Teachers Reveal 10 Inspiring Success Stories From Former Students

English Teacher Abroad

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Having spent many years as an educator, I can attest that nobody pursues teaching for the paycheck. Instead, teachers get motivation when students develop academically and socially, finding rewards in helping them progress to something better. A teachers’ forum recently described their happiest student success stories.

1. An American Kid in China

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Entering my first grade-two class in a Chinese international school, I received a warning about an American student prone to behavioral issues (let’s call him Caleb). Caleb gave me a difficult time in my first month, testing my patience with his sudden outbursts and attention-grabbing theatrics. However, once I identified his frustrations, helped him address them head-on, and worked on a reaction program for expected situations, Caleb finally won his first student-of-the-week award for his calmness and determination.

2. Blue Collar Defiance

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In a scenario reminiscent of a Hollywood movie trope, an educator joined a rural, low-income state school, inheriting a class whose previous teacher had low standards for their behavior. Consequently, illicit substances or weapons were normal before (and during) her arrival. She says her students were transformed after a year of changing the system with tougher sanctions and stable learning conditions. The educator is proud to reveal that most class members went to college and vocational school and got into good careers.

3. Random Student Messages

Happy young man looking at his mobile
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Modern teaching comes with a minefield of technological obstacles to overcome, whether through teaching or controlling student behavior. However, one benefit is that graduated students can message their teacher to thank them, which happened to one educator when they received thank-you messages from a former student who had launched a career in performing arts.

4. A Kid Finds His Groove

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One account details a tearaway student who most of his peers considered likely to flunk out due to his low motivation and subsequent apathy. Remarkably, it took one woodwork class to encourage him, and he became obsessed. Moreover, he graduated and went on to become a high-paid construction specialist.

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5. A School District Blunder Is Forgotten

Kid with dyslexia drawing with pencil and child psychologist looking at it
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When a special education teacher inherited a young man from a neighboring school district, he was appalled to discover they had classified him as severely disabled. Upon diagnostic testing, it turned out his only issue was mild dyslexia. Fast forward to his senior year, after great development, the new graduate won a scholarship for a high-skill trade.

6. Pupil Defies Substance Addiction

Teacher talking to student
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When a senior was struggling with a banned substance problem, he was nearing rock bottom. His teacher devoted extra time to pastoral care, telling the kid to visit the class 30 minutes before each day, where they would chat about life, finding common ground and trust. Eventually, the student kicked his habit, got a part-time job, and paid himself through university.

7.  Helping Vietnamese Students

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I taught for four years in a Vietnamese-American school that had a pro-bono quota for local, underprivileged students. My debut year involved helping some first-graders, most of whom were the first family members to receive an education, integrate into an English-speaking classroom. After morning English lessons, I would sit with them through classes to assist their understanding. Finally, after one semester, they felt at home in the class. At this moment, they went into language immersion overdrive, and by the end of the school year, they had caught most of their classmates up.

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8. The Power of Books

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Libraries are the beating heart of any school, so the thought that students might one day not retreat to a corner of their reading haven with a new paper companion is alarming. One bright story revolves around a formerly home-schooled little third-grade girl who entered a class unable to read, write, or make phonic sounds. With a determined group of teachers — and an accommodating library staff — behind her, the youngster devoured all the extra reading books and work they gave her. Now, she wants to be a doctor.

9. A Chinese Superstar Student

Chinese student doing martial arts
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When we taught in China, my wife had a national celebrity child star join her fifth-grade class. However, this kid was also an acrobatic martial arts phenomenon, appearing in Chinese blockbusters, and was often on film shoots in remote parts of the country. His skills were mindblowing — in the school performance, a set piece involved him completing a forward-running backflip through a giant hoop. It was mesmerizing. I have no idea what the kid is doing now; I imagine he is still famous in China.

10. Tears From Teaching Heaven

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The next anecdote comes from a son’s recollection of his educator father, who spent several years returning home exhausted by one particular troubled high-school boy. In his dad’s opinion, the troubled kid would not amount to much, though he tried his best with him. Several years later, the now grown-up delinquent revisited his school in search of his dedicated teacher. Much to the father’s glee, his previous agitator had changed his ways, become a Marine, and wanted to show his former guide appreciation for never giving up on him. The father tears up whenever he recalls the memory.

Source: Reddit.

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