We all have our favorite teachers. We all have teachers whose guts we hated. And then, regardless of our own stance, many of us have teachers who we simply respected—like, dislike, it didn’t matter. We respected them for whatever they did.
AskReddit has been answering this very question not too long ago: Redditors were sharing stories, whether wholesome or just plain badass, with internauts about the things teachers did that made students respect them.
In particular, user u/ApacheAirCover asked people to share their stories of their respect for teachers in a now-viral Reddit thread that has gained over 57,000 upvotes with 10,000+ comments and 300 Reddit awards.
Check out the best stories in Bored Panda’s curated list below. While you’re there, why not vote and comment on the stories you loved the most, and share your experiences with teachers you respect in the comment section below!
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When I was in the 1st grade my mother gave me one of MANY really awful haircuts. The first day back at school afterward the kids picked on me horribly. So much that I ran out and hid. The principal found me and we went back to the classroom and he asked me to wait outside for a minute while he talked to the class. He then walked me to his office and bought me a Coke.
The next day - first thing in the morning - we had an assembly with the entire school and he walked up on stage with his head shaved completely bald and talked about bullying and the like.
Some twenty years down the road he had retired and I ran into him at the local college. SHook his hand and said:
- "You probably don't remember me, but,"
- "Yes I do," he interrupted and said my name and the event.
The man was and is a hero in my eyes.
When I was a kid we had to purchase these red punch cards to get lunch at school. Unfortunately we didn't have that much money so there were times where my punch card would run out and I wasn't able to eat for a while until we got enough money to repurchase another one (why nobody in my family applied for assistance was beyond me). I had one teacher who noticed I wasn't eating every day and she would bring an extra sandwich and offer it to me whenever she saw that. I really didn't understand how kind that was when I was a kid but obviously as an adult That was such an amazing gesture of kindness.
I had a sociology professor who gave us a Do Not Fail Checklist. Complete and you were guaranteed to pass. I also had a high school Chem teacher who bet us all $100 that if we passed his class we would pass our first college chem class. He was just really awesome all around- he told stories about travelling the world over breaks, got absurdly off topic to teach us random stuff, had a physics lab where we got to throw eggs at him, and occassionally we had a class where absolutely nothing got done because we were having a discussion. He used to give out quarters for correcting him, or for anything done really well. He put up posters about his trips and gave us extra credit quizes about them because he said being observant was really important in chemistry. Actually there were a few really weird activities in that class- I will never forget the time he ate chalk to prove to us that it was the same stuff as in milk. He was brilliant, hilarious, and just a really incredible human being.
Junior year of high school, English class. We were discussing a story we had read. One student (let's call him Carl,) made a point. The teacher was dismissive and basically said Carl was wrong.
The next day, after we took our seats the teacher said, "Before we begin, I was thinking about what Carl said yesterday. I was wrong to dismiss it so quickly. Let's take a look at that again."
He then went on to repeat Carl's point and initiate a conversation with the entire class. After the conversation, it became apparent Carl's point was indeed off base, but I was impressed the teacher publicly owned his mistake and went down the path he should have.
My astronomy teacher in high school was a textbook nerd. Glasses, bow tie, mustache, pocket protector, the whole deal. There was a group of senior girls that would mock him mercilessly. One day, he noticed a pack of cigarettes hanging out of one of their purses. As he walked by during his lecture, he reached down and pulled one cigarette out of the box. He proceeded to insert the tip of the cigarette into his nose and continued the lesson like nothing was wrong. This dude must’ve kept that cigarette hanging in his nose for 30 minutes without mentioning it once.
At the end of class, he casually walked back to the girl’s desk, grabbed the pack out of her purse, inserted the nose cigarette, then shook the pack and handed it back to the girl without a word.
It was such a baller move. Rock on, Mr. Keith.
i told my english teacher about my unfortunate experience at my last school (just stupid people treating me like crap) and he approached me after class and said "hey, i'm sorry that happened to you. y'know there is a phrase in the english language that i think you ought to know. f*ck them".
I had a business studies teacher who used to be a mental health professional. So she knew the signs when my depression was particularly bad (for example submitting work at 3am) and would always make sure I had eaten and offered me coffee and generally made her classroom a safe space for anyone. Sesstein if you're reading this you're amazing!!
My highschool science teacher paused class to rip a student apart for bullying another student. Called it out as soon as it happened, infront of everyone, and that bully never went near that other kid again. Will always remember that.
Math teacher : "I don't care if you have good grades or bad grades, if you work hard, I will work harder to make you pass".
He worked hard for me; I passed...
Treated kids with autism + aspergers like actual human beings.
In my school I was in a special needs unit for kids with aspergers and autism called the CDU (communication disorder unit). The kids in there ranged from having mild aspergers to full on severe autism, and as such most teachers treated everyone from there like they had severe mental health problems just because they were labelled as having autism or aspergers even if it was very mild. But there was one support teacher in the cdu who was genuinely just a nice dude, whether he was talking to kids who had severe autism or just some mild social anxiety he wouldn’t talk extra slowly or call you “bud” or “pal” at the end of a sentence, he would talk to everyone like they were real human beings. It might seem like a small thing but when that’s how pretty much all teachers talked to you and treated you in every class it was very refreshing to talk to someone who would talk to you based on who you were as a person rather than treating someone differently for being labelled as autistic.
This will probably get lost, but I want to shout out this teacher of mine. She was our AP English Language teacher for our senior year of high school. On one of the first days in her class, she explained how she went from being a kindergarten teacher to a high school senior teacher.
She always saw off her cute and happy kindergarten kids, but as they grew up and they came back to visit her, a lot of them came to her troubled and dissatisfied with their lives. It made her real emotional about how people had treated these kids she loved so much, how she couldn't afford to see kids so disconnected with life, and how she didn't want them to suffer as they headed out towards college and their adult lives.
So she changed curriculums and started teaching seniors. If I remember right, it always came down to sending her kids off with a smile, prepping them for the real world.
I respect the hell out of her and she'll always be one of my favorites. Truly like a mother to all her students.
I remember my 5th grade teacher had every student circle one book from the Scholastic book fair flyer. When the day came for the fair if you didn't go to the library to purchase that book for yourself, she would buy it with her own money to make sure every student got to take a book home. I wouldn't have had any books of my own if it weren't for her.
Instead of shouting at my loud class for not shutting up before the lesson began, my history teacher decided to quietly tell the story of a pink elephant that wanted to be an astronaut. After a few seconds, people started to shut up and listen about the pink elephant. When everyone was quiet and listening, he stopped mid-story.
As much as it made me respect him.. WHY DIDN'T YOU FINISH THE STORY FFS! THAT CLIFFHANGER!
I had a teacher in elementary school who was prone to outbursts. He had a short fuse, at least compared to every other adult I knew at the time. For instance, when several of us in class weren't listening he'd throw a piece of chalk against the wall to get our attention.
Honestly, we just thought he was crazy.
A year or maybe two years later, the school had a talent show. Like a big one, in the gym, in front of everyone. One my classmates was really into music and wanted to play a drum solo. Our teacher had mentioned off-hand that he used to be in a band and played drums, so my classmate asked him (sort of dared, like kids often do with adults) to play a solo in front of the school
And he did. He f!@#$%^ rocked it.
But that's not what made me respect him. Turns out the band he played for was a very successful, and at the time quite popular rock band. He left just before they became popular, because he wanted to be a teacher. He chose teaching kids over the chance at fame and fortune, and didn't regret it.
Decided to look him up and he's still a teacher, and doing very well. Made me smile.
It was small but he told us he was going to be in a bad mood that day because someone stole his bike. Just treating us like people was something that was rare in that school.
A math teacher went to the hospital several times to visit a student who had been seriously injured in an accident.
The teacher offered companionship, free tutoring, and genuine encouragement.
I had a professor that made it crystal clear that if we ever made an appointment and didn’t show up, he’d take 5 points off of our final grade.
I tried to find him during office hours and he wasn’t available. I told him that I deserved an extra 5 points because he wasn’t available when he said he would be and he gave it to me in the interest of fairness
My teacher was asking a student in the hallway to quiet down, as they were disrupting her class. The student proceeds to not quiet down and begins bombarding the teacher with teenage insults, the teacher who if you can imagine is a short-ish hippy lady in her late 50's, one of the nicest people I know and would always have time to help you with an assignment regardless what she was currently doing. Anyway, the student, who is still raging starts walking away from my teacher, and the first words my teacher says to him after asking him to quiet down is "I'm sorry, have a good rest of your day." It took me some time to understand what she did that day, she knew that the student wasn't angry at her for asking him to be quiet he was angry due to personal reasons and he was just lashing out. And she let the student release some of that anger towards her, and when it was done she responded with only kindness after hearing hate for minutes. I have a solid amount of respect for almost all teachers but for her I have the most. She taught me that kindness can only be spread through kindness.
I had a physical education teacher who organised basketball, volleyball, handball and football tournaments, organised 'olympic games' for the local kids and taught us dancing on weekends. On his own. Just for us kids, because we lived in a remote place without many activities and things going on. He was more than a simple teacher.
I went to a small charter school for middle school. Our English/literature teacher was brand new to teaching, if I remember correctly she was only 22 which seemed old at the time. She always did her best to be so cheerful and make learning fun. But the thing that truly solidified her spot as my favorite teacher was that for every student’s birthday she would give you a personalized mini notebook. It was just a simple small composition notebook but she had filled the first couple pages telling me how much she loved having me as a student, how far she knew I would go, and other affirmations. It seems small but as a 13 year old who had a crappy home life it made all the difference in how I acted the rest of the year.
One of my high school math teachers had a policy that you could retake any test as many times as you needed to. No penalties. And she would help tutor you during any study hall or before or after school or during lunch.
Must’ve been a huge pain in the ass time wise to write new tests and tutor and grade. But her stance was that she was there to teach. And if you didn’t grasp it enough for the test, you didn’t gain anything by failing and moving on. But if you cared and wanted to learn how to do it, then she was responsible to support you the entire way there.
Told us a joke about his name (before we could) and allowed us to eat during his classes "because kids your age can't help being hungry all the time", as long as we did it quietly. Great guy. His whole attitude made all of us actually pay attention and do our best.
I had a principal in a new school i hadn't met yet because the first day of school at my new high school was my dad's funeral. He had no idea what I looked like, but he sought me out in the really crowded hallways and gave me a hug and his condolences. Never felt creepy, only cared about.
He went on to local politics and became our mayor. Only time I have truly voted for the best person for the job and not the least objectionable.
In my first year of high school, my class decided to play a simple prank on our English/SOSE teacher, by all laughing when he faced the board, and then stopping every time he turned around to face us. After a few minutes of this, he just left the classroom without a word. We all sat there, confused, until a few minutes later the assistant principal comes in and explains that we've really upset our teacher; he made us believe we'd seriously f!@#$% up...
Then our teacher walked in and pretty much went "gotcha!"
That son of a bitch had our respect from then on.
Had an extremely zany teacher who taught Psychology, and had the last name Ward. Psycho personality (in the best way possible) to fit her name and job. Never met someone who fit their name and job description so well. (Worse, she taught driver's ed too, on the side.)
She was the type whose zany personality was a big plus; most of her kids loved her, but if you effed around in her class, she'd eject you from it, with extreme prejudice.
She still teaches, and she teaches very well.
As an aside, there was also this middle-aged woman who was basically a hall monitor and filled in any other position she could think of, as well as handing out dententions or suspensions if she caught you effing around instead of being where you were supposed to be. Small lady, absolutely no-nonsense and tough as nails. She wouldn't take s!@# from you, but also incredibly fair overall.
I realized she knew when to bend. My older two siblings hated her because she always caught them skipping class, smoking, or worse. I got along with her very well and never caused her any trouble. I asked her once about my little brother, and she said he was a good kid and while she'd had to give him detention a few times, she was also proud of him because when he got into a fight, he did it for the right reasons. My little bro's a very tall, hulking guy and never hesitated to defend someone from a bully. It got him a few detentions for fighting but apparently she made it clear she was proud of him for standing up for others nonetheless.
I repeated this later to my brother, and he said she was a very good woman, very fair, and that he'd liked her for that fairness, and her sheer guts.
We had a pretty cool and badass teacher in 5th grade. He was cool, made jokes, made lessons fun but at the same time, didn't take s!@#.
We had these REALLY naughty boys in our class, like they pulled pranks, skipped class, bullied other kids, never turned in assignments or projects.
One day they did something really bad (don't remember what it was) and it made our teacher REALLY REALLY MAD. I was like, this is it, we all about to be a bunch of witnesses. I thought he was about to put hands on these kids. This man was livid.
He called the main instigator to the front of the class, and just stared at him for what seemed like forever. And this kid was just like, not bothered, had an attitude.
This teacher then starts talking, cool and calm, lecturing this kid about all the bad choices his making, about how he needs to think about if those choices are going to get him anywhere in life, stuff like that.
He brought that kid to tears. This kid, who thought he was the s!@#, oh so cool, untouchable, will never have to face the music kind of kid. He stood there in tears.
The teacher wasn't rude or disrespect, didn't like hit the kid or scream and shout at the kid. Simply spoke to him about making better choices.
Teacher said the "lecture" we a lesson to all of us.
I just think it was so cool the way the teacher handled it. Spoke to him (all of us) in a way that made us think about our future for the 1st time.
Make good choices.
I had been put in a lower set due to class capacity issues.
He started off with a speech around what we would be learning this year and then assigned work to the class. After that he walked up to me and gave me a big book with the syllabus and told me he knew I’m too smart for this class and instead of following what the class does he wants me to work through the syllabus at my pace (faster than others being implied) and he would come and check on me after assigning work to everyone else. He said I could do lots or as little each class but I needed to finish the book by the end of the year.
Super duper motivated me to smash his class.
I had a professor in college who was 5 minutes late to the start of an 8am lecture and clearly distraught. She started by apologizing for the delay and explaining that she just got off the phone with her sister telling her that her mother just died of cancer. The remainder of her lectures for the day were cancelled, but she was going to try to keep it together enough to do ours since we were already there so early in the morning. I respected that she decided to give us the lecture we had come for despite being in the immediate shock of mourning a loved one and being vulnerable enough to tell us.
I moved out of home during high school. It was stressful, to say the least. I started to fall behind in assignments, I would be absent for days at time, I missed tests etc.
I ended up explaining the bare minimum of my situation to my English teacher, and their response always stuck with me.
"Just do what you can."
It may not seem like much, but right then and there, for sixteen year old kid who felt like simply living was a burden... it was everything.
It was a professor, but she said she wasn't going to have a textbook for the class. Basically, she didn't respect the textbook representatives trying to take the pharma approach to force kids to buy an $170 access code.
Instant respect. You just had to show up to the lectures and she'd teach you what you needed to know.
A supply teacher spend the day recovering my lost sticker collection.
I'm sure its done in other countries but in uk primary/junior schools. Playtime becomes a trading hub on the playground for stickers. Anyway, one particular day i made a massive haul of stickers which I misplaced for a split second and it was gone. I was devastated and my teacher saw me in distress when i got back from class, my teacher promised she would get them all back for me.
True to her word she did. In fact it turned out several people had made off with my stash of stickers and she spent her lunch time tracking down every one of the children who had them, claimed them back and grilling the kids in turn to who else had my cards and getting them to see her. By the end of lunch she returned them to me all accounted for. For a supply teacher to do this, it was a seriously kind gesture as most teachers would shrugged their shoulders and carry on as if nothing happened.
I was in college and my teacher ran in about 10 minutes late. His excuse went something like this:
Him: “Sorry I’m late guys, I was...it’s not really important ahh...yeah just that...”
Me, a smartass: “...Godzilla?”
Him without missing a beat: “Nope, Mothra.”
A small thing like a sense of humor is nice.
My 4th grade teacher would have a "classroom yard sale" every year after she did her annual Spring cleaning. Her daughter was about 13, so the things she'd recently outgrown would be age-appropriate for us. (I'm aware this wouldn't work out every year, and I'm not sure how long she taught at our school but she told us it was a regular thing.)
We didn't have to pay for them. If we needed or wanted something, we could have it.
There was some sort of lesson incorporated into the yard sale...how to trade or value money or something like that...so we didn't feel embarrassed if we needed a few more things than the other kids did. I wish I could remember exactly how it worked, but this happened in 1994.
She was an all-around great teacher. Thanks, Miss Ferrell, whose name I've probably misspelled. Your class was fun.
I had a teacher in the 6th grade who gave me a C+ on a poster project that I turned in. When he saw my disappointment he asked, "What grade do you think you should have gotten?" I thought for a second and said "a B+". He immediately scratched out the grade and gave me a B+. (Tragically, I saw in the news a few years later that he drowned while on a fishing trip. That got to me.)
I'm epileptic and had a large set of seizures not long before finals in high school chemistry. My seizures tend to mess with my memory, and those multiple seizures had devastated my memory of everything I'd learned in class that semester. I was doing reasonably well in class but absolutely bombed the test. After the failed test I ended up just shy of passing the class and he decided to give me a bonus question that passed me. I didn't expect that, but the empathy was nice to see from a teacher. Even still, the whole situation sucked.
My math teacher told me I should have studied better. He then offered for me to retake the test which seems reasonable enough but there was no point as it was just all gone.
I've only had one since that was worse than that, but fortunately I've got an understanding employer. It doesn't hurt that I've got a union rep as well...
I remember my first math class in college. I didn't take any math my senior year of high school because I finished my math requirements my junior year. Anyway, the first math test hit me like a truck after never having to try in high school and I scored in the low 60's. The next three tests, I learned to study and got 3 98's in a row.
The last week of class, the professor (who was a hard ass by the way and would kick you out for having your phone out) called me up to her desk after class and said clearly you were having a bad day that first exam, so don't worry about that grade because I won't count it. It really changed my view of that professor.
My band director - he laughed with us, he talked to us like people instead of lowly teenage students. And he read to us - The Power of Positive Thinking. He saw a need for it - some of the kids were bored out of their skulls and thought it was stupid, but some of us listened. Personally, I love that he recognized a problem and took action. I've been out of high school for wow..30 years this year...I'm still in touch with him. He's THE most influential person in my life that is not related to me, and it's because he chose to invest and do more than bare minimum as a teacher.
I had a professor once state that she doesn't believe in trick questions. Students trick themselves up enough without the professor helping that along. She never did put trick questions.
English teacher in high school asked where my homework was. Responded “I forgot to do it” and he said to the rest of the class “Why can’t you guys be like Scratch_That_? He doesn’t come up with some excuse he just tells me he didn’t do it”
I had a principal in high school that was extremely strict and was ALWAYS looking to get people in trouble. It got to the point where everyone knew that even the teachers hated him, but none of them ever said anything about it because they didn’t want to lose their jobs.
Well, there was this one kid that was being accused of something he didn’t actually do, and one teacher decided she’d had enough of the principal’s bulls!@# and stood up for the kid. She was an amazing teacher and of course he fired her at the end of the school year. That didn’t stop her from coming to my class’s graduation the next year though!
There was one other teacher that would make comments about the principal in class and insinuated his hatred toward him. Nobody snitched, and at the end of the school year on his last day of teaching, he wrote a note saying he quits because of the principal and left it on his desk and never returned. Love that man.