Skip To Content

    18 Things People's High School Teachers Told Them That They'll Never Forget

    "Pay attention to what you pay attention to."

    Recently, redditor u/absolutejuice22 asked, "What is something a high school teacher told you that you will never forget?" and the responses were surprisingly wholesome! So, here are just a few of the quotes that people still remember:

    WARNING: Due to the nature of this post, some stories shared contain mentions of self-harm and suicide. Please proceed with caution, and resources will be listed below.

    empty classroom
    Richard Ross / Getty Images

    1. "Don’t quote me on this because I’ll just deny it."

    "Whenever my teacher said anything controversial that he didn’t want repeated, he would preface it with this. I still use it myself!"

    u/gorillamagnet

    2. "30 boys walked past that branch. It took one man to move it, and he made life easier for every person after him."

    "I was at camp and we were out walking a trail over to the next campsite, carrying our lives in our packs. I was not in great physical shape and was well behind in the rear. So, it was basically just me and one teacher in the back.

    We came to a part of the trail where a branch had fallen across walk. It was big enough to take an effort to move, but not so large that it couldn't have been moved by any of the over 30 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 with me said this. After that, it became my personal motto of sorts: 'Make it easier for the people who come after you.'"

    u/Gambatte

    3. "If you try to snitch on me, remember that I control your grades."

    "One of the coolest, most laid-back teachers I had straight-up said this one day." 

    u/thatredditrando

    teacher in front of a class of students raising their hands
    Digital Vision. / Getty Images

    4. "Pay attention to what you pay attention to."

    u/ModerateExtremism

    5. "Leave your verbal guns at the door."

    "This was the football coach's first words while teaching sex ed at my school. He meant it as a metaphor about the American West, where cowboys would leave their guns at the door when they entered a saloon to drink so nobody would get killed in a drunken outburst. He said we'd talk about a lot of topics that might make us feel uncomfortable and thus feel 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 that everyone could feel comfortable asking honest questions. This was back in the late '80s. He was way ahead of his time."

    u/HumangusGrasshoopers

    6. "Before you can break the rules, you have to understand them."

    "My music teacher used to tell me that."

    u/BoneWitchNun

    jack black in the movie school of rock standing at a chalkboard
    Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

    7. "Those who are prepared create their own luck."

    "My baseball coach/sociology teacher always used to say this right before exams. It's a true life lesson."

    u/TheDeadMonument

    8. "No one wished they had worked longer hours. No one wished they'd spent more time at work than with their loved ones."

    "Coming up to our final year 12 exams, my math teacher handed out an article on the most common things people said on their deathbed. She then told us this, and that — if we didn’t get the grades we wanted — that’s okay, because there’d be a 'back door' to where we wanted to go. Failure was okay. It was only a minor setback. What was important was having a good balance between work and studies, family and friends, and our own hobbies and interests."

    u/Shiny_and_dense

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

    u/Mandrake_m2

    teacher looking over young students working on a project
    Marko Geber / Getty Images

    10. "What the fuck are you doing here?! You're in my AP Lit class starting tomorrow."

    "I struggled with dyslexia and a learning disability my whole life. English class was hell for me every year. Then, senior year, my Lit teacher read some random short story that was required of me to write, and he immediately said this to me. I passed the AP test and my entire life really began — all because he believed in me. I'm now a high school teacher myself, and — while I'm not as great as him — I really think I'm doing good work."

    u/1Sarnick18

    11. "Never document your deviance."

    "This was back in the '90s. My political teacher said this."

    u/Jdoogs27

    12. "Your dad would be so proud of you."

    "I had a gym teacher who was known for being strict and rude. He would make kids cry on the regular. Anyway, after my dad passed away, he was still super strict and mean toward me, but one day after track practice he caught me in the hall and said this. It caught me so off-guard that I actually cried."

    u/lizzy_in_the_sky

    teacher writing math equations on a chalkboard
    Emilija Manevska / Getty Images

    13. "What you said today was really brave. If anyone gives you any shit for it, come tell me and I'll take care of it."

    "I'm a lesbian, and in my high school ROTC class, I accidentally came out to everyone during class (long story). It was really awkward, and at the end of class, our drill sergeant/teacher asked me to stay for a moment. I stayed, and I was like two seconds away from bursting into tears, since I thought he was going to say that I was oversharing or being inappropriate. Instead, he said this. This guy was a real hard-ass, so for someone like him to support me? It meant the world to me."

    u/Sleepy_Oasis

    14. "If you want to hurt a man — and I mean, REALLY hurt a man — you don't hit him in the crotch. You hit him in the wallet."

    "My 11th grade social studies teacher said this to us."

    u/oheffme

    15. "Comfort is earned by going through discomfort."

    "My football coach said this during practice. What he meant was that our discomfort now would condition us for the real game later, making it easier, but that lesson extends to most of life. You want to be comfortable at some point in life? You're more than likely going to have to earn that by doing stuff that isn't very comfortable, but produces desirable results."

    u/Oakfarmer

    football coach with the team in the locker room
    Erik Isakson / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

    16. "Good morning, I’m Mr. Taylor. 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."

    "The man took a DART TO THE EYE. That will stick with me for LIFE."

    u/hamtronn

    17. "You did nothing wrong. Being young, you couldn’t have known any better."

    "I had a baseball coach for English sophomore year who had us write a daily journal. One day, our theme was writing about 'something we regretted.' I wrote about how, when I was younger, my mom had cancer and regretted not being there for her more. I didn’t think he read these things, but he ended up writing this in mine. He was a good man and a good teacher."

    u/Coffaroo

    18. And finally: "I just wanted to check on you and see how you're doing."

    "My English teacher called me out of class my senior year to chat in the hall and said this. What he didn't know was that I had planned to head to the bathroom after that class with a purse full of pills to kill myself.

    That one act of 'being seen' changed the entire direction of my life. I'm in my 40s now and run a nonprofit that works with our school to provide food, clothes, school supplies, Christmas gifts, prom dresses, testing fees, etc. Pretty much anything a student might lack that takes their focus off being the best they can be! I have four teens and a dozen more of their friends who view our house as their second home and safe space when things are rough at their homes.

    Mr. Williams, you were an angel and your impact has touched hundreds of kids — all because you showed me the value of helping kids know they matter."

    u/FruityOatyThrace

    What is something a high school teacher told you that you still remember? Share yours in the comments below.

    Note: Some responses were edited for length and/or clarity. H/T: Reddit.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US and UK from the Crisis Text Line.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form