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We all know the power of a good teacher. They can affect your entire academic career, uplift your spirit, and even change the trajectory of your life!
So we recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about a time a teacher made a difference in their lives. Here are some of the best stories:
1."My English teacher offered our class help with college essays, and I was the only one to take her up on her offer. We began meeting on Zoom to go over my essays, but the funniest thing is we’d end up spending most of the hour just talking about life, Taylor Swift, and everything in between."
"After I submitted my last essay, I was extremely sad because I figured this meant I’d have no parental figure I could genuinely talk to about my troubles, free of judgment. But we kept meeting up every week, just to talk. She turned into my biggest cheerleader during college interviews, my shoulder to cry on when I received a rejection letter from my dream school, and, most importantly, my second mom who never failed to remind me of how much I mattered. To this day, we still talk. Much love to Mrs. Ramirez and teachers like her across the world."
2."I come from a very low-income background. I was advanced so I was sent to a gifted program across town in middle school. All the other kids were from middle- and upper-middle-class families. I was bullied incessantly for everything from my awkwardness to my thrift store clothes to my cheap glasses."
"One day, I broke my glasses in gym and went into hysterics. Not only would I be punished when I got home, but I also knew my family couldn't afford another pair. My guidance counselor took me out of school without telling my parents, took me to an optician, and got me a new pair that looked as close to my old ones as possible — all out of her own pocket. I will NEVER forget that, and I'm tearing up right now even as I type this. She saved me in so many ways that day. I wish I could find her and thank her."
3."My senior year of high school, I came out to my friends and family. My parents didn’t react too well at first, and I was having a rough time."
"I had a history teacher call me into her class after the dismissal bell. She looked me in the eyes and said, 'I’ve heard about what you’re going through, and I just wanted to tell you I think you’re really brave.' I broke down sobbing. It meant so much to me and I still think about it a lot."
4."My high school history teacher's parents were Holocaust survivors. I will never forget the day she told us her parents' story. She took the whole period to tell us, and the entire class was in tears."
"Our teacher told the story to every class, every year. She’s retired now and we still keep in touch, but that day in class was the most memorable moment from high school, and this was 14 years ago. She touched each and every one of her students. I wish there were more teachers like her, especially in this current climate, where people are starting to forget the past."
5."My school district had a deal with the local community college where high school students could attend college alongside high school and would earn an associate’s degree with their high school diploma. I applied to the program but was rejected."
"I was talking to my best friend while we happened to be leaving my history teacher’s class. He overheard me talking about me being rejected from the program and told me that I could do better. It was then he told me about his AP class, and he saw potential for me and my friend to join because we were at the top in his classes. I was a bit reluctant, but I accepted and took the class. Not only did I pass with a 5 on the AP exam, but I also received a bunch of awards from him and a promise to write a letter when I needed one for university. Honestly, if he hadn’t believed in me, I probably wouldn't have made it this far, now entering university with my major as history. He inspired me to become a teacher like him."
6."Fellow teacher here. I always looked up to my high school band director (who has since passed away, rest his soul) since he would really take the time to get to know each and every one of his students."
"He had a tendency (even after graduating) to greet me with 'hey, kiddo.' He is the biggest reason why I attended the college I did and became a band director myself."
7."I am now a middle school English teacher because my middle school English teacher was amazing. She was the first one to take the time to channel my hyperactive, ADHD personality into writing and theater. I think of her every single day I teach."
8."In fifth grade, I had a house fire. My teacher, student teacher, and switch teacher organized a party for me with the whole class. Everybody brought in presents, including the students in my class and my switch class."
"They also constantly checked up on my family. I will never forget them!"
9."I really struggled with math in high school. I could just barely pass the standardized tests. Then, along came Mr. Higgs."
"He caught on that I just don’t process math like most people. Not only did he show me how to do math the way my brain wants to do it, but he also taught me how to get through the exams. I went from a 60% average, which was just a pass at my school, to 90%. And I got 100% on my very final exam. I wonder how many more people who think they are bad at math just need a teacher to show them another way to do it."
10."In sixth grade, I was having a hard home life. I had lost my older brother and both my parents were working three jobs a piece to make ends meet. My history teacher and my science teacher took me under their wing."
"They followed my emotional well-being, made sure I always had lunch to eat, and lended an ear when I needed someone to talk to. My history teacher even attended my brother's funeral to show condolences. Even now, almost 15 years later, they both keep in touch with me and help mentor me through adulthood. I wouldn't be who I am today without them, and I don't think I would have made it through that year without them looking out for me."
11."I immigrated here in 1988. I got Mr. Sonny, who was the greatest teacher of all time. He realized that my English was limited and that I was being bullied."
"He pumped me up and gave me special attention to help with my homework. He assured my mom that I wouldn’t fail out of school. All the kids loved him, and he had a beautiful spirit. I wish he was my teacher for longer."
12."My high school chemistry teacher had all the smartest kids in her class…and me. I struggled and had undiagnosed ADD. She supported me without making me feel pitied or babied."
"She would go out of her way to make chemistry relevant to our lives. She made me feel respected, challenged, and excited about science in a way I never imagined I could."
13."I had the absolute worst time at school. I was the kid whom everyone bullied and most teachers had given up on. I was smart, but I was treated so badly that I didn't apply myself. During one lesson, I was getting bullied worse than normal, and I walked out to cry in the bathroom."
"A few minutes later, Ms. Carruthers left the lesson and came to find me. She sat on the floor and stayed with me, telling me that this was only temporary and I was going to go on to do amazing things. She was a young teacher; I think it was her first teaching job, so for her to risk her own ass by walking out of her lesson meant a lot. My bullying never got better but she always had my back. I'm 34 now; this was nearly 20 years ago and I've never forgotten it."
14."Mine was a math teacher in high school. I was having trouble understanding a concept and I went in during lunch one day to ask more questions. I felt super guilty about it because I was interrupting her lunch and making her 'deal with me' during her break time. After the third or fourth 'sorry,' she interrupted me, and said, 'Why are you apologizing?'"
"I told her it was because I felt guilty I was taking up her lunchtime and she said, 'Don’t ever apologize for asking questions and taking ownership of your learning. I would much rather have you ask questions and have me help you than to struggle. This is my job. This is what I’m here for.' It made a huge impression on me. After that, I didn’t feel so guilty for asking questions. I believe that moment was a major factor in my future school success all the way through college."
15."When I was in elementary school, I had a hard time reading. I was so bad, they wanted to hold me back for another year. My first-grade teacher literally spent a whole year tutoring me for free after school."
"We would spend about an hour reading and sometimes she would have us walk down to a nearby grocery store and buy us some soda and popcorn to snack on. Thanks to her, I wasn’t held back! To this day, she is the best teacher I ever had."
16."In eighth grade, our English teacher had to recommend you for English honors in high school. You had to have an A for the whole year and people who were interested in the honors class could do extra papers and reading assignments to boost their grade."
"I had a consistent 89 average for all four marking periods, but my teacher still recommended me for honors English because he saw me complete every extra assignment possible since I was determined to get into the honors course. I was accepted into honors and kept an A average for all four years of high school. Thank you, Mr. Forman, for teaching me that the effort is sometimes more important than the end result."
17.And finally, "During my sophomore year of high school, my friends started ditching class, drinking, and smoking pot. When I received a report card without any A's on it, I knew I couldn’t keep going down the same path they were or my future would be really bleak."
"I decided to focus on school, and I spent a lot of time by myself. It was very lonely. I had a history teacher who I really liked and who made history come alive for me. I started coming early to work on homework in her classroom and spent time during lunch there, too. She would chat with me, discuss history, or just let me work. It gave me a peaceful, safe place to be during a pretty hard transition in my life. I received a bachelor’s degree in history later, and she is the first person to inspire me to take that route. I’ll always be grateful. I honestly don’t think my life would have become what it is today if she hadn’t been so kind to me."
Has your life been positively impacted by a teacher? Tell your story in the comments below!
Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.