Teaching Profession

Feel-Good Roundup: Students Surprise Their Teachers in Several Viral Clips

By Kristine Kim — September 26, 2016 2 min read
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Teacher Appreciation Day isn’t until May, but some feel-good instances of students showing their appreciation to teachers in the meantime have gone viral.

According to USA Today, Hector Montez and his classmates at Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas, surprised his teacher and football coach Thomas Walser on Thursday with a very thoughtful pair of kicks to make a childhood wish come true.

In a video Hector posted to Twitter, he presented Walser with a retro pair of Air Jordan 12 “Taxi” shoes, saying, “This is for you for always keeping it real with me.” Walser had offhandedly mentioned to Hector that these were his favorite shoes a couple of years ago.

“It’s good to give back to the man who’s always been by my side,” Hector wrote on Twitter. Footage of Coach Walser’s incredulous reaction has since gone viral.

Its good to give back to the man who's always been by my side.🤘🏼 @CoachWalser pic.twitter.com/W4Sb5tMPim -- Hector Montez (@Augustine__09) September 22, 2016

Walser also took to Twitter to express his genuine disbelief and joy: “When your kids buy you the shoes you’ve wanted since you were 12!”

Fellow students shared photos of the teacher’s wide grin as he donned the new pair and posed for the class.

Earlier this month, in Nashville, Tenn., 400 students from Nashville’s Christ Presbyterian Academy came together to offer up songs of hope for high school Latin teacher Ben Ellis, who was battling an aggressive form of cancer, according to CNN.

CNN reported that Ellis died a few days after being serenaded by the entire student body and faculty right outside his home from his windowsill. Footage of Ellis singing along to “Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here” has reached over 31 million views after country singer Tim McGraw shared it on Facebook.

A fellow teacher posted that this had been a spur-of-the-moment decision by the students and faculty. “Students were in the middle of class ... some taking quizzes and tests ... and dropped everything for a bigger lesson on life, love, community, compassion,” she wrote.

Shannon Lee Seibert, a parent of one student, told WGN, “The kids were giving back to him some of the love he has given to them. He is the definition of a teacher and role model.”

Other heartwarming teacher-appreciation stories in 2016 include:

  • Tonya Andrews, an 11th grade math teacher at Joshua High School in Texas, received comfort from her students after they heard that her beloved cat of 16 years had died, Inside Edition reported. The surprise involved two adorable kittens, homemade cupcakes, and flowers as Andrews embraced her thoughtful students through her tears.

  • Back in February, high school English teacher Kyle Simpler from Burleson High School in Texas walked into a birthday surprise from his class and doubled over in emotion—caught on camera by students who wanted to give Simpler a memorable celebration since he couldn’t remember the last time he had a birthday cake, according to Fox 5.

    Threw our teacher a surprise party. He doesn't remember the last time he has a bday cake 🎈😊🎉🎁 pic.twitter.com/yR3jOGByTw -- Sae (@Saeya8) February 11, 2016

  • And for a more humorous surprise, in June, Turner High School students in Kansas City, Kansas surprised their Spanish teacher Andrew Ward by videotaping his customary “Buenos dias!” greeting at the start of every class for two months. They showed him the funny compilation video on the final day of class, which soon went viral.

Can you feel the love? Teachers, if your students have pulled off any surprises for you, big or small, please share them in the comments.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.