“Teachers of Reddit, How Have You Secretly Rewarded […] a Student?”

On 31 October 2014, sumchineseguy asked on Reddit, “Teachers of Reddit, how have you secretly rewarded or punished a student?” Here are some replies:

1) JaneEyreForce wrote, “A local music store was going out of business where a lot of students rented band/orchestra instruments. I had a student who has a serious lifelong disability, but she still participated in many things and is an outstanding student and person in general. She went through some scary medical things, but never complains, and is so genuinely happy. Her family is blue collar/hard working, but I knew her medical expenses were a constant in her family’s life.

“The store was offering a discount, plus their normal rent-to-own discount, for students who had instruments to outright purchase them before they closed for good. I contacted them and they let me pay the remaining cost of her instrument and kept my identity a secret. […]

“My minor PSA [Public Service Announcement] is to please support and demand your local school district fund music (and art/other creative) programs properly. Due to unfunded mandates, funding disparities, and them seeing how special areas do not fit neatly into Common Core/evaluations, programs available for students are continually at risk.”

2) Bearbats wrote, “I used to always show up late for my 10th grade science class. One day, we had a little chapter review quiz at the start of class, and naturally, I am a minute or two late. So I walk over to my desk, and the teacher hands me my quiz.

“It’s all really advanced questions comprised of polysyllabic biology jargon that I’ve never seen. Question after question is material that I’m pretty confident we have never ever covered in the class. After about two minutes, I look up to see how everyone else is doing on their quiz.

“Everybody was watching me and when I looked up, they all started laughing. The teacher had printed up a single fake quiz with super-complicated biology questions just to f[**]k with whatever kid ended up showing up last to the quiz.

“Ms. Cohen, you were a fun teacher. Thumbs up.”

FoxxyRin commented, “Reminds me of my first math test in 7th grade, kind of. The teacher passed out a test and said to read the instructions carefully. The test was filled with like Algebra-level math, at least. This class was one level below that, called ‘Pre-Algebra.’ Well, long story short the instructions were pretty normal, but then it said something along the lines of ‘Fill out the name, class, and date. Circle random answers and write down numbers to make it look like you’re working. Around [time], get up and put it on my desk.’ Me and someone else were the only ones who followed the directions, and in the next class we got a king-sized candy bar and a ‘wrong answer pass’, which was pretty cool. (It was basically a ticket we could staple to our next test and allow three wrong answers to be counted as correct, so long as we attempted to do the work and such.)”

Kallisti50253 commented, “My mother likes telling a story about when she was in school; the instructions said to make sure you read all directions before starting and one of the last ones said to disregard all previous instructions, put your name on the test, and turn it in. She was one of the few who did what it said.”

3) MachineGunTeacher wrote, “Had a kid who was working a job late into the night in order to help his family while trying to finish his senior year in high school. His dad had been laid off and his mother was disabled, so they were barely making it. He told me that he worked late into the night and he had to miss days of school, too. He did the best he could in my class but just couldn’t pass after missing so much class. He was a senior and a good kid who needed my English class to pass. Figuring that the kid’s life was already hard enough, and that his family was struggling enough, I secretly added some points to assignments he hadn’t done so that his final grade went from a 50% to a 61% — just enough to pass and graduate. I don’t like giving away grades, and I never told him; he just thought he had passed.”

Marvin_therobot commented, “I don’t think I’m that kid, but this story sounds really familiar. My mom was (is) disabled throughout high school and my dad worked ALL the time. I worked almost every school night and had trouble staying awake in school. There were a few teachers my senior year that I will never forget. They understood what was going on at home and took it easy on me and were there to talk. If it weren’t for them, I think my life would have turned out very differently. I needed a few years after graduating to get my sh[*]t together, but I eventually did and if I do say so myself, I turned out ok in the end. So for whatever it’s worth, thanks for being awesome! I’m sure that kid remembers you.”

Rdjedd commented, “You remind me of my Calculus teacher, I’m in my senior year, I just need a pass in this course and I’m good to go for graduation. If I fail the course, I’d have to re-do it and thus re-take (not graduate) and be behind basically half a year my class. I knew the pressure of passing that class.

“Now calculus was just not my friend, I loved math when I was middle school and even beginning of high school, then this BS [HS?] Calculus class totally killed me. Now, I put in my all. I paid attention, did the homework, but for the life of me I just could not grasp it. I always stayed back in class, and asked a billion questions. When my teacher would explain it to me, it all.made.sense. But when I’m on my own, doing my homework, or tests, I just don’t get it, I wouldn’t know where to even begin.

“I knew my teacher knew I was doing my all, and the way my grade is calculated at my school was 10% attendance/homework completion, 10% class participation, 30% mid-year tests, quizzes … etc. and 50% final exam grade. So yeah, 80% of my grade was purely based on my test grades.

“I went into my final exam, kinda knowing I needed to ace this exam to even just scrape by in my final grade. I studied and studied and studied, and come exam time, I wanted to cry. Out of 10 sections, I was confident in 3 sections, and attempted 2 sections and left half my exam blank, because I just did not know. We had 3 hours for that exam, I submitted mine after just 1 hour, feeling defeated and knowing I blew it.

“Few weeks letter, report cards came in, I’m praying and hoping but being realistic. My final calculus grade?


“(Pass is 50%, fail <49%)

“I just knew my teacher pitied me, and for that I am ever so grateful. This was more than 10 years ago now, and I still remember this teacher, now she never told me, she never had to, I knew. 🙂

“I know you’re not my teacher, but you’re awesome!”

For More Information: sumchineseguy, “Teachers of Reddit, how have you secretly rewarded or punished a student?” Reddit. 31 October 2014


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