People Are Sharing Lessons From High School Teachers They've Never Forgotten

Who else is there for us in the most tumultuous and confusing times of our lives than our high school teachers? Being a teenager is tough, but thankfully there were some teachers out there willing to impart some wisdom and help us through it.

A post made on r/AskReddit asked people to share that wisdom, and here's a collection of some of those insights.

How to properly break rules.

Unsplash | Marius Masalar

"My music teacher used to tell me that before you could break the rules, you had to understand them," wrote one user.

The replies to this went on to describe how this could apply to many classes, from English to civics.

A change in demeanor.

Pexels | Andrea Piacquadio

This was less of a direct lesson said by the teacher and more of a reminder that anyone is capable of compassion. "I had a gym teacher that was known for being strict/rude. He actively would make kids cry on the regular. Anyway, after my dad passed away he was still super strict towards me. But one day after track practice he caught me in the hall and said 'your dad would be so proud of you.' It caught me so off guard, I actually cried."

Age and wisdom.

Unsplash | Nick Morrison

"We're all trying to figure it out, at any age. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

A simple piece of advice for anyone at any stage of their life. There are always new things to not understand and subsequently learn about.

On record keeping.

Unsplash | Juan Carlos Trujillo

"Was in the 90s, my political thought teacher 'Never document your deviance'."

This was already pertinent advice in the '90s, but in an ever more digital age, it's become even more important than ever.

Safety measures.

Pexels | Pixabay

Less of a lesson and more of a frightening story, this user shared the first words one of their teachers said to their class. "'Good morning. I’m Mr. Taylor and I will be teaching grade 10 English this semester. First let me address what you’re all wondering. Yes. This is a glass eye. I lost it playing darts.' DART TO THE EYE. Will stick with me for LIFE."

Stay curious.

Pexels | Katerina Holmes

"My chemistry teacher told my mom that I would do so much better if I asked questions. I’ve found that this is true in all stages of life. Ask questions!"

Better to ask and learn more than continue to stay in the dark!


Pexels | Snapwire

"A teacher of mine said he would write me a letter of recommendation, but it had been a week or so and he hadn't gotten back to me yet. I went in a 3rd time to remind him and I started off with an apology, to which he corrected me, saying 'don't ever stop advocating for yourself'. It's advice I haven't forgotten since."

Practicing kindness.

Pexels | Max Fischer

One user described how their high school football coach also taught the sex-ed class, and before the class began, he'd tell students to 'leave their verbal guns at the door'.

"He said we'd talk about a lot of topics that might make us feel uncomfortable and tempted to make a joke at someone else's expense to break the tension. He asked us to leave our 'verbal guns' at the door so everyone could feel comfortable asking honest questions."

Bringing luck to you.

Unsplash | Philippe Bout

"My high school baseball coach / Sociology teacher always used to say 'Those who are prepared create their own luck' before exams."

There's only so much that can be said for random luck, being prepared is always the best option.

A balanced life.

Unsplash | Pablo Merchán Montes

"Coming up to our final year 12 exams, my maths teacher handed out an article on the most common things people said on their deathbed. She said no one wished they had worked longer hours; that they had spent more time at work than with their loved ones. If we didn’t get the grades we wanted, that’s okay, because there’ll be a back door to where we wanted to go. Failure is okay. It’s only a minor setback. What’s important is having a good balance between work/studies, family/friends and our own hobbies/interest."

Making space.

Unsplash | Swapnil Deshpandey

This advice is less philosophical but far more practical. "My partner had a high school teacher that would walk through the busy hallways at school shouting 'HOT COFFEE, HOT COFFEE' while holding an empty mug. He just wanted people to get out of his way and it always worked."

Finding information.

Pexels | Olenka Sergienko

"[In] 2005 a teacher said intelligence of the future will not be defined by how well you know one skill but instead how well you can find information and decipher what information is good and bad."

Another lesson that rings even truer in the modern age. Many teachers were ahead of their time, it seemed.

Making it easier for others.

Unsplash | Kristin Snippe

This commenter explained that this happened at a class camp. They were all out hiking and he was trailing behind alongside a teacher.

"We came to a part where a branch had fallen across the trail. Big enough to be an effort to move it but not so large that it couldn't have been moved by any of the thirty+ other students and teachers that had already walked around it. Without even thinking about it, I grabbed the branch and tossed it to the side of the path. The teacher said to me: 'Thirty boys walked past that branch. It took one man to move it, and he made life easier for every person after him'."

The root of the issue.

Unsplash | Andy Li

"English teacher - Underneath most anger is fear. Try to understand the fear and address it instead of anger."

Everything has its underlying causes, and getting to those can reveal a lot about the reality of the situation.

Being critical.

Unsplash | UX Indonesia

This piece of advice started short. "Pay attention to what you pay attention to."

However, someone replied and provided some further research. "If anyone's interested it's called metacognition. It's a really valuable way to build self-awareness and understand how you come to beliefs."

Caring less.

Pexels | cottonbro

For the sake of everyone's peace of mind, this is something we should all take to heart. "It’s not worth spending the energy on something that won’t matter tomorrow morning."

Caring less, but different.

Unsplash | Andre Hunter

In a similar vein to the previous advice, one user shared this lesson that their drama teacher taught them. "That nobody really cares, and that’s a good thing. [...] In the end most people won’t remember if you looked stupid for 5 minutes. By teaching us that most things you do are trivial and inconsequential, he coaxed us out of our shells and got us to really act. But it left a big impression on me for my day-to-day life too."

Forming habits.

Pexels | Kamaji Ogino

"'Practice makes permanent. If you keep doing something the wrong way, you’ll perfectly be able to do it wrong." An important reminder as to why cutting corners is a bad habit to get into, no matter how much easier it is.

Getting out of there.

Unsplash | Tarryn Myburgh

A bit harsher than the rest of the list, but still applicable to many. "That our town was a [expletive] and the best advice he could give us was to move out and live elsewhere. Decades later, he was correct."

Though not every town is as bad as this person's, probably anyway, moving away and seeing more of the world is always a good thing.

Broad strokes.

Unsplash | Jakob Owens

Though the commenter said they received this piece of advice in relation to sports, they acknowledge that it could be applied almost anywhere. "Do what others won't now, so you can do what others can't later."