Things That Matter

Redditers Are Sharing Stories About Teachers Who Earned Their Respect

During a town hall on Tuesday, President Joe Biden underlined the importance of ensuring that teachers are moved up higher on the list of those who are getting vaccinated for Covid-19.

Speaking about his latest efforts, the president stated that teachers should be moved up in the hierarchy and answered a question from a high school teacher about his plans to safely reopen schools. In his answer, Biden stated that he believed officials should avoid resuming large classes and instead should “smaller classes, more ventilation, making sure that everybody has masks and is socially distanced.”

It’s a step in the right direction of showing teachers how important they are to us amidst a discussion about respect for teachers on Reddit.

Check the replies below.

“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.”-Voiceisaweapon

“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.” – hopgeek

“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 fucking 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.

Edit: Decided to look him up and he’s still a teacher, and doing very well. Made me smile.”- dasoberirishman

“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.”- dasoberirishman

“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.”- sk8erguysk8er

“Not take my shit. I was a pretty decent writer in school; able to pop stuff out pretty quickly that was superficial but sounded good. The first time I had a teacher hand my work back pointing out that I managed to compellingly fail to say anything was sort of a slap in the face that I didn’t realize I needed.” –AvogadrosMoleSauce

“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.” –NuluProton

“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.” –Nicholi417

“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.”- Andreas_NYC

“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.” –enchiladacheese

“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.” –Back2Bach

“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.” –Mom_is_watching

“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 …” –Thesorus

“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.” –HylianEngineer

“I had a similar teacher. He would let us be who we were, listen to our ipod in class, and encouraged us to think outside “the class”.

I gained respect for him when he saw some kids going to skip and he called them into his class. Told them “if you’re gonna skip class than come to my class and do whatever you want in the back. Rather have you inside the school than outside”

Everyone loved that teacher while the other teachers couldn’t stand him. He had everyone’s respect.” –Raw1213

“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.”- banhbohap 

“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.” –mild_salsa_dip 

“Thankfully this program didn’t exist at my school, Aspies had 504’s and more severe cases had IEP’s and certain classes were done by special teachers or with an extra teacher. Nobody was made to feel stupid or less than other students. That teacher is the kind that all nuerodivergent students love.”- TheCrazyBlacksmith

“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.” –Scratch_That_ 

“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.” –Cae1us

“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…” –Early_or_Latte

“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.

Edit: also now remembering that she spearheaded this thing around prom or dances where she and the other teachers would pool together some money and she would tell us that if any of us couldn’t afford the tickets or an outfit for them then to see her or drop a note on her desk or call her and she would make sure you got to go. And now having a better grasp on just how shittily we pay teachers – just an incredible person.” –PhiloPhocion 

“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 shit 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.”-MidorBird 

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The 2021 National Teacher of the Year Was Just Announced, and She’s Latina!

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The 2021 National Teacher of the Year Was Just Announced, and She’s Latina!

Photo via JulianaUrtubey3/Twitter

The coronavirus pandemic had challenged parents, students, and teachers in new ways that no one could even predict. But despite these challenges, many teachers have stepped up to the plate and have gone above-any-beyond to make sure their students get the best education ever. One of those teachers is Juliana Urtubey, the Las Vegas special education teacher who is the 2021 National Teacher of the Year.

Juliana Urtubey is the first Latino recipient of the National Teacher of the Year award since 2005.

The Council of Chief State School Officers chose Juliana Urtubey because she creates flexible curriculums in order to address each of her individual student’s needs. “Juliana Urtubey exemplifies the dedication, creativity and heart teachers bring to their students and communities,” said CEO of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Carissa Moffat Miller.

Urtubey holds a Bachelor’s and Masters degree in bilingual elementary education from the University of Arizona. She says she was attracted to teaching because “knew that I could be the kind of teacher that would just take it step by step, have a whole lot of celebration for kids, particularly kids with thinking and learning differences and really just make learning fun.”

Born in Colombia, Urtubey knows the importance of bilingual education for young students.

Urtubey herself went to a bilingual education magnet school before being moving to an area without a similar school. She says the experience made her realize how important it is for educators to think of their students’ background, culture, and identity.

Juliana Urtubey uses the Crestwood Elementary School’s community garden to teach her students. Urtubey started the community garden herself seven years ago, and since then, it has flourished into a vibrant outdoor classroom. Her students even formed a garden club called “Gnomies”. At her school, Ms. Urtubey is affectionately known as “Ms. Earth”.

In a special surprise, First Lady and fellow educator Dr. Jill Biden surprised Ms. Urtubey with a bouquet of flowers during her interview with CBS.

Ms. Urtubey was visibly shocked at the surprise visit, looking like she couldn’t believe that First Lady Biden was there. “Look at Juliana — I mean, she is just the epitome of a great teacher, a great educator,” said Dr. Biden. Urtubey, who has called Dr. Biden one of her “heroes” in the past, was equally honored to meet the First Lady.

Ms. Urtubey has these words of wisdom for what it means to be a great teacher: “It’s about connecting and making relationships. I’m advocating for students to have a joyous and just education, where they experience joy in every part of their school.”

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The Principal Of A Florida School Was Captured Spanking An Undocumented Six-Year-Old Student With A Paddle

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The Principal Of A Florida School Was Captured Spanking An Undocumented Six-Year-Old Student With A Paddle

CBS

Corporal punishment includes all sorts of cruel physical acts. They range from spanking, slapping, force-feeding, and pinching to pulling, twisting, and striking with an object. The act of corporal punishment has long been criticized for its part in causing greater damage than intended.

Though the effects might bring around immediate compliance, researchers have underlined that such changes in behavior are often only short-term and can increase aggressive behavior. Perhaps this is why the act has varying legal statuses across the country.

Elementary school principal Melissa Carter is learning her own lesson from corporal punishment, but not as the receiver.

The elementary school principal from Florida is being investigated by local authorities after her use of corporal punishment on a 6-year-old student was captured on camera.

Principal Melissa Carter and school clerk Cecilia Self used a paddle on the student last month as punishment for damaging a computer screen. According to local CBS affiliate WINK News, corporal punishment was performed on the child in front of their mother. The mother used her cell phone to record the paddling in a clip that has gone viral.

According to WINK News, a female employee from the school contacted the child’s mother on April 13 after her daughter allegedly damaged a computer.

The mother of the child, who speaks Spanish and not fluent English, said that she was confused by the allegations made against her daughter during the phone call. During the conversation the school employee had mentioned “paddling” but the mother didn’t understand what that meant because of her language barrier.

She had been under the impression that she had been brought to the school to pay a $50 fine. Instead, she was taken to Principal Carter’s office where her daughter and the principal were waiting.

Carter soon brought out a wooden paddle and smacked the six-year-old on the backside. The video recorded by the mothers shows the little girl crying in pain during the attack.   

The mother claimed she resisted intervening because she feared having her immigration status brought into question.

“Nobody would have believed me. I sacrificed my daughter, so all parents can realize what’s happening in this school,” told the local news about the incident. “The hatred with which she hit my daughter, I mean it was a hatred that, really I’ve never hit my daughter like she hit her. I had never hit her.”

Bret Provinsky, the mother’s attorney, said the State Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case to see whether they will pursue criminal charges against Carter and Cecilia Self.

Self was meant to translate for the mother, but the mother said she did not do so. “That’s aggravated battery. They’re using a weapon that can cause severe physical harm,” said Provinsky. “The child is terrified, she feels vulnerable. There’s nothing she can do in the hands of these adults, who treated her so brutally, savagely, sadistically.”

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