Late night hospital visits, class cookouts in the mountains, and horse rides dressed as Shakespeare—these are just a few of the best memories Americans have of their favorite teachers.

Participants in a new survey said they owe much to their teachers. They reported every good deed they could remember, from teachers taking time to call students at home to check up on them after a bad day (39%) to staying at school late to help with homework (38%), compassionate educators have had a meaningful impact on a whopping 83% of survey respondents.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Staples, the survey asked 2,000 Americans about their favorite school teacher and the impact that teacher had on their lives after school. The results showed that 2 in 5 respondents said that they owed their career success to an old school teacher.

For instance, the founder of Good News Network, while attending a community college in Rockville, Maryland, vented to her physics professor, Dr. Don Day, that the Theater Department was too cliquish and she didn’t fit in. He suggested the TV/Radio department as a good alternative, and the rest is serendipitous history—great friends, great teachers, and jobs enough for every graduate in nearby D.C., straight out of college.

Survey results found 77% had a favorite teacher—yet nearly one-third have never thanked them, and wished they had.

America’s Favorite Teacher Memories (edited for length and/or clarity)

  • “A teacher offered to pay my school fees.”
  • “He visited me often after school hours when I was hospitalized.”
  • “He took our whole sixth grade class to his home in the mountains for a cookout picnic.”
  • “Holding class outside; and one time he rode in on a horse dressed in Shakespearean attire.”
  • “Everyone would go to her to pull out our loose teeth. She was gentle and we trusted her.”
  • “During my third grade, I got a high fever at school. My teacher sat with me and fed me my lunch.”
  • “My French teacher had me enter an essay contest for a study of Europe. Unbelievably, I won. She talked my very strict parents into letting me go.”
  • “I was afraid to be in school and so I hid behind a snow bank when I was six. My teacher saw me and put her arm around me and said she was so happy to see me and to have me in her classroom. I never forgot that.”
  • “My high school English teacher knew my parents were in the midst of a divorce. She knew I loved to write, and she would take her lunch to her classroom, and invite me to come and critique my work. I owe much of my University success to those sessions.”
  • “I don’t have a favorite memory really, but I am in contact still with my first grade teacher. She lives in a nursing home now. She never had any children of her own. I go and see her every chance I get.”
  • “I remember I was facing a challenge in math and my teacher spent his free time teaching me until I was able to understand everything. I am forever grateful.”

Americans have their teachers to thank for affecting large parts of their lives, such as their personal values and morals (49%) and their level of education (39%).

LOOK: Barefoot Teacher Pictured Running Ahead of Tornado to Warn Families in Carpool Lane to Take Cover

One respondent said that they had their teacher to thank for getting through the heartache of losing a parent; and collectively, one quarter of Americans polled also gave credit to teachers for impacting how they raised their own children.

Results also showed that Americans felt fondness for their teachers during their last two years of high school—with 26 and 31% reporting that their favorite teachers taught in their junior and senior years, respectively.

Often pulling from their own pockets, it comes as no surprise that 3 in 10 respondents reported a teacher had bought them school supplies if they couldn’t afford them, as well as bought them lunch if they didn’t have food or lunch money.

WATCH: After His Old High School Teacher Got a Flat Tire, NFL Player Came to Her Rescue

The memories didn’t stop at school, either; nearly three-quarters of Americans have stayed in touch with a past teacher. And thanks to the modern era, Americans stay in touch with an average of three teachers over social media.

Respondents aged 25 to 34 were the most likely to stay in touch with a past teacher, with 86% reporting they have kept in touch with at least one since leaving school.

1. English 43%
2. Math 38%
3. Science 35%
4. History 25%
5. Music 21%

Almost half of respondents have met up with favorite teacher for lunch or dinner, or at a community event. 34% even invited a past teacher to meet their own children.

Staples’ New ‘Thank a Teacher’ Campaign

To express their gratitude, nearly 70% of participants have given a gift to a past teacher—with popular gifts being something handmade (35%), baked goods (32%), and bookstore gift cards (30%).

“This Back to School season, we wanted to give teachers the recognition they deserve,” said Shauna Marhafer, Director, Loyalty & Customer Development Marketing of Staples. “Now through September 15, 2019, parents can give 5 percent of in-store and online purchases back to a teacher or school of their choosing through the Staples Classroom Rewards program to help offset teacher expenses.”

You can also enter your teacher into a sweepstakes to win $10,000 in school supplies, simply by posting on Instagram and Twitter, including the name of your favorite teacher and add #ThankATeacher, #Sweepstakes and @StaplesStores. Click to get more details about the Thank a Teacher campaign.

RELATED: Teacher Goes Viral for Proudly Turning Student Doodles into a Dress

Be Sure And Share These Sweet Survey Results With Your Friends On Social Media…


  1. I did a lot for my students but I doubt any would remember me. You remember elementary and high school but rarely middle school. No one will remember the things I did. Not the Egyptian funeral we had for our mummified fish. Not Tom for my giving him a bass clarinet for his large hands and calling his Mom to tell her how well he was doing in class. Not Chris who I fought to hold back to protect him from bullying and became the class leader and later skipped a grade and became manager of a Home Depot. Then I became a school librarian. Even Daniel, who as a third grader gave a speech at CSLA with my coaching will forget me after all of those High School memories. My memory will be overshadowed by others. I am easily forgettable.

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