In a recent poll, YouGov asked Americans about teachers who had a significant impact on them during K-12 or post-secondary education. Half (53%) of Americans say they had a school teacher who changed their lives for the better, 32% say they did not have such a teacher, and 15% are not sure.
When do Americans meet the teachers who may change their life for the better?
One-third of Americans who had a teacher change their lives for the better say they met the teacher who had the most significant positive impact on their lives sometime between 9th and 12th grade. Almost as many (29%) say they met this teacher sometime between kindergarten and 8th grade, and one-quarter are not sure.
YouGov also asked Americans about teachers who had a negative impact on their life. One in five Americans (22%) say they had a teacher who made their life worse during their K-12 or post-secondary education. American adults under 30 (28%) were more likely to say they had such a teacher, compared to the other major age groups polled.
Americans who identify as white (25%) are more likely to say they had a teacher who changed their life negatively than are Americans who identify as Black (13%) or Hispanic (16%).
— Taylor Orth, Linley Sanders, and Carl Bialik contributed to this article
This poll was conducted on August 11 - 15, 2022 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this poll.
Image: Getty (Will & Deni McIntyre)