Most of us have experienced and understand the student side of a student-teacher relationship, but not a lot of us get to experience the teacher side of it. Well, some teachers say it’s the best experience in the world and below are 20 instances, each narrated by a teacher themself, that reminds them why.
My first year teaching was also the year that the American Girl doll store opened up in my city. Naturally, all of the girls had the catalogue and were constantly looking at it. While talking to a parent, she asked me what I thought about the American Girl dolls, her daughter wanted one but the mom wasn’t sure if she should get it because of the price.
I mentioned that I had always wanted one of the dolls but never got one for the same reason, the price. But I also let her know that her daughter was doing great and school both in academics and behaviour, so if she thought she could afford it, why not. You’re only young once.
On the last day of school, the mom came to school to pick up her daughter and had a gift for me. I opened the bag and there was “Molly”. Her and her daughter decided to buy me the doll and made all of my 8-year-old dreams come true.
Needless to say I cried. A lot. It was hands down the most thoughtful, wonderful gift I have ever received.
My first class I taught on my own (no co-teacher or supervisor), I had a student who didn’t participate much in class.
She did her work, kept her head down and people thought she got a bit of an attitude. I loved her writing, and always mentioned to her that her writings could make people feel – love, laughter and other strong emotions. And that’s what writing is about.
At the end of the year, she wrote me a letter telling me no one had ever said she was a good writer before. I was the first English teacher to encourage her to write. I have laminated that letter (and a few other letters and cards like that) and keep them for days when I need to remind myself why I teach.
My husband suddenly fell ill and unexpectedly passed away one winter.
While I was out of school the two weeks he was in the hospital and the week of Christmas vacation, I had student papers sent home for me to check. I couldn’t concentrate for long, it was becoming my worst Christmas ever.
The Sunday evening before I was to return I was feeling pretty low, as I was most of the week. So I grabbed a pile of papers to check as a distraction.
A wonderful high school student had slipped into the stack a long note expressing her sympathy and telling me how much I meant to her and all of her classmates. It also said “You are stronger than this,” something I used to say when a student was feeling low.
That note gave me the courage to face the world again.
I am a teacher myself, but I think the kindest thing I have experienced was from the staff, parents and children from the school my mum worked at for 13 years.
My mum was an art teacher and passed away quite suddenly, which was a shock to everyone and so hard on the children. The school closed for the day for the funeral and staff, parents, pupils and ex-pupils organized the wake (a tea party – trust me this is what my mum would have wanted, she loved cupcakes) to be at the school in the hall.
They also collected memories of my mum and made a room dedicated to her, all the children wrote a memory of her, and lots of them made arts and crafts. After the funeral they made the memories into a book for my family, every single child and their parents contributed. Also, even beyond all they had done, they then went further to raise a lot of money for the charity my mum supported and made a large donation in her name.
I was a mid-year hire to replace a teacher who left to be a stay-at-home-mom. She had totally checked out by the end of the fall semester and did most of her teaching from a sitting position behind a projector in the back of the room. So when I took over and I was actively moving around the room and teaching at the board, I had several students express their gratitude for being an engaged teacher.
One of my classes pulled their money together to get t-shirts printed with a phrase that I commonly said in class. It was hilarious to walk in one day to see they all had this shirt on and were so proud of themselves.
One girl in particular wrote me the most beautiful thank you card during teacher appreciation week towards the end of the school year saying I was the best math teacher she ever had and she was actually starting to enjoy math because of me.
I don’t teach anymore. But I still have that card.
I am an instructor at a large university and am blessed with the responsibility of teaching one class with less than 25 students. I’ve been here a quit a few semesters, and I’ve had my fair share of students who say that they have switched majors to the major I’m a part of because they enjoy my class so much. It feels good to hear that I’m helping refine someone’s life path, but the following takes the cake:
In a previous semester I had this student. He was a transfer student from a community college. He wasn’t the brightest, nor was he the hardest working. He kept to himself most of the time, but he had this knack of always finding humor and making the class laugh. Halfway through the semester, the class was assigned to give individual, personal presentations allowing for the use of stories and/or personal experiences.
Nearly the entire class had emailed me prior to their presentation with questions regarding how I felt about the topics they were present on – nearly everyone but him. I reached out to him and asked him if he was doing well, just to check in. He quickly replies with a vague reply about what he was working on, and what his presentation topic would be.
I didn’t want to force him to tell me his topic area, because I didn’t want to pry. It wasn’t required for the students to clear their topics with me, but I suggested they could do it for guidance.
Then comes the day of his presentation.
I wasn’t sure what he was going to present. Half of me expected him to give a humorous presentation, as per his usual behaviour in class. However, his presentation was far from that. It was a beautiful memoir of how he overcame his depression after being sexually assaulted as a child and is trying to become a stronger human everyday.
I didn’t expect it. No one did. His presentation was one of the best presentations of the semester, and probably one of the best I had seen so far.
After the class I walked out of the building to go to my office, and I saw him sitting outside alone. I approached him and thanked him for sharing his story, and commended him for his courage to share something that personal with the class. He looked at me and his said something I cherish to this date.
“I should thank you actually. I feel comfortable in your class. I am inspired by your energy and love for everyone. You’re the only professor I have that keeps me attending this university. Honestly, If it wasn’t for you, I don’t think I’d be still enrolled here. I would like to grow up into a person like you.”
To be honest, I don’t compare my students with each other. They all are very special to me. I don’t treat them as my students, they are part of my life and very close to my heart. But there is this one student who never failed to impress me.
This little girl is 8 years old and is in 3rd Grade, originally from Pakistan and now living in USA. She is very curious and is often asking me all sorts of questions. I don’t how the conversation got there, but she was telling me that she agrees that has got different sections in her brain. One for food, one for studies, two for games, etc. I was really enjoying the conversation, so I asked her, “What if you have to fill all those sections with just one thing?? “
I was expecting her to say chocolates, candies, toys or something along that line. But I got stumped when I heard her answer. She said that one thing is going to be “Good Memories”.
I was speechless. I can’t express how much that little angel impacted me by that answer.
She is average in studies and her parents always complain about it. Once her mom started scolding her in front of me for her performance in school test and I was wondering do marks on score card define the capabilities of a student.
I teach private trombone lessons in middle schools.
A couple weeks ago I was working with a 6th grade beginner who was finally making some serious progress after weeks of struggling to figure out the mechanics of making a pleasant sound by buzzing into a long bendy piece of metal.
As we were playing some long tones, an 8th grader who I’ve taught for the past 2 years opens the door to the practice room. This kid has been through some stuff since I’ve known him and he isn’t always the nicest, or most socially graceful of the middle school boys I teach.
He looks right at the awkward little 6th grader and said something along the lines of:
“You sound great man! I remember hearing you when you first started at the beginning of the year and you’ve made a ton of progress! Keep it up!”
Seeing my formerly troubled student act with such maturity and kindness, and seeing how happy it made the younger boy was amazing. I may have teared up a tiny bit.
I work at a learning centre.
A small kid came up to me one day, hugged me, told me he loved me, and gave me a necklace with those little plastic letter beads on it that spelt out my name. Then this kid showed me his necklace and said he went out with his parent on the weekend, all of them were getting this necklace made so he thought I should get one too.
I still have that necklace. Always reminds me why teaching is the best job in the world.
On my birthday last year, my second-grade students were acting particularly out of control. In an attempt to reign them in I said, ‘How can you guys be so mean to me on my birthday.’ And everybody was quiet and settled. The day went well, everyone was really nice to me.
After school, I was called to the office. When I walked up, I saw my shyest student standing there with his mom. He had asked her to take him to the store immediately after school so he could get me a birthday present.
It was an adorable pair of earrings that looked like rulers. It made my whole day better, and I made a point to wear them often for the rest of the year.
The best gift I ever received was a letter from my worst behaved student in my mailbox after the last day of the school year, just one week into the holidays, explaining how thankful he was for having me as a teacher because, as he wrote, ‘We may have had our ups and downs, but you never gave up on me.’
I suddenly felt children are more sensitive and grown up than we think they are.
I’m a band teacher, and this is my first year as a teacher. Honestly, so far it has been kind of rough.
It seems like the parents aren’t pleased with what I’m doing, I got on the wrong side of the loudest parent a couple weeks back and I have had several parents actually yell at me over random things. The principal has to back the parents and so isn’t happy with me either.
I know I can never be a strict teacher and I think I don’t really have to because music can’t be and shouldn’t be forced on anyone. This art demands extreme passion and self motivation.
Anyway, I was helping one of my students learn music for “Honour band” auditions after school. After we finished up, she told me that her mom noticed a vast improvement since the start of the year. She also told me that her elder sister, who happens to be in one of the senior classes, thinks I’m one of the best junior school music directors to teach at the school in over 5 years.
At this point I started tearing up. It was the first time I was complimented on how my new job. That was only last week and It meant a lot to me.
I had a student with Autism. We developed a tradition at lunch where I would ask for one of his cookies and he would say no. Sometimes I would act like I was going to take one and he would grab them. As I walked away, he would hug his cookies and smile. It was our daily joke.
On Monday morning of Teacher Appreciation Week, he realized he didn’t get me anything and started to panic. I kept reassuring him that it was ok, but he continued deeper into a “meltdown.” He ran to his lunchbox and pulled out a cookie and gave it to me.
I would have kept that cookie forever if he hadn’t been so excited to see me eat it.
I will call this student S.
I was appointed as “the new teacher” to a batch of secondary school. I could see the classroom bonds were strong and feel my alienation from time to time. I was nervous!
I think the children sensed this, and so they were testing me to see how far they could go. I was getting a bit frustrated by the fact that they were closing in on me. I tried to use an authoritative voice and posture. Everyone seemed to respond and settled down, but S gave me this look as if to say, I thought you were different.
What struck me about S was the very clear leadership skills he possessed. He began to rile them up, and single-handedly brought the class to a state of frenzy. Another striking thing was that he was sensitive and aware beyond what his age people are.
When he found that I was almost to the point of losing control, he literally said to the rest of the class, Okay guys, let us settle down now and listen. The class time is almost over, he must finish what he set out to. And it wasn’t condescending, but genuine.
Later that day I called him and thanked him. I told him he was a natural leader and that he should use his influence to help and not to lead astray. I explained to him what he had done and he seemed surprised.
He told me he liked me as a person because I spoke to him as a person and not a student who didnt know anything. He told me he loved that I treated him like a 14 year old adult.
The concept stayed with me throughout my tenure. I was interacting with 14 year old adults who were just younger than me and needed respect and compassion.
S told me that some students will be motivated by fear, some by interest and some by obligation. But some would strive to do the work because they loved the teacher. Then he said to me, “I like how you treat me, that is why I like what you teach.”
Years later he messaged me and told me that he became the adult that I treated him like. It was an exhilarating feeling of pride and love and gratification that I had never felt before and that I always remember.
I have two beautiful stories from a 5th grade class I worked with as their reading teacher.
First, I had a kid who was ALWAYS distracted, but genuinely tried his best. Sweetest little guy.
One day he walks up to my desk with an expression of pure joy, his face red with smile stretching up-to his ears. Proudly he reaches my desk and suddenly his expression was replaced by the most baffled face I’ve ever seen. He then solemnly said, “Miss, my thought just chugga-chugga-choo-choo’d away.” Heavily he marched back to his desk and sat down while I tried not to die laughing.
On my last day as a teacher, before I had to switch to subbing due to health needs, a boy who’d been giving hell to every teacher the entire year came up and gave me a hug.
This kid had a hard situation and would try everything in the book to get out of class, which was why he was my “partner” in class projects. I’d take as much time as we needed to get through a page, and be very patient with him.
So, he hugged me as I was leaving and said I was his favourite teacher because I never got mad, and I needed to come and sub his class, so he’d know I hadn’t ditched him forever.
I held it together until he left, and cried in the car, and you better believe I took every sub job to his classroom that year.
The kid is finally in a better situation and I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes all it takes is “a lot of love”.
I am a school teacher and I once had a student, who was often the notorious one, come to my desk, just when the class got over and everyone was running out, and say,
“Mister. I just realized. Teaching is a hard job. I couldn’t imagine doing what you do every day. You’re really good at it.”
Everything went back to normal, he seemed to have forgotten that he said something like that, but I was deeply moved in that fraction of second.
In the middle of teaching a math lesson to my fourth graders, I got a paper cut. I said ouch, and then spent a grand total of about two seconds looking down to examine the damage.
When I looked up, one little boy was already standing in front of me holding a band aid. So darn sweet.
On my first year of teaching kindergarten, a parent asked of I could help their daughter using glasses. She felt under confident wearing them.
So when she came to class with them the next day I told her how beautiful she looked, but she didn’t believe me. The next day I wore glasses and came to the school, and she said to me “oh you are the most beautiful teacher, you look wonderful” and that gave her the security she needed. She proudly wore her glasses from then on.
I took an extra week off after New Years to bury my father (a few years back).
My first day back, I’m in my classroom, getting ready for second period (I didn’t have first) and a student comes in a minute early and says, “Sir, I’m sorry about your Dad.”
I smiled, said Thank you, and turned towards the blackboard to finish something. When I turned back, he was gone. I spotted him walking into the classroom across the hall. That’s when I realized he was in my period 3 class, not period 2. He could’ve waited 45 minutes to say something, but he made that little extra effort to see me and bless my day before I start my regular day at school.
I ended up as a high school English teacher straight out of college.
They were all nice kids and though I had some hiccups initially, things were running pretty smooth towards the end. When I decided to quit after getting a job in journalism, my actual profession, this one girl whom I had helped a lot over the year ran up to me, hugged me tight and said, ‘ma’am please don’t go, you’re the only one who understands me.’
Being young and still fresh into the adult-job life I could totally understand where she was coming from and what this bond meant for her.
She started crying and I ended up crying with her.
On the way back I was thinking about all the amazing teachers I had and how they had really impacted my life.
A good teacher helps you like your parent, sometimes even better than them.