accidentally knocked a little girl down while running and when she started crying he became petrified.
He sat under a table and stared at me without moving at all. I asked his aunt about it that night, and she told me the reason he disappeared is because his mother came home and got custody. They hadn’t seen him in almost as long as I had. She had seemed to be doing okay until a neighbor had called the cops for suspected domestic abuse, and when they arrived she was in the kitchen with a threatening to hurt this little boy. I don’t think I go a day without remembering this.”
“I once had a student that was very disruptive. He would make any random noise just to get a rise out of teachers. The funny thing was, he would act very remorseful once he was redirected, but it was starting to get really annoying.
He made friends with another teacher’s grandson and would hang out at her house on occasion till the visits became almost daily.
The teacher became close with him and it was revealed that he and his brother were emotionally neglected by their father.
His father had a new girlfriend and they had a baby. It turns out, his new girlfriend didn’t care for his kids and wanted him to focus on his ‘new family.’ The dad was eager to please her, so he essentially banned the kids from being around them. The poor kid just wanted someone to pay attention to him.”
“That the reason that my grade 12 student was falling asleep during math class was because he was working 40 hours a week to pay his parents’ bills. How do I know this? I saw his pay stub.
He was a great kid too.”
“I’m not entirely sure what it means but I run a little after school program for elementary school kids on improvement. Though since they’re so young (usually 1st to 3rd grade) we really just play theatre games and use make believe but they seem to enjoy it.
This one 8-year-old, we’ll call him Chester, has very alarming reactions to what he perceives as failure.
Multiple times a class I’d make a blanket statement and say, ‘okay everyone please stop talking and listen’ and Chester will be on the verge of or in tears every time and cry ‘but I wasn’t even talking’. As if I had been staring him in the eyes as I said it. Whether he was talking or not, it seemed that he felt personally attacked.
Another time we were playing a game that involved them freezing in different poses, and I’d lead them along and remind them to stay as still as possible.
Out of no where, Chester storms off and sits in the corner in tears. I ask him what’s wrong and he blurts, ‘I failed! I couldn’t stay still and I need to be punished’ it took about 5 minutes of explaining that it was all part of the game, that no one can stay still and no one fails anything in this class, to get him back with the rest of the group.
It was absolutely heartbreaking to have to argue with a child that he was not bad or wrong.”
“I don’t teach at school, but at a kids art studio. Two new pupils had signed up for a course. Their mother explained to me that they don’t speak Dutch yet because they fled from Egypt during the Arab Spring but that they came to the Netherlands because they already had family living here. The two girls behaved perfectly every week, and even learned a few Dutch words.
One of the first things the oldest one told me in Dutch was that her father doesn’t live any more. I was worried that she might’ve confused some words, but no, after class the mother could confirm that their father was indeed trampled during a violent protest.”
“When I started teaching 1st grade two years ago I had a student who developed a brain tumor towards the end of the year. Seeing him change from being happy and up beat to quiet and introverted after his diagnosis was heartbreaking.
He’s now in 3rd grade and although he’s still having chemotherapy he’s carrying on with school, doing the best he can and not letting his treatment get him down. I admire his spirit and determination.”
“I work at a school for children with learning disabilities. One of my students has autism and while Im not sure if that plays a role in this story, I feel I should include it.
So we were coming in for recess one day and this little boy (1st grader) decided to run to the door. On our porch theres a small trampoline we have to let energetic kids get out some energy if they are too distracted during a lesson.
So while I told him not to run he continued and stepped on the side of this little trampoline which came off the ground throwing him off balance. He took a pretty nasty fall straight to his knee which looked incredibly painful.
I was positive this was going to result in him hysterically crying and rightfully so because I winced at the thought of doing that myself. Well when I kneeled down next to him and asked if he was okay he didnt cry and just said yes. He was clearly in pain and was sort of dragging himself into my arms and another teachers arms while fighting off crying with everything he had.
I immediately felt heart broken and told him its okay to cry when you fall and hurt yourself. He got over it fairly quickly and limped into class. I was incredibly confused and wanted some answers.
I asked the other teachers in my class why this little guy did that and they said they werent sure. Well I remembered the teacher working next door had taught this kid before and decided Id ask her.
She told me he was raised in an orphanage in China and that there were so many kids there that he didnt learn to cry when he needed something like food or if he gets hurt.
Needless to say now I have an entirely new perspective on this kid that I hadnt had before.”
Points are edited for clarity.