Teachers can play powerful roles in a young person’s life. Aside from their parents, educators are the ones that are with a budding academics day in and day out. They impart more than just knowledge, though. Impactful teachers offer wisdom and help a child learn to navigate through the world. Taking this role seriously, many educators go above and beyond to engage and inspire their students in everyday life.
Every teacher has their own way of connecting with their pupils. Some find common ground through shared experiences, and others are able to positively influence students through laughter. One science teacher, for instance, had a classroom rule: if a student draws something on their homework, he’ll add to it, too. This creative endeavor lead to unexpected and hilarious mashups. Another history teacher got into character by dressing up in elaborate chain mail armor complete with a noble sword.
While many teachers go for the giggles, others change students’ lives through their demonstrative compassion. These inspiring stories include special education teacher Chris Ulmer who spends each day giving a compliment to his students. “Simple reminders of their positive attributes shifts [the students’] focus from what they can’t do to what they can do,” he says. And when another special education teacher named Kinsey French got married, she invited all of her students to be part of her nuptials. “They were my first class and they’ve been my only class and so I knew I couldn’t have a special day without them.”
Meet 17 teachers going above and beyond to delight and inspire their students.