We can never choose ONE favorite student. But there are always those students that leave a deeper impression. Whether we butted heads or recognized their indomitable spirits, some students are just unforgettable.
Recently, on our WeAreTeachers Facebook page, we asked teachers to tell us the stories of the students they will never forget. Some were funny, others were moving, but all of them show the dedication we have to helping our students be the best they can be.
The student who came around.
I had a student that I butted heads with every single day. She was so capable but fought me on everything. I never gave up on her and continued to encourage her, even with her fighting me every step of the way. Her last day of high school, she came to my room and hugged me, thanking me for pushing her and never giving up. Pretty sure I cried. —Cassie T.
The “bad” kid who just wanted someone to love him.
My second year of teaching, I had a little one who had been held back. He came from a rough family and had a reputation for being the “bad” kid. But, he was so, so sweet. He just wanted someone to love him. I was pregnant with my first, and one day he wrapped his arms around me and placed his chin on my belly. He said, “I wish I was that baby in your belly so you could be my mama.” I think about him all the time. —Rebecca W.
A student who fought the odds.
He was a seventh grader. This boy took care of his siblings, tried so hard to keep up with school work, and was struggling not to get pulled into gang life. He brought a BB gun to school to return it to a friend and was expelled. His parents either couldn’t or wouldn’t go to court with him, so he wasn’t let back into school. I moved away right after and hadn’t heard what happened to him. I thought the worst until he found me on Facebook to tell me that he got his GED, went to college, and is now a youth pastor with a family. —Mandy W.
The student who proved me right.
My first year teaching, I was blessed to have a girl with Down syndrome. She had an aide who I became very close to (and we’ve remained friends since), and I was told by my principal at the time that “she’ll never be able to read, so focus on the rest of your first graders.” Challenge accepted! As soon as she was able to read a book on her own, I proudly walked down with her in tow, to his office so he could hear her read. I will NEVER forget her, and I keep in contact with her family to this day. She’s doing GREAT! —Amanda L.
May he rest in peace.
I had a student who struggled with school and home life after coming out. He was the most loving kid with the greatest smile. I was so incredibly proud to watch him cross the stage at graduation. He wanted to go into education and would have been absolutely a gift to those who worked with him. He passed away due to an overdose not too long after. If only he know just how loved he was by the staff and our community.—Alexia S.
The student who used music to help find his way.
In one of my piano classes, I got a senior. Kind of the jock type, his parents were teachers at the school, and he was really popular and well known. He had been in band in elementary school but never stuck with it. In one year of piano class, he worked so hard he played Scott Joplin’s Entertainer for his final. (The real version, not an easy one). As he was leaving that day, he stopped and told me something I’ll never forget. We had a school shooting the year before. No one died, but it was traumatic for everyone. He had been in the classroom where it happened. He told me he had been so angry since then. And he didn’t have anywhere to put that emotion until he took piano. And he thanked me for helping him discover this place where he could focus and sort out his emotions in a positive way. Yeah. Those are the moments. —Amanda O.
A strong bond was formed.
I had a seventh grader wise beyond her years. She and I would share glances when something stupid was happening in class. She would dye her hair all sorts of colors. We had our own book club. She would bring me song lyrics that meant something to her. When she went to eighth grade, she would come by my first period every Monday to share memes she saved just for me thought the previous week. When she couldn’t come, I missed her. —Shanna A.
A student who inspired me.
He had brain cancer (diagnosed in kindergarten, I had him in the 6th grade). Regardless of all the hardships he’d faced, he was always positive and kind to others. We developed a really close bond during that year together. Since then, his cancer came back, but he’s still fighting with everything he’s got, and he’s a huge inspiration to me and our school community. We’ve renamed an award at our school after him, and I’ve got a tattoo in honor of him (a line from a speech he gave to his classmates, along with the date of his first day in my class, and my first official day as a teacher) on my left forearm, so I can’t forget him even if I wanted to! This year, he’s passed his driver’s test, and he’s graduating from high school! I’m inspired by his spirit and strength every single day. —Christopher B.
The student who won me over.
A student really got on my nerves at the beginning of the first semester because of his behavior. Now, he comes by every morning and sometimes during transitions to talk to me about his day, and I actually look forward to his visits. —DeAndre F.
The student who went from hating me to standing up for me.
I had a kid who hated me and would push my limits. I finally pulled him aside. Instead of getting on him for his behavior, I asked what he needed in order to be successful. I told him what I needed. We agreed to make an effort. He told me no one had ever asked him. They always just labeled him as the bad kid. I said, I don’t see that in you. I believe in you and want to have a good semester with you. Our relationship blossomed from there. One of the units we did was reading strategies through watching “Dead Poets Society.” If you have seen the movie, you’ll understand how impactful his actions were. On my last day, he stood up on his desk and said, “O’ Captain, my Captain.” One by one, each kid stood up and did the same. He had secretly been planning this with the class for weeks. I will never forget him or that moment. —Amber B.
There’s always that one.
With all of its ups and downs, tough days and inspiring moments, there’ll always be those students teachers will never forget.
Hop over to our WeAreTeachers Facebook group to tell us about the students who YOU will never forget.
Plus, check out 25 #SorryNotSorry Things Teachers Secretly Do but Won’t Admit