My short bio: Hi Reddit. My mom has been teaching preschool and elementary school for 30+ years!

She would be happy to answer any questions that you might have about how students and teaching has changed over the years.

Ask her anything!


EDIT Thanks guys! My mom was really overwhelmed by how many people have came over to ask questions (she underestimated the speed of the internet).

I will have to run to work and she has to do errands. We might be back later on tonight.

EDIT Thanks everyone who asked questions! Now we are both tired from a long day and have to sign off!

Comments: 519 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

marshall-eriksen703 karma

Can I go to the bathroom?

lee61732 karma


buffdude1100194 karma

What's different about today's kids than kids 20-30 years ago?

lee61396 karma

A few differences according to my perspective: Twenty to thirty years ago students were more aware and respected the authority of the classroom teacher. For example, students did not say or exhibit certain behaviors within eyesight of teachers. If a student did not like the teacher, the teacher was never aware of it. Today, some students are very vocal about how they feel about teachers and will let the teachers know how they feel.

attention spans Students twenty to thirty years ago attention span was longer. For example, today's students want instant solutions or gratification to problems.

homework assignments When assignments were given, a teacher did not have to ask for the assignments to be turned in when due.

protomor125 karma

Today, some students are very vocal about how they feel about teachers and will let the teachers know how they feel.

Do you consider this a good or a bad thing? Why?

lee61215 karma

It all depends about how they let you know.

Many times it's in a disruptive and violent way. Other times is personal and honest.

Todd_Hewitt173 karma

How often do kids from 20 or so years ago come back and visit?

lee61237 karma

I may have seen about 10 or so. Every time it's a blessing.

bennettroad133 karma

I'm currently in my fourth year teaching, and it's my first year at an inner-city school. I teach middle school social studies right now. It's incredibly difficult dealing with parents (or lack thereof), the students' discipline, and a district that still operates archaically and refuses to change. How can I keep from burning out early?

lee61216 karma

(my mom cringed when she heard inner city)

Have a set format when coming in and try to not teach too many different skills. Find an older teacher to help mentor you. Have an agenda coming in.

Build your own self confidence by developing your own style. The students learn your style you don't learn theirs.

parents ALWAYS say the positive first, NEVER put the negative in writing. Say everything in the most positive light. Greet the parents at the door, don't let them see you at the desk.

Make a checklist on the board.

Find an older teacher who has learned the ropes!

bronko91108 karma

What is the biggest obstacle to overcome in regards to giving future generations the tools they need to succeed? Thanks for your time!

lee61253 karma


Way to many standards for each subject. Before it was basic skills and teaching students at their own pace. Now you have to teach all of the standards and teacher have to teach them all!

Before it was about teaching to learn, now it's about teaching for test.

I have seen schools make it hard for the parents that did not test well. Teachers also only want students based off of how well they test.

UsedToHaveKarma89 karma

Have any of your students come back to visit you decades later? What did they say to you?

lee61131 karma


"Ms Lee61 I had to come see you!" and they smile and tell you where they have been mostly just reminiscing. Telling me how they like me teaching and asking if I still teach.

I love it! And it brings in a whole new perspective on how they have changed.

Turbo4Eva84 karma

A lot of schools are teaching more technology driven classes, such as using computers and tablets to teach lessons. Have you been part of this transition and do you find a child's ability to learn is better/worse/equal to how you previously taught?

lee61131 karma

pros The access to instant information has made the world smaller! It's much more hands all more interactive and more individualized!

cons The downside is the lack of "face to face" social skills. Kids just aren't as used to talking one on one.

TheDoctorLives61 karma

What is the hardest part of working with young kids? The most enjoyable part(s)?

lee61134 karma


Their lack of attention and patience.


When you see a failing student succeed.

boneyarsebogman53 karma

What's the weirdest thing you ever encountered a child doing?

lee61116 karma

When I was teaching a male student once lifted up his pants to show that he had stockings.

MexicanMidget46 karma

My sisters teacher has informed me that she has now failed 2nd grade and will need to repeat it. She does fine in math but she reads information and does not process it. What is your opinion on this and what do you think we should do?

lee6177 karma

I would recommend remediation. She might just benefit from a small group setting.

missingpurple36 karma

How have parents changed in your years as a teacher?

lee6187 karma

HUGE increase in single parents! That has made dealing with home issues harder. The parent has one less person to support them in parenting and that has made dealing with parents harder.

Parents are much younger as well.

Also cases where parents are simply leaving their children and having there grandparents raise them.

marsinfurs21 karma

That's sad to hear, do you work at a school where most kids are socio-economically disadvantaged?

lee6129 karma

I have worked at many schools and have went around subbing.

ksushaluz32 karma

Do you have a favorite student? What do you consider your greatest success?

lee6189 karma

I have had many students over the years and in every classroom there is a favorite.

I think it's best to tell you what type of student I like.

Not necessarily the best behaved student, but it's the one that want's to change the most!

For example.

I had a student named Rosie. Rosie always had an "I don't care" attitude. It was through continuous encouragement and positive belief in her that she was able to get on the honor role.

Everyday I listened to her and told her "It's better to try than to quit".

salacious_c27 karma

Could you give a few examples of how things were handled 30 years ago vs. now? Also, do you think it's a better or worse way for each?

ie: a kid is unruly and completely out of line- 30 years ago it wasn't uncommon for that to result in a paddling. Now you get a frown sticker on your daily report.

lee6173 karma

30 years ago you really didn't have many behavior problems. You simply didn't have as many problems that you have today.

If a student was behaving badly all you need to do is say "stop" and that was it. If you really wanted to elevate it a call home was enough. A teacher could leave her classroom and all the students would still be sitting down. You could even tell a student to watch the class!

Today we have many systems

1 you have to have a record of what that student has done ( warnings ect) 2 Then you have to meet with parents or the principal 3 Then you have to meet with a core team to give you solutions on how to handle that child.

Then it becomes your fault that you have students that misbehave.

inkdrops24 karma

What do you think of the common core?

lee6113 karma

I think it needs to be refined in someway. It would be great if it was implemented in the correct way.

Standards are a bit too high! Students who have hardly developed their motor skills are expected to learn how to read and write.

cisco5422 karma

What do you plan to do during your retirement?

lee6138 karma

I want to go into investing and my family owns a farm!

_Zeppo_21 karma

Is this gonna be on the test?

lee6121 karma


AndreeaDinu15 karma

You are an example for every woman ! How do you feel about that? being a teacher for 30+ years?

lee6121 karma

Fantastic! I like I have contributed to the education of the future.

I guess you can say satisfied.

clemthecat15 karma

How do you think teachers have evolved/changed over the years you've been working?

lee6135 karma

More concern about test than teaching.

planopanther13 karma

Who is one student you will never forget?

lee6128 karma

The two students who befriended my son! My family befriended their family.

I will never forget them.

KeeperOfSkyChickens13 karma

Do you know a Kevin?

lee6113 karma

I am considering showing my mom that story.

boston_shua7 karma

What do you dislike most about your child?

lee6123 karma


lukyiam6 karma

what is the most hilarious thing you've ever seen or heard?

lee6126 karma

Listening to kids random conversations is always funny!

I remember once on a standardized test, a student raised his hand. So I came over and this is what he told me. "I'm a very smart student, and I need to tell you something" I asked him what he wanted to tell me.

"All of these answers are wrong, so I cannot do this test".

He then proceeded to write in his own answers.

lee616 karma

Alright! About to head home! Will deliver I Promise!

alex1991195 karma

Why elementary and not some other level?

lee618 karma

Honestly I kinda fell into teaching.

I wanted to be a social worker it was at the end of my sophomore year and I had to declare a major. The professor told me "if nothing else works you can always teach".

At the time teaching was less demanding.

SkaMzy5 karma

Is there any student now famous and who?

lee6127 karma

I have had several students who have been murdered. But I don't know if anyone became famous.

spetticino3 karma

How has the curriculum changed since you started? Do you think it is better or worse now?

lee617 karma

It's better! Technology has made the world a much smaller place. Students are able to get more one on one access to resources.

The downside is that students don't have time to sit down and just think. They always want faster results.

vertrek3 karma

Hi. I'm a volunteer spanish "teacher" at a weekends school. It's not exactly a school, but a place for bilingual kids to keep using Spanish and learning it in a more relaxed way. I don't have any teaching formation and sometimes have a hard time making them pay attention or behave. They are great kids but 15 minutes into the class and all they want to do is play, show me stuff, shout and jump around. (I teach 7 and 8 years olds). Any tips or thoughts? Thank you!

lee614 karma

  • First, See if you can find a older organized instructor that doesn't have a problem.

  • Have an agenda and stick to it! Don't just show up, make sure you are prepared!

  • How many students are boys, how many students are girls.

    Boys are more physical, girls are more language oriented.

thrakkerzog3 karma

Do you miss the smell of the mimeograph ink? I always smelled the purple ink as the papers were passed out.

lee615 karma

Fun for the students to smell. Not fun to make.

BaskinsRedd3 karma

In all your years, how many teachers have you seen get fired? What were some of the reasons?

lee6113 karma

I remember a teacher who would show up to school intoxicated!

The last straw was when she passed out in the classroom.

SkySpawn3 karma

Is it difficult to juggle being a parent and a teacher in today's times? Or was it so 15-20 years ago?

lee613 karma

Teaching in general has become more stressing! Standardized testing has put a ton of stress on teachers.

SchaeferB2 karma

What does the see for the future of educating our youth?

lee612 karma

Technology is being included more and more into the curriculum. It's grate for students who have access to the resources, but not for the ones who don't.

bluesman842 karma

If you were to look back at kids 30 years ago, and now, what are 5 things that are drastically different?

lee618 karma

  • Technology!: The ease of access to the entire wealth of human knowledge and the speed of with you get it has made things much easier. The downside is that spelling has taken a downfall.

  • Medication: Some students need it, most of them don't. The ones that do however benefit from it greatly!

  • Hyperactivity: Students are much more hyperactive then they were in my time. Recess is also shorter. It used to be an hour and a half, now it's just 30 minuets.

  • Absentee Parents: Children out of wedlock and single parents have increased dramatically.

  • Acceptance: Homosexuality is better accepted now, which is a good thing!

BloodOfPheonix2 karma

Have you ever thought about teaching high school?

lee613 karma

If I could do it all again I would be a high school teacher. I would like to simply concentrate and become great a one particular subject than try to teach many subjects.

I would never teach middle school though.

nietzschebietzsche2 karma

Was there ever a moment like in the movies where she managed to make some kid see the light? Say that kid was a bully, or a bad person in general, but your mom thought it's not who they actually are, and they turned out to be good afterall?

lee613 karma

Yes, many times! That's one of my moms most favorite part of teaching.

Dolphineer2 karma

What is your opinion on Standard Testing?

lee612 karma

What is your opinion on Standard Testing?

She answered hat in her previous comments!

Vaginal_Decimation2 karma

Why didn't you teach your child how to use commas?

lee613 karma

We are on a time crunch and I want to answer as much a possible.

I will probably revise later.