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30 Former Students Who Grew Up To Become Not Who Their Teachers

I teach English as a second language and I had a kid who spoke Arabic who barely could master English in the beginning (to be expected of course). Well 8 years later he’s on his way to being an astrophysicist. He came to school to find me to tell me last year and I’ve never had a prouder moment teaching. He told me I was the only one who believed in him.

Edit: Wow! Thank you so much for the awards and sweet comments. They mean a lot to me after an exhausting year of remote and hybrid teaching. If you’re thinking about reaching out to a teacher, totally do it. We’ve had a crazy year and I’d bet a million dollars it would mean so much to them. And for all my ESL and multilingual kiddos in this thread, I’m SO proud of you! ❤️

The student whose social skills were non existent and whose academics were equally as troubling is in college taking nuclear physics. I swear he was easily like 3 grades behind when I knew him in primary/junior grades (Canada).

I had no social skills and was way behind in grade 9. Dropped out that year, spent the rest of the time I should've been in high school fucking around, and now I'm in university TAing a chemistry course and about to graduate with a BS in Biology. My grades are good enough that I am seriously considering med school or law school.

K-12 doesn't mean shit. It's not a fit for all people.

I guess my mom might count since she's worked at the elementary school I attended since 1993, but she recently told me about one of my elementary school classmates. I was actually pretty good friends with him, but I thought he was a bit slow? And apparently, he had been evaluated for learning disorders several times in early grade school. He apparently just started a surgery fellowship at a prestigious hospital in Philadelphia.

He definitely worked very hard in grade school and middle school, and now that I look back, he definitely sought out the "smart kids" in class and tried to befriend them and see how they thought.

I had a student that used to get into fights and was extremely aggressive and violent towards others, on the last day of fifth grade his last words to me and his class were "fuck you!" -- many years later he came back to the school I'd been teaching at and looked for me so he could give me a big hug and apologize. In his words, "I was garbage when I was here, thank you for putting up with me and I'm sorry".

I cried like a baby - I was so proud of him.

E: You know, teaching can sometimes be a thankless job and a lot of the things I'm really proud about are usually only shared between me and my students (they don't give out a lot of medals to teachers ya know). Anyway, thanks for your time and attention. Overwhelmed by how many people got to share one of the best moments of my career with me in this friggin post!

A couple years after we graduated high school my friend and I went to the elementary and high school and sought out old teachers. Every one was excited to see us.

My friend was a teacher and she got an email from someone asking if she taught so and so. The former student wrote that she just wanted to say hi and she was her favorite teacher. My friend told me this through tears.

 I did graphics design back in high school and because I was doing a diploma I was out of my high school and at a college two days of the week and I was missing three of my 5 lessons.

The subjects we had to do things on were just jot of my interests and it never pulled me in and at the end of my high school years and getting my results I got an E, I thought I did alright but in the teachers views I didn't.

Fast forward I'm designing motorsport liveries for teams around the world, also working with a major racing game company as well, while others in that class have gone nowhere.

I just didn't like being there and wasting my time doing something I didn't like, when I did the thing I liked I thrived.

My brother was tutored by an elementary school teacher and he was a complete mess of a student as a kid. She was helping him transition from a top prep school to public school because the preP school didn’t feel he would ever amount to much in their care. She tried several methods to keep him organized and help his reading skills to no avail. She continuously checked in with his teacher (worked at the same school) to see his progress and constantly had to talk to him on behalf of the teacher. Everyone loved him, he was just an utter mess.

We ran into her a year ago and got to tell her that he got a full ride to law school at an Ivy League school. Blew her mind, but proof that some kids thrive in different learning environment. Terrible through traditional school but when he got to college, he thrived because of breaks between classes, time to study, picked his classes which were focused then trying to cover a thousand topics in a year, and got to know his teachers.

Thank goodness for my parents holding out hope all those years ha ha

I had to be tutored for reading during elementary school. The same teacher came to my house after school a few times a week to help me. Years later, my mom ran into her, and she asked how I was doing. She was so incredibly happy and shocked to hear I was an English major applying to Library Science graduate programs.

My mom has been a teacher for the past 25+ years. There was one student in particular that stood out.

This kid was insanely smart. In high school, perfect grades, he also got scholarships on scholarships plus full ride to almost any college he wanted. I think he wanted to be a physicist or engineer for nasa. After high school he headed off to college and fell off of everyone's radar for a few a while.

We learned a few years later what happened. The extreme pressure to always be the best ended up getting to him. Everyone in his life understandably had super high expectations for him, but he couldn't handle it. He had a massive mental breakdown and ended up dropping out of college and went to work in some chain fast food place.

I didn't know him personally, and only met him in passing, but even I was sad. Such a brilliant mind, someone who had a lot of potential, reduced to a tiny fraction of himself. It's been several years since then, and I hope he is doing better.

my dad was a bad kid in school. like really bad.

fought teachers, suspended half the year, expelled from school dances, etc..

anybody in their right mind would bet their life savings against the chance he’d make anything of himself professionally.

well, now he’s 49... never went to college, but worked his way up to his current job making six-figures and had been offered promotions to pay more. talking to him and meeting him you’d never guess he was probably the worst kid in the entire school district. plus, he’d beat my ass if i ever did the shit he did.

Not me but my soon to be mother-in-law, we were out shopping together for a gift for my fiancé. We ran into a former student of hers, she was working at a make-up counter of the department store we were shopping at. They talked for a little bit and I thought it was sweet that this girl still remembered her elementary school teacher. After we walked away my soon to be mother-in-law told me that girl working at the make-up counter was her best student ever and she graduated high school as the valedictorian.

Family moved to Canada when I was 11. Spoke no English and got picked on in my first year (gr 6). In gr 7 and 8 I failed all science and history tests due to language but teachers just gave me enough marks to move on to the next grade. I spent more time studying and with encouragement of my gr 11 chemistry teacher I believed in myself. By end of high school, I was ranked top 1% in Canada in math, chemistry and physics competitions. This led me to great school and a great career so far.

Thank you Ms. Harpell!

I am probably "that" student for a lot of teachers. I used to get terrible grades, acted up in class, barely passed the eighth grade exam to make it to high school. All my teachers assumed I'd be in jail by 16. But not only did I end up graduating early, but I also started my own successful business and eventually became a local celebrity. Of course all this was lost one day when I got arrested at the grocery store for kissing the hams and the cops realized I had several live scorpions crawling out of my pants pockets at the time. I was eventually bailed out by my Vietnam Vet Terry, who taught me both how to sleep masturbate and how to make the glory hole business I started both profitable, safe, and horny.

There was this girl in my class who used to be so shy. Always say on the last bench. Was friends with only 1 girl. Barely had any social skills. She went on to become the biggest superstar in Indian cinema ( Bollywood). I was her classmate

in elementary school, the teachers thought I was mentally challenged, I was put in the "slower" classes, and I remember being good at math but bad at English.

My mom took me to get an IQ test and it turned out I had a higher than average IQ. And, now I'm writing tv/film and novels in LA. Something tells me they didn't think I would end up where I am today. Also, I don't suck at math but I'm not good at it lol.

A mate of mine does some building work for a guy he went to school with 30+ years ago.

The High School Principal stood him up in front of the entire school assembly and said "Take a look at this boy. This is a boy that will never amount to anything".

That boy just sold his house for $20million to buy a bigger one.

A teacher at my school (high not elementary) once gave a detention to a student for not handing in homework. He pleaded with the teacher to postpone it as there were rugby scouts at his game on the day of the detention. The teacher told him to miss the game and shouted at him saying that his education was more important than a rugby match. He skipped the detention and because he attended the match, now plays rugby internationally.

Three of my former students went into my field and actually came back to work for me at my school for internships.

One of them was no surprise. One only a little surprise. But the third drove me nuts. He was a huge problem child in class. This was the kid that make me sympathize with Homer Simpson's strangling reaction to Bart. But I kept my cool of course!

And He's now a respected professional in the field. He still credits me for his career path. I feel like all the stress he put me through was worth it!

I had a teacher in 3rd grade who was convinced I was intellectually challenged so she dropped me down to special ed. and told my parents 'frankly' that I was a bit slow. In her defense, my parents said I daydreamed A LOT as a kid and it was impossible to make me focus on school without bribing me regularly.

I ended up alright though, went to the top university in my country and now work as a corporate lawyer. Think the teacher would genuinely be surprised though - what my parents saw as a bright slacker, she saw as just stoopid.

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Written by Samantha Clarkson

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