The classroom is one of the most surprising places on earth—but as fulfilling as some moments are, others are downright horrifying. From unhinged students to evil teachers, these Redditors sure got a taste of shocking classroom chaos and have shared their wild stories.
1. A Gourmet Experience
In my pleasantly morbid toddler class today, I was schooled on how to properly prepare a nice, elegant meal for friends and family. One of my children—who, for this story, will be called Master Chef—decided it was definitely time for a tea party. So, we all gathered around the little table, set nicely with clashing colors of cups and plates.
He had set out spoons, and even a little pitcher with some fake flowers on the center of the table. I was obviously thoroughly impressed already. This was phenomenal, romantic, and everyone was eager to eat whatever plastic entree he was about to present to us. Finally, Master Chef turned from the play kitchen, and yelled, “It’s prepared.” My jaw literally DROPPED.
He then began to pull out dismembered baby dolls from the microwave. Master Chef had taken seven baby dolls, dismembered them, and then shoved them into the microwave. Now, this was creepy and hilarious enough, as is. But I made the grave mistake of asking, “Oh, Master Chef, where are the heads?” as they were not present in our current display of food.
He replied with, “Freezing, we don’t want the brains to squish in our teeth.” He then opened the doors to the play fridge, and on display were eight decapitated doll heads lined up meticulously. No further questions were asked. The food was delicious. We all enjoyed the main meal and loved our frozen dessert. We have yet to locate the eighth body. I’m not sure I want to.
11. A Smelly Secret
The middle school where I used to teach used to be a high school, so there were a lot of disused spaces around the building that the middle school just didn’t have a lot of use for other than storage. One of those spaces was the old high school wrestling room. It was essentially used for the storage of some gym equipment and as a hallway.
At some point, people started to notice a bad smell in the room when they went through. They didn’t think anything of it at first, but it gradually got worse and worse until they finally went in to investigate…What they found was utterly disgusting. Buried under some other equipment, was a wooden box half full of human excrement.
They just covered everything back up and waited. Eventually, they caught a student who had been sneaking out of the lunchroom and into the wrestling room every day to do his business in the box. His parents were called, of course. He just thought it would be funny. The best part was that the school sent them home with the box.
2. Maybe That’s The Launch Sequence
I was a teacher’s assistant. We had a rocket day where every student made mini rockets to be launched. They were in 5th grade and in the cafeteria and I was walking around to help anyone who needed help. One little girl called me over from my class. I came up and asked, “What’s up?” because everyone was almost done at that point. Her response floored me.
She looked me dead in the eye, and slowly licked the side of the rocket. Like a seductive lick. I had never been more uncomfortable up to that point.
3. How Do You Not Notice?
My mother is a middle school teacher so she’s got some stories, but this one is absolutely unnerving. As a class was getting new assigned seats and waiting at the front of the classroom while the teacher reads out names and seats, a girl, who was pretty quiet but not exactly ‘loner’ status, lanced a boy in the back with a pair of scissors completely unprovoked.
She jabbed him deep enough to puncture a lung and somehow, this kid didn’t notice. It wasn’t until 10 to 15 minutes later when he asked to use the restroom and another teacher saw the back of him soaked in blood. After they figured out what happened and who did it, the authorities were called and she was taken to a children’s facility.
My mother stopped in at the end of the day to chat with the principal about the incident and what the principal described was quite disturbing. She apparently sat there the entire time the authorities were talking to her about what she did and why she did it and she had absolutely no remorse. She sat there and nodded. No tears. Gave no reason why she did it.
When she was told she would be going into a children’s facility—nothing…no reaction. She just sat there staring. This wasn’t revenge for something this boy did, they weren’t friends and my mom said he’s the sweetest thing who enjoys his small group of friends and Pokémon. She did this completely randomly.
4. Hitting The Roof
My favorite teacher—who could pass for a very tall 16-year-old—was known for sitting at the desks on the first day of school and pretending to be a student. He was also known for letting everyone play Guitar Hero on Fridays. He was awesome. On with the story. It was the beginning of class and the teacher was going around collecting homework.
Everything was normal until he collects it from one student and his face morphs into pure rage. He angrily said, “What? No name?” before drop kicking the paper. His shoe comes off and goes flying up towards the ceiling where it breaks one of the lights. He then runs out into the hallway and screams, “We need security in here! These kids are breaking lights!”
As far as I know, he never got in trouble for it.
5. Playing Possum
I’m a substitute teacher and this just happened today. I was working in a second-grade class and after lunch I had a student try to go to sleep. I told him that he needed to wake up as we had work to do. At first, he refused and I thought that he might not be feeling well. I asked if he needed to see the nurse and he said that he did not.
He then moved to the floor where he proceeded to “fall asleep” for the next hour. After trying everything to get him up, I called the office. A nurse came to look at him and determined it was a behavior issue. The principal came and together they removed the student who went totally limp and they had to carry him out of the class.
I thought that this was the end of the issue, but five minutes later I got called out into the hall. The student was still “sleeping” and the principal had the authorities on the phone. I explained the situation to her and my belief that this was a work avoidance issue. However, the principal had to do her job, which I understood and backed up. I’ll never forget what happened next.
Paramedics came and tried to revive this kid. They finally said they needed to give him a shot and draw some blood and what do you know, the second he heard that he was wide awake and crying. I kid you not. This kid played possum for almost two hours and let it go far enough for the principal to call the authorities for help. I just don’t know anymore. Where do seven-year-olds even learn this stuff?
6. A Fair To Remember
I was discussing homophones with 3rd graders and we were considering the words fare/fair, what they mean, and how they’re spelled. I was sure we had exhausted all the meanings: fair weather, playing fair, bus or taxi fare, etc. I thought we had it covered, but no, Heather knew one more—and she accidentally shared her family’s darkest secret.
She said, “You know, ‘fair?’ When your mom has a ‘fair’ and your dad finds out and gets really mad about it?” I’m not often speechless, but that left me floundering for a moment!
7. Essay Or Manifesto?
I had a student once write a very terrifying and unsettling personal narrative essay. I forget exactly what the prompt was, but it was about an educational experience. It started off with the student talking about how he had always felt alone and isolated and out of place as a student, and it quickly disintegrated into how he was coveting his pretty female teachers.
He said that he felt overly protective toward them, and that he was jealous when other male students talked to them, eventually revealing that his deepest desire was to cut off his male classmates’ faces and wear them as a mask. I had never before felt such a bone-tingling dread before while reading an essay.
I spoke with my dean about this, and we called the counseling and advising department, read sections of the essay to them, and they said they would handle things from there on out. The student was withdrawn from my class, and for the next two class periods, an officer was placed at the door of my classroom in case the student showed up.
Here’s the kicker: the next year, one of my students told me that her boyfriend was in my class the previous year and that he really enjoyed my class. I asked who it was, and she revealed that it was the student who wrote that bone-chilling essay. I so desperately wanted to tell her, but privacy laws wouldn’t allow me to.
8. A Dire Situation
My student—who missed a few days of class and her last exam—comes to me with an important confession: She’s homeless. Instantly my heart bleeds for her. I say, “You poor thing! Are you ok? No wonder you’ve missed class and are having a hard time concentrating. The fact that you’re here now is so commendable.” She nods and then proceeds to complete what she was saying.
She first says, “Yeah.” Then she looks down, clearly distraught, “It has been really hard lately. I can’t talk to my friends or family. It has been hard concentrating in class.” She says she just wanted me to understand what she’s been going through. I ask her where she sleeps at night? Is there a place that she can go while she’s getting back on her feet? That’s when she gives me a bewildered look.
Apparently, I got it all wrong because she replies, “I’m not homeless. I’m phoneless.”
9. One Man’s Trash…
I was teaching 7th grade a few years ago. One of my students is a bit…off. Not “off” like “I’m going to harm you,” but “off” like “I have an old toy chest full of all of my haircuts and a picture of my mom’s pretty friend.” I will call this kid Carmine. One day, Carmine comes to school and you can hear that he’s pretty sick, his nose is clogged and that stuff isn’t going anywhere.
Oceans of molten mucus clogging up his nose. He’s snorting every five seconds, blowing his nose, hefty meaty blows of the nose. Filling tissue after tissue. On this day, in my class, everyone was reading independently. I scanned the room to find Carmine hunched over his book, sideways in his chair, blowing his nose violently into a tissue.
I thought man, poor kid, should probably be home sleeping or something. Then I thought OH GOD WHY as Carmine opened the hefty, soggy tissue, looked suspiciously around the room, and took a big ol’ lick of the contents. Then another. Then I walked up behind him, as calm as I could muster, and said, “Hey, Carmine, throw that away, please.”
The look in his eyes was not one of disgrace. It was more like the greedy, defensive look I get when I approach my dog as he’s gnawing on a bone. The look was 100% NO THIS IS MINE, YOU CAN’T HAVE IT. I didn’t want it, Carmine, I didn’t want it.
10. A Reverse Cinderella Story
Yesterday was day one of school. I got my lovely students back from last year…except they are now less lovely and more like teenagers. Anyway, we had two hours of class as we had assembly and paperwork, so we bumbled along, and then I sent them on their way. As she’s leaving one girl, we’ll call her Sally, tells me the shoes her mom bought her really hurt her feet and she doesn’t want to wear them.
She’s actually not wearing them, just her socks. So as it’s break, I tell her to put them back on temporarily and go to the head of year’s office, as he has spare emergency shoes in most sizes and something worn in will probably be better than nothing. Then she needs to tell her mom to get new ones or try and wear them in. She agrees to this, but I didn’t know what I was getting into.
I learn in the process that her mom spent £98 on these shoes. They were black Mary Janes. How anyone could charge £98 is beyond me. Some of the parents at my school have more money than sense! So school rumbles on and finally, 3 pm comes into view. I’m packing up and planning my break when there’s a knock at my door. It’s Sally. She’s not wearing any shoes.
My head is already hurting, we’re having a heatwave and my last class was rough. I ask with trepidation, “Where are your shoes, Sally?” She says, “I lost them, miss.” It turns out she went to the head of year, but the only shoes he had were apparently “gross.” So she decided to keep her own and had been stealthily removing them all day.
It happened in lessons, on corridors, at breaks. Any chance she got, off the shoes came until, fatefully, she had removed them after leaving her last class and put them down somewhere. My heart sinks as she talks. I see my speedy exit dwindling away as the tale of woe unfolded. I ask where she’d had them last, and she says that it was in her geography class.
But they aren’t in the classroom or the corridor and Ms. Lewis had sent her to tell me. I think, “Thanks, Miss.” We go through every option of where she’d been and who she was with, but no one had seen them or remembered where the shoes had last been sighted. Eventually, I tell her she will have to confess to her mom.
Unexpectedly, as Sally is a cheerful sort, this brings floods of tears and genuine panic. Sally explains her mum will kill her and won’t let her go for more shoes until the weekend so she’ll have to come in trainers, and she’ll get a detention. I had wondered if I was being played until this point, but this was real emotion, or worthy of an Oscar.
So I dry her off, sit her with my fellow English teacher who is doing planning and tell her to do homework. I then scour the school from top to bottom. Every place she might have been or the shoes could have wandered off to. I alert janitors, teachers, admin, anyone I encounter. Finally, as a last-ditch attempt, I look on the field. It turned out to be a brilliant idea.
On the horizon, I see a small, black blob. I hurry over, and it becomes less blob like and more shoe-like as I approach, until finally there we are. Two shiny, black Mary Janes sitting neatly next to a goal post. I return them to their owner, who cries again. I make her put them on and fasten them in my presence, and then I send her on her way with threats of wrath if they don’t make it home.
Finally, before I collapse into my desk chair and beg for tea, I send an email to Sally’s mom and suggest she grab some cheap shoes for her child as her others seemed to be hurting her feet and she needed some time to wear them in before they came back to school. And so that is how my first day ended at school. With a mad shoe hunt.
11. An Argument For Buzz Cuts
I was a preschool teacher at the time. I was doing group time (singing songs, reading a book) and all the kids were sitting on the floor. One left to blow her nose. She came back, walked through the crowd of kids to get back to her spot, grabbed a quiet girl’s hair, and kept walking. My assistant thought it was a mistake, but the girl kept walking.
She even bent at the knees and yanked while the poor long-haired girl screamed. That girl had no remorse and would be so unpredictable. She would look in your eyes, but right through them. It was a stressful year.
12. Keeping It Together
All the way back in third grade we had one of the kindest female teachers, who even let us name her kid, Leo. One day she went outside the classroom to staple things onto the bulletin board while we were working on a paper in class. I don’t remember exactly why—I think it was because I needed to ask a question—but I went out to see her.
We were speaking to one another in the usual way until I noticed something horrifying: While she was speaking—lost in thought—she was busy stapling her own had. Up and down. Up and down. I couldn’t help but stare and went “Um, Miss.” Her reaction was just, “Oh. Oh, my God.”She was still super calm though. I asked if she was all right as her hand was bleeding a bit.
And she said that she was. She hadn’t realized what she’d been doing and didn’t feel a thing. Turns out she had nerve damage. I watched her pick the staples out. It was a strange blend of funny and gross.
13. A Lack Of Social Skills
I worked in a nursery and had a little girl there who I had to do one-on-one work with because of her serious attachment disorder. It wasn’t diagnosed at that point yet, but the nursery workers were totally underequipped and underfunded to deal with this poor kid. Although she was only three years old, she had really underdeveloped speech, didn’t know how to cry, and was the most violent child I had ever met.
She was incredibly strong due to trauma early on (children who have lived in abusive homes generally have much more strength because they’re constantly in the fight or flight reflex, high on adrenaline), and was already removed from the abusive home, living with her alcoholic grandparents. I saw her swing a metal pole at a kid’s head, stomp on children, shout bad words, you name it. But the most disturbing thing of all?
Her penchant for biting other children—specifically little babies. On their faces. Whenever we had outside playtime, we had to have someone right behind her at all times, especially when the babies were out at the same time as us. One moment, she’d be sweetly playing in one corner, and then, the second you looked away—BAM—she’d be on the other end of the playground, viciously attacking a baby.
She put one of those poor little babies in hospital before I started there, and there were many other incidences during my time too. The good news is that working with her for just a few months, and really really giving her attention and love and patience paid off. She learned how to cry. She learned how to show love and frustration.
And she stopped biting towards the end. It was really incredibly hard work, and I definitely got too emotionally involved, but it was worth every moment. Broke my heart when I had to leave.
14. Hamming It
So, I am a middle school teacher and have been doing this for ten years now. Students are not always at their best but this one takes the cake for the strangest discipline issue I’ve been a part of. Now, this was a few years ago, so I’ll refrain from direct quotes until the end. I used to work for a smaller school with a very small mix of students.
There were 20 or so students per classroom, 60 per grade. We had a classroom pet, a hamster named Amelia. Students have chores to care for the hamster before school and they respect that she is left alone during content parts of class, mostly. All the students love Amelia, and she frequently uses her hamster ball for exercise during study hall.
One day, we are all coming in from recess, and the alarm is raised. Amelia is gone and the cage is open. Now, Amelia is a little bit of a Houdini. If that cage is secured exactly right, she finds her way out. Never goes far, as most of the kids are very, very careful. So, it is not a commonplace event but no malicious intent is suspected.
As a class, we spend some time looking for her, and I pop over to my neighboring teacher’s room to give her a heads up. Our “wall” between our classrooms is a divider with hamster-sized gaps, so sometimes she’s over there. On my way back, I notice something strange in the hallway. A few pieces of the bedding in the cage are on the floor in the hall.
They are right in front of some of my student’s lockers, which are inches away. Now, as the hamster lives in my room and had never left breadcrumbs or shown signs of telekinetic abilities, my suspicions have been triggered. I call up admin, share that I am suspicious of the contents of said lockers, and asked if they would come do a locker check.
Admin agrees with my suspicion and decides a locker check in that area is warranted. Lo and behold, an opened locker reveals more bedding inside. Now, kids are weird. They collect weird things. If you had never seen the inside of a typical bank of middle school lockers you might be astounded by the variety of strange things that come out.
However, with Amelia at large, this is a bit concerning. A quick lookup leads us to Bob, the current user of the locker. Now, Bob went home during recess. He suddenly felt sick and had “thrown up” in the bathroom. Now, we don’t like to throw around accusations, but a tiny life is missing so we call up Bob’s mother. Bob’s understanding mother.
We explain what we’ve found, she’s upset and drags her son back into the school. Bob denies any knowledge of Amelia’s AWOL status. So, we ask about the bedding material. Bob claims he thought the bedding would be cool, so he took some of it weeks ago and we are only now noticing. This is despite the fact that the hallways are swept nightly.
But Bob is in this for the long haul. He starts to well up in tears and asks how we could accuse him of endangering Amelia in any way. Big crocodile tears are streaming down his face for a solid 20 minutes. It’s late, he’s not budging, and we are not a school that has cameras. We decide to give him the benefit of the doubt.
All of us classroom teachers—all eight of us since we are a small school—stay late and look for Amelia. We set up peanut butter traps—100% success previously—check in cabinets, and do the whole nine yards. Bob’s mom says she’ll keep an eye out, and we all go home. Over the next two days, students express concern and worry and Bob is right there with them.
He is so worried about her getting food. He expresses horror when a student suggests she got outside and may have become food. He helps search for her before school. Now, Bob has a little sister. She’s five, so not super reliable, but old enough. Three days later, Bob’s mother comes in when she brings him to school and asks to speak to me.
She is furious. Her daughter got scared of a little tan ‘monster’ running around her room and told her mother. I hand her some peanut butter and a shoebox and tell her how to set a trap. Meanwhile, Bob is getting unpacked, sulking and loudly complaining that his mother thinks he took the hamster and he’d never do that.
No one is surprised when his mom comes in about two hours later, Amelia safely captured, and thankfully unharmed. Well, Bob gets called to the office again. I’m on my prep and am asked to join. Now Bob does not know yet that his mother has come into the school. She asked us not to tell him and to give him one more chance.
Now, admitting mistakes is hard for anyone, much less a 14-year-old boy. Bob is evidently an excellent actor as he is crying again about how he’s being hounded. These are big ol’ crocodile tears. But that’s not the best part. He brings up the Salem Witch Trials, he accuses us of discrimination, and the indignation is endless. Our admin patiently waits for him to stop talking.
Bob is still sniffling. Once he stops talking, the admin tells him that his mother has just found and dropped off Amelia. Bob tries one more time. Tearfully, he explains that his friend gave him a hamster and it just so happens to look like Amelia but truly and honestly that is not her. Now, our admin is a “wait them out” kind of guy.
He sits in silence and just looks at Bob. It’s a staring contest for two minutes. I remain silent because I just don’t know what to say at this point. It’s so quiet you can hear the clock ticking as each second goes by. All of a sudden Bob stops sulking, sits up straight and says in his normal voice, “Ah. I thought I could get away with it.” If Bob becomes an A-list actor someday, I would not be surprised.
15. A Hard-Hitting Message
Back when I worked in elementary schools, I worked with a hearing-impaired kindergartner. One day he shows up with this huge scab on his forearm so I ask him how it happened. He tells me that while riding his bike, he ran into a street sign and fell off his bike. I immediately imagined how funny it would be if he ran into a stop sign.
So, I asked him, “What sign did you run into?” He answered, “The ‘Deaf Child Playing’ sign!” Then he throws his hands up in the air and adds, “I ran into my own sign!”
16. In From The Cold
A student in my school told the teacher that his mom told him to sleep in the hallway last night. It was so cold that he didn’t get much sleep. The teacher asked the student why the mom had done so. Then came the horrible explanation. The rent was due and the parent didn’t have the money to pay it. The landlord said, “Pay up or you’ll be moved before noon.”
The mom, realizing that she and her child would be out on the street if she didn’t do something, suggested an alternative to the rent. The alternative required her son to be out for the night…if you catch my drift…and so she told him to sleep in the hallway. It was the deep winter and the hallway wasn’t well heated, so this kid nearly froze and that’s why he couldn’t sleep. The teacher responded to this situation perfectly.
If he called the authorities, then the kid would be removed from the home and probably end up in a worse situation. Instead, he called out and had a hot breakfast delivered to his classroom. He told the kid to eat and then put his head down and get some sleep. He did as he was told by the teacher. The bells rang and the other kids started to come into the classroom.
This one child put his head down and fell asleep. The class continued as normal. That day, the teachers’ supervisor made a surprise visit and quietly moved to the back of the class to observe. The teacher continued whatever lesson he was presenting at the moment. Suddenly the supervisor got up and quickly walked to the front of the classroom where the kid had his head down and was sleeping.
“Wake up!” she shouted. The teacher intervened by saying loudly, “Ms. O’Brien, I wouldn’t do that.” The supervisor continued to shout and started to poke the kid in his side to get him to wake. She yelled something to the effect of, “You can’t sleep in school, it’s against the rules!” With that, all heck broke loose. The student awoke and got up, picked up his chair, and attempted to wrap it around the screaming supervisor’s head.
She ran to the back of the room screaming and the kid followed, trying to nail her with the chair. He kept missing, and she kept running and screaming. Down the hall it went with her screaming all the way. The student lost all momentum after a short while and returned to the classroom. His comment was, “Who was that?”
The teacher said, “Don’t worry, sit down and go back to sleep.” As you might expect, the teacher was immediately called to the office by me, the principal of the school. A substitute took over his class while he was at the office. I said, “Ms. O’Brien says she was attacked by a student in your class. She tells me that the student tried to hit her with a chair. Can you explain any of this?”
The teacher responded with, “Well, yes I can tell you what I saw and what the rest of the class will also support. Ms. O’Brien was sitting in the back of the classroom observing my lesson when she suddenly got up and ran to the front of the room, yelling, ‘Get up!; and also poking a sleeping child that was doing what I told him to do. So yes, an attack took place before my very eyes and also in the eyes of the rest of the class. Before I could do anything to stop this, the altercation happened. This child was defending himself as a result of the attack he had just suffered.”
The supervisor was told to return to the Board of Education and speak to the superintendent regarding this matter. Then the teacher and I wrote up their individual reports regarding the matter and faxed them to the superintendent for their perusal. The end result was that the supervisor was reminded that screaming and poking a student is an attack and that the student responded in the only way he could, coming out of a sound sleep.
He protected himself. When the teacher received the final report regarding that particular classroom observation, he wasn’t surprised. He received satisfactory grades in all areas except one. In Classroom Control he received a U, an Unsatisfactory rating. To this day, this was the only Unsatisfactory rating that he ever received, and he was very proud of it.
When I was a teaching assistant, I used to work as a substitute teacher for very unruly classes, AKA, the classes licensed teachers wouldn’t accept. I had full responsibility, worked all hours, and my numbers showed that my class was making great progress. I just had some bad luck that caused me to not finish teaching college at that time.
Because I didn’t have my license, I got into a horrific situation My boss came to me one day and talked about how I was actually too uneducated and inexperienced to teach and that I must have had someone telling me what to do behind me. I told her that I didn’t have anyone like that, but she didn’t believe me and told me she’d be watching me like an eagle.
This was supposed to be to see if I was doing something fraudulent, like changing grades and other such things. I never did anything like that to my students. I’m not a cruel person, and I didn’t want anyone implying that I wasn’t doing my job as expected. The students had all got to the next year with scores higher than we would’ve expected beforehand. I came up with a plan to get revenge.
I started to behave like a beginner student-teacher, though only to my boss. I asked really stupid questions like “How can I make my class quiet? I’m really too uneducated to know so can you please help this teacher out by showing it?” I did this knowing full well that my formerly disruptive class wouldn’t ever listen to my boss.
I called her for everything; a parent wanting to talk to me, a kid who fell down and needed a Band-Aid; anything. I made sure to tell her that I was too uneducated and inexperienced to handle such a task, and I needed to observe a true pro at work. But that wasn’t the end of my plot. My colleagues got in on it too. They started pointing out everything I wasn’t allowed to do, but expected to do.
They then told my boss that it was illegal for her to expect me to do so. In the meantime, I was discussing gamification, the need for programming and English in primary school, showing older colleagues new teaching methods and digital assistance, basically all the goodies that I HAD learned throughout my education. After six weeks; she was finally done.
She called me to her office and apologized to me for saying that I was too uneducated and inexperienced. She also said she was renewing my contract and got some budget to pay for half of my studies. But I knew something she didn’t. I was happy to tell her that I had gotten a new job that would pay for everything to get me my license and I would get full creative freedom, without being watched like an eagle.
This was two years ago. I almost have my license now and I still work at that awesome school that hired me, after the allegations of being uneducated and inexperienced at my old job. I even got a reward and a trophy from the board for doing exceptional work and obtaining goals with my students. I miss the students, but I don’t miss that boss.
18. Regret Was Felt That Day
This one is a doozy. We had a brother and sister that were adopted at birth from Russia. These kids were trouble. Needless to say times were often difficult and one of them seemed to have extremely sociopathic tendencies. For Christmas they got a camera. Seemed like a fun gift idea and there were really excited about it.
I knew their family didn’t have much in the way of income, so a cool gift was really special for them. I was happy they got something they both enjoyed so much. But then they brought the camera in and began showing other children the pictures, which is a pretty big problem. Kids were not allowed to bring in cameras to school or anything.
The cameras were a mistake, and most of all, the pictures were some of the most unfortunate images I’ve ever seen. They were essentially photographing one another’s buttholes as they spread their cheeks apart, among other things. Talking about the photoshoot and how they had to do it when mom and dad weren’t watching.
It was never overtly sexual, more just them thinking they were being funny.
19. Inspiring a Walkout
I once had a terrible history teacher. He was horrible to everyone and said some extremely questionable things. He never bothered me in particular, a few things here and there but nothing terrible. Well, until my best friend drowned while canoeing with some other students. A few days later the principal had a moment of silence for him.
In response, this teacher said ‘kid deserved it.’ I lost my freaking mind. I started shrieking at him. I was crying, and he was just standing there with this mischievous smirk on his face. My friends pulled me out of the room while he called the principal. I ended up suspended but there was a student walkout the next day due to my suspension.
20. Now You See It, Now You Don’t
I teach at an international school in Vietnam. Things are different here, so don’t try this at home. There are simply different rules in this country. We don’t have a principal’s office, detention, or direct and meaningful access to parents who care about their child’s education. As the teacher, I am the judge, the jury, and the executioner.
So, in this school is this kid who keeps playing with his little army man. All the rich kids at this school have a wide variety of toys and candy on them at all times. It’s a challenge. Now, these are kids whose daddies’ Range Rovers cost $300,000 each after the 200% import tax. Unsurprisingly, these kids can be brats, and brats like to learn lessons the hard way. Challenge accepted.
I’m generally pretty chilled out, but I do not give third chances to anyone. One warning, that’s it. This is especially important with my first graders, because a lot of them are learning rules and consequences for the first time. Back to the army man. He was laying down covering fire on the desk while I was talking, again.
This kid’s desk happens to be in front of a large pillar. On the opposite side of the pillar is a trash can with a foot pedal-operated lid. The pillar blocks his view of most of the trash can. You might know where this is going. I snuck up on him, yanked that thing out of his hands, walked behind the pillar, and pretended to throw it out.
I made a show of stomping on the pedal so the lid slammed into the wall as it opened, and pretended to throw it out, all in one smooth motion. In the half-second that I was behind the pillar, I slipped the army man into my sleeve so I could show him my empty hands when I reappeared and walked back to the board. This led to a river of crocodile tears.
I relished every last drop as the silent waterworks intensified and then slowly dried up over the next few minutes. This kid never listens, and he definitely doesn’t have rules or consequences at home. I was actually really impressed by how hard he tried to stop crying and do his work. Good for him. A little trooper, just like his army man.
I loved my army men when I was a kid. Eventually, the guilt got to me so I gave it back 10 minutes before the end of class, instead of at the end as per usual. I guess my heart hasn’t turned into stone yet. He looked at me like I’d just reincarnated his goldfish and scrambled to put his friend into his backpack. Good. That was the last time I saw Sergeant Green or heard the sound of his soldier playing while I was talking.
21. A Solid Plan
I teach at a large high school, with over 3,000 students, in the middle of a very urban area, one of the 10 largest districts in the US, so we get all kinds of students. We are also 1:1, meaning every student gets issued a laptop for doing their schoolwork. My co-worker was having an issue with a female student during class.
Basically, my co-worker asked the girl to put her laptop up as they were doing an in-class activity, and supposedly this is an ongoing issue. This turned into an argument—but the student turned around and told my co-worker something scandalizing: “I don’t need school, I’ll make more than enough money playing online poker.” Well, good luck with that, I guess.
I hope you make enough money to get another laptop once the school takes theirs back once you graduate or you’re finally kicked out.
22. Kidding Around
I used to work at a summer camp for the children of wealthy faculty and alumni of my university. I was a homeroom monitor, which basically meant I spent all day with the same set of kids—ages six to nine, plus one four-year-old—as well as taught their first, middle, and final class of the day, which was reading, crafts, and music.
I had a horrible coworker, whom we will call Angel, who taught their mathematics class which they took after mine. Because she had worked at the department a few months longer than I, Angel assumed that she had seniority over me and could do whatever she wanted. My fiancé, who worked as the nurse/PE coach for the camp, had previously had a run-in with Angel.
Apparently, she had hit on him, he turned her down, and she reported him to the supervisor for “inappropriate conduct.” The supervisor, who was a rather close friend of ours, wasn’t having any of it, and he gave me an explicit warning, stressing that Angel was manipulative. Anyway, Angel had a terrible habit of running over into my second-class period.
This was mainly because hers was the shortest of the day. It was 45 minutes, as opposed to the hour and fifteen mine had and was rather bitter about it. On this particular day, my kids were being awful in the morning, so I was quite flustered. She, as usual, had decided that she wanted to run over into my class period again.
So, as soon as the clock signaled the end of class, I knocked on the door. The kids, knowing it as a signal to get ready to leave, headed for the door. Angel proceeded to yell at the students to sit down because she dismissed them and not me. So, I said politely that she was running into my class period. So, she turned to me and yelled.
She said, “You do not tell me what to do. I am superior to you and you have to listen to me. So, you can leave and come back in 15 minutes.” The kids became very silent, and I was in shock. One of the first rules they tell us is to be civil in front of the kids. I was actually quite surprised that the children got out of their desks and followed me out the door.
They did so despite her yelling and storming after us. She tried to pull me back by my arm, but because she only weighed 90 pounds, of course, her efforts were futile. As we walked to the building, which was across the campus, the kids were surprised because of the way I had handled the situation. Their comments were along the lines of, “Man, Miss, you were so calm. I would have punched her.”
“You should have roundhouse kicked her like Chuck Norris!” And my favorite little nine-year-old looked up at me and quietly responded, “Miss Angel is a meanie.” Angel had called the supervisor, of course, who told her to get over it. So, she called the superintendent who came to observe the classes the following day. My kids, ever the loyal little pains in the neck, were absolutely perfect in my first class.
As we walked to Angel’s room, one of my boys whispered something diabolical, “Don’t worry, Miss. We have your back.” I dropped them off at Angel’s room with the superintendent, where they were greeted with cookies, fingerpaints, and pie charts for mathematics, and walked back to my classroom across campus to eat and prepare for my lesson.
It takes 15 minutes to get there, and as soon as I walk in, my walkie-talkie lets out a distress signal. I bolted out the door and got back to the math building in record time. I was welcomed with the sight of 20 screaming kids, fingerpaints, and cookies all over the floor, and well, a crying Angel and a distressed-looking superintendent.
“Handle this!” he said, as he pulled me in the door, and the chaos stopped. The children retrieved their things and lined up at the door quietly. Angel was asked to stay behind with the superintendent, while I escorted my kids to my classroom, and proceeded to have a pleasant lesson. The superintendent came to my classroom just as we were preparing for lunch.
He informed me that I would be teaching mathematics from now on, receiving half of Angel’s pay, because she was being removed. I could have sworn I saw some of the kids fist-pumping. Apparently, Angel was convinced that I put the kids up to it, and said a few choice words about me, as well as some of the other faculty.
One of these mentioned people happened to be the superintendent’s niece. My little kids really followed through for me. I couldn’t have been prouder of them, albeit a little guilty (not guilty) about Angel.
23. Honesty Saves Lives
At the first school that I taught at I had a girl come up to me one day and say, “Robert has a knife.” I pulled Robert into the hallway to talk with him about it. He said that he didn’t have a knife, but that he did have a box cutter. I asked him why he had it and he said, “Because I’m tired of Chris.” Chris was an annoying suck-up but wasn’t really bad or mean to other kids.
I asked Robert what he was planning on doing to Chris. He said, “I am going to get him in the bathroom.” I usually took the class to the restroom after lunch but I didn’t that day because they were being rowdy in the hallway. I took Robert to the office and after hearing the story, the principal chewed him out. She then called Robert’s mom, and she chewed him out on the phone.
Here’s the kicker. Robert knew that he was in serious trouble. He knew that what he was planning was wrong. He just didn’t care. Not in a false bravado macho type way. He literally didn’t care. I hate to predict a kid’s future endeavors, but that kid definitely scares me. By the way, Robert was eight years old at the time.
24. Selective Hearing
One of the teachers in our department taught a lesson to a year ten class, and in the lesson mentioned that pineapple pickers sometimes end up losing their fingerprints because pineapples are rough and they spend long portions of their day constantly picking them. He told the story and thought absolutely nothing of it at all. It came back to bite him in the most hilarious way.
A few days later we’re sitting in the staff room and we get a phone call. The teacher answers and cannot stop laughing. A student is in the first aid room, writhing on the floor in agony during lesson one. It’s the cause of the injury, and not the injury itself, that caused this reaction in the teacher. Turns out this student didn’t pay the best attention in the lesson.
As a result, he had heard the teacher say, “Lots of pineapple = losing your fingerprints.” So he’d been to Tesco that morning and bought six liters of pineapple juice, drank as much of it as he could, and given himself crippling stomach cramps, all, because he wanted to get rid of his fingerprints, for what I can only assume is nefarious reasons.
25. Getting Input
This teacher tale comes after four of my grade seven boys received suspensions and a technology ban that lasted the entire summer until the next school year. This ban included their school email and Google accounts being shut down. What did they do? Well, it started last week. My principal gave me the go-ahead to do a big final project instead of a final exam.
We’d been working away on them in class when I passed by one of my mischievous little rascals—instead of doing his work, he had a very offensive phrase written on his computer in a Google Doc. I don’t think that this kid is prejudiced; he just usually goes out of his way to be as offensive as possible for the shock factor. And it didn’t end there.
What the vice principal and I didn’t realize was that there were four boys involved, including the one caught last week, with this Google Doc and it was 20 pages long with every offensive thing they could possibly think of—cartoon gore, explicit pictures, profanities, etc. They formatted it and color-coded what offensive material they included.
This document was a 20-page, thought out, meticulous, offensive monstrosity that had more effort applied than anything any of them have done all year long, and our school Google Accounts all link to one another. These links are not just to accounts in the school, but in the entire school division. What do these four boys do next?
Well, they end up sharing this document with the only Christian school in our school division. A kindergarten to grade six school. And they shared it not just with the school’s main email address read by the secretaries, but with every student, teacher, and staff member at the Christian School, all of whom received an email asking them to edit this Doc.
Our school found out when their principal called their principal demanding to know how we let this happen. Is it summer yet?
26. Begging Babies
I taught 3rd graders for a year, so the kids were around nine years old. It was a couple of days before the summer holidays and I asked the kids what they were going to do during summer. I got to this one girl and asked her what she was going to do and she happily announced she was going to Germany with her sister and parents.
I asked her what she was going to do in Germany, and she said she was going to ask people if they have one euro. I was like, “What?” and she proceeded to sit down on the floor with a really sad look on her face, stuck her hand out to me, and said: “See like this. Please miss, do you have just one euro, I’m hungry.” She didn’t really see anything wrong with this.
I’m pretty sure she didn’t really understand what she was doing. I was quite alarmed by this, so I informed the other school staff. That’s when I learned the horrifying truth: It turned out that even though they weren’t actually poor, her parents were regularly taking their two daughters to Germany over summer where they would make them beg for money in the streets.
I heard the girl and her sister got pulled out of school shortly after that, but I don’t know what happened after since I don’t work there anymore.
27. Watching You
My last period of freshman on a Friday, the week after spring break, was nothing short of excruciating. Off-task behavior, no demonstration of respect in our discussion, just 33 annoying 14–15-year-olds. I bet I could disappear and they wouldn’t notice. This was my time to scare the wits out of them and end this for good.
Standing at a robust 5’2, it is easy for me to stealth around my class. I decided to go to my place in the corner atop a cabinet about two meters (eight feet) off the ground, where I can essentially perch like a gargoyle. This isn’t uncommon so the students that saw me didn’t think much of it. There, I found my creepy pig mask that I use during our unit on Lord of the Flies.
I put the mask on and just silently stare down. The bell rings, kids look around to be dismissed and can’t find me. Then, slowly, their reaction goes from, “Where is…what in the world is that?” The shock, fear, and utter disbelief that they had a teacher just this strange was oddly satisfying. I remained perfectly still until they were silent.
Then I cocked my head to the side, and said, “Dismissed.” They filed silently from the room, I stayed in my corner, and thought what a great start to the weekend!
28. The Epitome of Determination
My wife and I taught together in the same high school for a while where we shared several of the same students. We shared one particular student with whom we had entirely different experiences. In my math class, he didn’t mind the subject or me as a teacher. He was relatively calm and polite with me. However, when he went to her English class, he turned into a completely different person.
He hated her class. He hated it so much that he began to try, on several occasions, to get out of it. Here are some of the highlights that took place within about a week before he was eventually removed from school altogether. First, during passing period on the way to English class, he threw himself down a flight of stairs and swore he was paralyzed and couldn’t possibly go to class.
The nurse checked him out, and much to his dismay, he was sent back to class anyway. A few days later, at the start of English class, he attempted escape again. This time, he soiled his pants in class; no hesitation whatsoever. This attempt was slightly more successful than the last because he was then allowed to go home for the remainder of the day.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, he had to return the following day. His final act came another few days later and finally allowed him to meet his goal. Again, while in English class, this student began to pleasure himself at his desk. Due to the lewd act, he was removed from class and was shortly removed from the school altogether.
He was later enrolled at a juvenile detention center to continue his education.
29. An Outlandish Mistake
When I was in high school, English was basically the only thing I was good at, mostly because of watching English video games, TV series, and movies. I was always ahead of my classmates because ever since I could use an English-Portuguese dictionary, I had the habit of looking stuff up to learn. Well, one day, in an English class, we were practicing reading.
Each student read a paragraph, and the teacher would correct pronunciation and explain anything we asked. She didn’t like me, mostly because I paid very little attention to her class which was because I was basically fluent at this point. At one point, someone read the word “earthlings,” and immediately someone raised their hand and asked the meaning of that word. This is where my problem started.
The teacher said that it meant extraterrestrials. I then raised my head, at first thinking that I had understood her wrong, and asked her if she had said what I thought she did. She said that she had. I then said that I thought that it meant people from earth, but she remained firm as she said it did not mean that but that it meant ETs.
I then said, very politely, that I had seen that word quite a few times, and by context alone I was really positive it meant what I said. By the look on her face, I think she had realized her mistake. I thought her reaction was idiotic. Instead of saying something like “I’ll look it up later” or “let’s look now,” or even “let’s not lose momentum and circle back to that later,” she got mad at me.
She said that I never paid any attention and that I only got good grades because I attended a private language school. The latter was true, but the situation over there was pretty much the same. She also emphasized that I should stop trying to undermine her. She even said that she was going to speak to my aunt, who owned the school and with whom I used to commute to school, after class.
So I, young, dumb, and stupid, said, “Okay, then, sorry for disturbing the class. But I know earthling means a person from earth, and I hope others look it up in the dictionary instead of just believing that it means an ET.” I am now 31 years old, so I do understand that that last part was just plain disrespectful, regardless of me being right about the matter.
However, at that point, she just looked at me, looked back at the article we were reading, and called the next person in line to read. The class was completely silent from then until the end of the period. After that, she just put her stuff in her bag, and left. She didn’t even assign homework. I was sweating blocks of ice at that point, and for good reason.
My aunt is still a terrifying woman to be on the bad side of, because she never berates anyone, never shouts, and never loses her temper. She could always set anyone straight by just arranging the facts on the table and telling things as they were. And I would be stuck in a car with her a few minutes after the teacher talked to her.
My classmates avoided speaking to me after that class because they knew my aunt, and several of them knew what I was about to experience. My aunt left her office 10 minutes after her usual time, so I knew that those minutes were spent with my English teacher. Her reply made things so much worse. She looked at me normally, and just proceeded to say, “Shall we?”
My friends were waiting for their parents at the entrance, and some of them looked at me like I was a goner. I could see little smiles on their faces. My subsequent conversation with my aunt went something like this. My aunt said, “So, I’ve spoken to your teacher.” I just hummed. She went to say, “She said that you were disrespectful. What happened?”
I told her, “She translated a word wrong and refused to accept my correction.” My aunt prompted me with an “and,” so I continued and said, “And I said that my friends shouldn’t believe her, and that they should look the word up.” My aunt then mused, “Even if you are correct, do you think you should challenge the authority of your teacher?
“It does not help your case, it makes her uncomfortable, it makes students prone to challenging instead of questioning and, frankly, I expected more of you. I know that you were most likely right in your correction, but what credibility do you think you have after being disrespectful?” I did not have an answer to these plain facts.
She continued, “I know you know English, but is that the behavior you are bringing with you into adulthood? I am 100% sure you could have handled that situation differently. Teachers are allowed to make mistakes sometimes, and you are allowed to tell them when it happens. Actually, you are expected to. But you must always, always try to be better.
“If the teacher will not agree to your correction, why not wait and show her the dictionary after class? Why not privately speak to her? I obviously agree that she has the duty to look it up and make the correction for the whole class at some point, but she also has to maintain her authority when she is teaching. Undermining her with salty remarks will get you nowhere.
“Even if at that time she felt that she should not look that word up, you have to trust your teachers to do what is right in their own time. Are you certain she wouldn’t have looked the word up after class? Because if she does and then explains her mistake to the class, you were just misbehaving. Like a child.” I was, of course, stunned silent.
So, my aunt asked me, “Now, what are you going to do about this?” I finally had something to say and said, “I’m going to apologize to the teacher tomorrow, and after I am on good terms with her, I’ll politely show her the dictionary. But I think she won’t like that last part and might be mad at me again, even if in silence.”
My aunt agreed to the possibility and suggested, “You can also just not show her the dictionary and move on, right?” My silence clearly conveyed that I could not, in fact, bring myself to do that. So, my aunt said, “I know you. And I know you can’t let these things slide. Do what you think is right, and be ready to deal with the consequences.
“As your aunt, and not as the principal, I think you have to show her you were right, because it will also teach her some humility. I guarantee she will not do anything to punish you, because that’s not how she is. And please, trust your teachers more. Have faith in them. I have selected all of them, and I know them very well.
“I am aware of their flaws, and I also know what happens to them outside of school. Trust them, and trust me. Also, study math and physics, you will fail.” The next day I spoke to the teacher, explained that I was wrong in saying what I had said, and that I could have done a better job at communicating with her. I did not end the conversation there.
I also added that, from that moment on, I would trust her judgment and have faith that she would not let us down as students. Finally, I took out my English dictionary, and said that I didn’t mean to be disrespectful at all, but that I’d really like to look up the word with her. She then said that she had looked the word up after she got home, and that I was, indeed, right.
Right at the start, she told the whole class that the word actually meant what I said it did, apologized and moved on. I later found out that my aunt had also spoken to my teacher, and told her to not be afraid of being corrected by a student, to embrace it and use it as a tool and to try and keep her cool in situations such as those. But there was one tragic twist.
I also discovered that the teacher had had a miscarriage two weeks before that incident, which made everything my aunt told me resonate even more with me. So there it is. The tale of how I was wrong in being right, and how I frankly believe my aunt was born to do what she does.
30. Going Viral
Last year, we had a task in school that involved making a video. I wasn’t able to come on the day my class presented their videos, so I gave the teacher my USB drive—she insisted that she “can’t download files” so I can’t send it—and we agreed that I’ll present it with another class. A while later, I get my USB drive back as well as a grade.
After inserting it into my computer, I’m greeted with something strange: All of my files are shortcuts. 15 minutes, a few Google searches, and an antivirus scan later, I got rid of the trojan horse and recovered my files. I hoped this episode was over, but nothing could be further from the truth. A few days later, I’m with the other class and everyone is getting ready to show their videos.
A student inserts their USB drive and starts searching for their video, when suddenly I see—all of the files are shortcuts. Immediately, I tell the student not to open the file, and explain that it’s a virus and opening the shortcuts will activate it. I offer to fix it after the lesson, and the next student inserts their drive.
What a surprise—all of the files are shortcuts. Confused, I try to insert my own drive, which I know is clean, and lo and behold, shortcuts. Realizing that the computer is the one affected by the virus and it’s infecting the drives, I try to explain the situation to the class. Right afterward, in the corner of my eye, I spot the teacher trying to insert another USB drive.
I told her that if she inserts the drive, it’ll get a virus. She looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t care.” And inserted it anyway. For the rest of the lesson, I remember barely restraining myself from yelling, “No, no, no. Don’t insert it,” and pulling the teacher’s hand away, as she inserts drive after drive, opening the “videos” one by one.
Thankfully, the issue got resolved later. About a week after that lesson, the teacher asked me to copy all the videos to her own USB drive, which, of course, was infected as well. She let me use one of the teachers’ computers, which was clean, so I was able to manually remove the virus from each drive. They also got someone to install an antivirus in all the school computers.
Apparently, that virus spread like wildfire, and almost every single school computer in the city was infected. By the way, I still don’t know what the virus actually does aside from infecting USB drives and other computers. And, boy, am I thankful for that.
31. Exercise Isn’t Always The Answer
I used to teach a PE class to five-year-olds. I had this one kid who used to come with his friend from kindergarten. His friend’s mother apologized to me numerous times and said she never would have offered to bring him if she knew what he was like. More than once I had to evacuate the rest of the kids from the gym.
This three-year-old would be running around the gym screaming terrible words at the top of his lungs while trying to punch, kick, or headbutt other kids. You never knew what would set him off. If you asked him to kick a ball, he was equally likely to kick another student or the ball. One time, he got so violent—I couldn’t get him away from the other kids.
I ended up wrapping him up in the ‘firm cuddle technique’ which they definitely don’t teach teachers about anymore. I basically dropped him to his knees with me on my knees behind him, arms wrapped around his arms and his chest. The only part he could move was his head and he kept trying to smash the back of his head into my face. But the worst part was the laughter.
He normally had a vague, empty look on his face but when he was trying to hurt someone. He would scream with laughter wearing the biggest and creepiest grin that I have ever seen. I only had him for ten sessions once a week, but oh my goodness, I will never forget that kid.
32. A Moment Of Clarity
I used to work at a school for kids with disabilities. I worked with this awesome little kid with autism who had very intense verbal and motor stereotypes (e.g., repeating off-topic words/phrases in a non-functional way, arm flapping, etc). One day, as per usual, she launched into one of her long-winded scripts. She spoke quietly as she gazed off into La La Land.
But this time, she paused, turned her head and looked at me in the eyes (a rarity) and said with the most clarity I’ve ever heard, “welcome to my world.” I was stunned. She immediately reverted back to her script before I had a chance to respond.
33. Egging On
I was in my English class today and it happened to be the last period on a Friday so absolutely nobody, including the teacher, wanted to do work. So as we got to about 20 minutes or so left of the class, the teacher gave up trying to wrangle the class and decided to tell us stories from her experiences in the US when she was doing her teaching degree.
She told us that she was working at New Orleans school in 1986 in a predominantly African-American lower socio-economic school, which had a major problem with teen pregnancy and the fathers rejecting their responsibilities as being the fathers. At that point, she had gotten word of teaching these kids responsibility through making them take care of an egg.
The rules were simple: They couldn’t leave the egg alone and they had to keep it for exactly one week without it breaking. She paired the kids up in couples, and they were to care for the egg together. However, when she handed out the eggs, the class split in two and the girls got super excited over the concept and the boys rejected the idea thinking it was stupid, pushing off the responsibility on to their partners.
Nevertheless, the task continued. As a part of this, they were given a small task to do which was to create birth certificates for the eggs. Again, the girls did all of the work and the boys sat separately, still brooding over the idea. Day two of the assignment the girls came back to school and had drawn little faces onto the eggs.
They had also cut and glued some of their hair to the tops of the eggs, some had even come with multiple eggs saying, “I have always wanted twins.” Day Three rolled around and word had spread and the girls were enjoying it so much that girls in other classes began carrying eggs around and doing similar with their own eggs. Then it got right out of control.
Day four had led to the “Eggademic” spreading to multiple schools across the city. The girls had also begun to make a business out of the whole thing and began selling furniture for the eggs. There were even daycare and babysitting services for the eggs advertising to give the girls a break so that they could have lunch in peace.
One kid supposedly was very wholesome and religious and was the only boy to get involved in the whole thing. He began baptizing the eggs as he had always wanted to become a minister. By the end of this day, all the girls in the school had roughly five eggs each. Day five and the school was getting confused calls from other principals.
All were wondering why all of the girls at their schools were carrying eggs around with them and looking after them like babies. Ultimately, the school my teacher was working at told her she had to end the assignment which she did and, apparently, the eggademic quietened down after a while.
34. Calling A Spade A Spade
I had asked my eighth-grade students to write a one-sentence summary of America’s reaction to Japan targeting Pearl Harbor as an exit ticket and share them with the class. Most students had the expected reaction of “America got mad and nuked Japan,” or more accurately, “America retaliated against the Japanese and entered WWII”.
John, who normally doesn’t interact in class except to act up, raises his hand politely. I took a risk and let him share his piece which was, to put it politely, “America’s reaction to the Pearl Harbor attack was essentially, ‘Talk Nonsense, Get Hit.’” I burst out laughing. It was such a “John” response which also happened to be such a “me” response.
The rest of the class, including John, didn’t know what to do. I regained control and through stifled laughter explained that his actual word choice could have been better but the sentiments were accurate. Next time I’d discipline the cursing but for now, they were free to go to lunch. John tested the boundaries later by trying to curse and make me laugh, which caused some small issues, but ultimately, he learned to keep the language professional.
Still though. “Talk nonsense, get hit,” is a great way to summarize the US’s reaction.
35. Jesus Preached Love
I always mention this one because it was literally my first day teaching ever, but a kid in my class carved a girl’s name into his leg and bled everywhere. A month later, that same kid somehow managed to take my wallet. Later, he cornered me in the hallway after class and returned it to me. But that’s not the most frightening part.
When he gave it back to me, he calmly told me I should be aware of what he could do to me. He let me know that he could do much more since he was able to easily take from me without me noticing. I actually never reported him for that, but soon after, his parents pulled him out of our school because they thought we were too liberal and filling their godly son with bad ideas.
I would argue, however, that we definitely weren’t the problem.
36. Sick To My Stomach
When I was a preschool teacher, we had two students who were aged three; a little girl and a little boy. The little boy was known for being a troublemaker in the class and his parents didn’t care as he was usually only physically violent towards teachers, almost exclusively. But on this day, this little girl had the flu and was being sent home early.
She was sitting beside me crying because she didn’t feel well while we waited on her parents to pick her up. The little boy approached us and asked why she was crying. I said her tummy didn’t feel well and he looked at her for a moment, and then with all of his force just kicked her straight in the gut. She screamed out in pain and started crying even harder.
I, of course, calmed her down while he started to snicker. He had such a smug grin and honestly, I think he was proud of himself for it. In fact, he was going to do it again until another teacher physically restrained him. But that wasn’t the end of it. Soon after, he started injuring other students. He was always like this and I really think he’s going to really hurt someone some day.
He completely lacked remorse at such a young age. I’ve never seen that before and it’s terrifying.
37. He Don’t Got Game
I was near the end of my senior year in college and needed to take an elective to satisfy degree requirements. I took basketball since I love the game. The “professor” was an assistant coach for the school’s basketball team, and he didn’t care about the class. Our class starts at 8 am in the old basketball gym on campus, and he was the only way that we could get into the gym.
A few times he had a colleague come to open up the gym for us, but at least 7 or 8 times over the semester, he just didn’t show up at all so, after 15 minutes, the students just went back to their dorms or apartments. I was a commuter driving 45 minutes each way, so I had to skip work on the days I had class. I was working to pay for school.
Near the end of the semester, someone in class asked him about his attendance then he made an announcement that anyone that doesn’t show up for the final exam (basically whoever could make a basket) will fail. On the day of the final exam, he didn’t show up. No colleague. Nothing. On that last day, there were 30 students freezing cold sitting outside the gym in December. I ripped him a new one.
38. Get The Geezer
We had an old German substitute teacher at my high school—like so old it looked like he could collapse at any given time. My school was predominantly white. We had around 20 black students total. The sub had asked one of these students to bring him a stapler or something like that, which the student brought to him.
His response, which got him fired immediately, was something like, “Wow, I didn’t expect one of your kind to be helpful. A lot of you people are like monkeys.” I’m pretty sure the only reason that the student didn’t punch him in the face is that the teacher would’ve crumbled into dust.
39. Picky Eater
I have this one kid in my class who might be the chubbiest five-year-old I know. You’d think he would stuff anything down his throat. But the past two weeks, he’d eat maybe one or two bites from the lunch we provide. And it was all good food, like pizza, spaghetti, grilled cheese, and of course fruits and vegetables, but he would make a disgusted face each time.
All right, so I was serving lunch today, and we had chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, and apple slices. Surely, you’d think this boy would tear down on this food. But I noticed that he wasn’t eating once again, so I asked him if he didn’t like it, like I ask him every day. Of course, he was like, “No, I don’t like chicken nuggets.”
Now I was frustrated, and I asked him, “Well, what do you even eat??” This kid replied, “Pancakes and oatmeal.” I asked, “Anything else?” He said, “That’s all.” Man! I know I was a picky eater when I was little, but, in my opinion, this is just ridiculous.
40. Out Of Character
I came into my ninth-grade physics class today to several of the boys jeering at a girl in the class. I overheard something that sent a chill down my spine–something about “a video,” and “The whole school’s seen it!” I quietened them down and proceeded with the usual teaching of physics in my class. Afterward, I pulled the girl aside and asked her what was going on.
She then told me what was going on. She said, “I was at a party over the weekend. It was a sleepover party with all girls. We were playing truth or dare. Someone recorded a video and put it on Snapchat. It was a video of me. Cursing.” She’s a very sweet girl. She insists that she doesn’t swear. At all. This incident had clearly been out of character for her.
I told her that she should probably talk to her friends about how she wasn’t comfortable with them recording her, and certainly not with them sharing a video. She merely said that it was okay because “They all know that I don’t really curse.”
41. Oh, Crumbs!
When I went to primary school, the building was in terrible shape. The roof was leaking, it got really cold in winter, and there were cracks everywhere. And these were just a few of the many things wrong with it. It was demolished years ago. However, it was still there when this incident happened. At this point, my parents were invited to a parent-teacher conference.
It was one of those conferences where the teachers expressed concerns about mold and dust affecting their students’ health, some of whom apparently had asthma, discussing possible measures. One of the parents shrugged and, in all honesty, demanded to just “ban crumbly sandwiches because inhaling the crumbs was causing these kids to have asthma.” What a revelation! It is still a running gag in my family.
42. A Shoe In
When I was student-teaching music, I went back to the percussion section to see what kind of nonsense they’re up to. About four or five of them had all switched shoes and were now wearing mismatched pairs. I gave them my best exasperated sigh and asked what the game was. One of them enlightened me with a reply that was most illuminating.
They said something along the lines of, “I don’t know, you tell us, you started it.” I looked down. Yup. I had put my shoes on in the dark that morning and had one brown shoe and one black shoe on.
43. The Creepiest Smile
I started teaching second grade a few years ago (seven-year-old kids) and one of the students had a very complex personality. He was smaller than the other kids and he showed a lack of empathy. I never saw him have any joy in connecting with other people unless he benefited from it directly, in some way. He was a bit less developed mentally.
I especially remember this one time the class worked with maths individually. The room was completely silent and everyone was focused. I was helping a kid when I suddenly see him standing up and walking over to another kid (who was always nice to everyone), took his ruler, stared at him for a second, and then broke it in half and smiled.
Then he walked back to his own seat while the other kid started crying silently. He sat down and was still smiling. It seems like such a small thing, but I remember this was when I realized how severe his case was and it took me quite a while to stop getting flashbacks of that creepy smile.
44. A Slimy Obsession
We have a small pond at school where kids can find various animals. This one kid took a liking to a frog and he’d hold and stroke it at any given opportunity. After a few weeks he broke one of the frog’s legs, in his words “so that it would have to depend on him to survive.” Needless to say, phone calls were made to a few agencies.
45. Payback Time
I teach high school chemistry and many students and former students eat lunch in my room. Some of these students tend to post or draw pictures on my board or on the wall behind my desk and they’re usually pretty funny or interesting so I leave them up. However, one of these pictures was a cutout of Bradley Cooper’s face from People magazine.
Not that I really cared about it but I just didn’t feel like having a picture of Bradley Cooper’s face on my wall so I took it down. The student didn’t appreciate this and so there was a back and forth posting and tearing down of the picture until I decided to end it. I took the picture, cut out the eyes, and taped it into a manila folder.
I then colored in the eye holes with red sharpie and added a sheet of paper that said, “Forget something?” on it. I then put a very official-looking note on the cover of the folder and instructed one of my students to deliver it next door to that student. Unfortunately, my student gave it to the sub who was watching over the room.
She opened the folder instead of reading the note on the front and was instantly horrified and began yelling, “What is this?”, “What kind of teacher would send this?” and my personal favorite which I think was directed to the student, “Do you think this is art?” As a result, the student was flustered and declared retribution on me, which I felt was appropriate.
Fast forward to the day before we left for Christmas break—I hear over the PA that my car’s lights were on, which was strange because my car has lights that shut off automatically. I go outside to check on the car and get the biggest surprise ever: It is covered in small cut-out pictures of Bradley Cooper, including the face from the People magazine article.
The picture is underscored with a “Merry Christmas” written under it. I’m currently plotting my next move. This probably doesn’t seem like the most professional thing to do but these kinds of pranks can really lighten the mood as my school can be a pain to work at sometimes.
46. He’s Seeing Things
After school, while I was coaching a sports team, a student who was trying out for a different team started screaming at the top of their lungs in the gym. We ran in to see what was happening and he was standing with his hands outstretched and his eyes rolled to the back of his head, screaming at the ceiling. The other coaches and I ran over to help.
Once I get to him, I get him to sit down and he’s shaking. I put my arm around him and try to get him to snap out of it, the others are calling everyone, especially the nurse. All of a sudden, he stops screaming, his eyes turn normal, and he turns to me, shaking with fear, and says, “I just saw Satan.” He then falls back into his fit.
It was the most heart-pumping, adrenaline rush, fear-inducing thing I’ve ever witnessed. This kid seemed like he was possessed…like in the movies. He eventually goes with an ambulance to the ER. Turns out, his parents changed his meds and did not inform the school he was even on meds. He had a really bad reaction, obviously. Still freaks me out when I think about it.
47. I Prefer The Lights On
When I was in college, I worked as a Student Nursery Teacher for a few years. Though this event wasn’t particularly disturbing, it still gives me chills to think about. I was sitting on the floor, helping some children build a castle out of blocks when one kid gives me a mischievous grin and runs over, climbs up onto the toybox, and flicks off the light to the classroom.
All of the kids around me were silent and terrified, and then one kid pops out of the play teepee beside me, looks me dead in the eyes, and says, in a really deep voice: “It’s dark. The lions are coming.” The lights came back on and the kid smiled at me and ran off. I was left shaking, I’m still not sure why he said that.
Maybe it was a tactic that their parents had used to keep their kid in bed after dark, or maybe I had just witnessed a demonic possession, but to this day, it still makes me shiver.
48. An Alarming Tale
I had a Grade 1 and 2 class last year and one student had diabetes. Let’s call him Adam. Adam had a cell phone that beeps when his blood sugar is too low or too high. It’s connected to the monitor in his arm and hip. The cell phone has no other uses, no apps, no data, and is not connected to the school wifi. The substitute saw his phone on his desk and promptly took it away as per the “no devices” rule.
During gym class, an EA comes in to make sure everything is ok, and Adam is visibly ill. He was pale and sweating. Luckily this EA knows Adam’s medical plan, and instantly asks Adam for the phone and he explains that the substitute took it away in the morning. The EA then loses it on the substitute, demanding the phone.
The substitute calls in the principal to reprimand the EA, but then she got reprimanded herself as obviously she did not read the student’s safety plans. She was asked to leave and the principal taught the class the rest of the day. Adam was fine, drank a couple of juice boxes and had a granola bar. His mom picked him up shortly after.
49. Her Own Drummer
Back when I was a teacher, I had a sub decide my plans weren’t good enough for her and went rogue. She decided to show my students videos of animals giving birth on YouTube. I taught English…
50. Flushed With Money
The entire recess blacktop was abuzz with zeal. The rumors spread like wildfire about someone having lots of money. Lots of money was a good thing, as everyone knew. Eventually, one of my students decided to tell me the rumor: Juan had a $100 bill. Juan was a kindergartener, charismatic, clever, smart, but tended to get into trouble. Daily.
So, I sidled up to Juan, who was surrounded by a bunch of kids with mouths agape and eyes transfixed on Juan’s hands. And in those hands, I saw him proudly displaying a crisp $100 bill. Having seen the situation myself, I said, “Juan, come with me.” He stared at me like a deer in headlights, clearly believing that he had done something wrong.
In his logic, it followed that he was about to be eviscerated for it. You know the look. After some prompting, we stepped away from the gaggle of five-year-olds to the brick wall of the school. I asked Juan, “Juan, where did you get that?” I got complete silence in response. Trying to be assuring, I said, “Juan, you’re not in trouble. Yet.
“You need to tell me where you got that money.” With his lip quivering, he blurted, “From Dylan.” I, then, asked, “Did you take it from Dylan?” Again, there was utter silence in response. So, I said, “How about I hold onto that for now, so that it remains safe and we’ll discuss it with your mom when she picks you up, okay?”
At the same time, I plucked the bill from his hand. Juan just nodded. Then, I said, “Okay, go play.” After that, I went to track down Dylan, who I did not know, but whom other children were happy to steer me towards. It turns out that Dylan was a second-grader, clearly older and bigger than Juan. I bent down to his height to talk to him.
I asked, “Dylan, did you talk to a kindergartener named Juan today?” Cheerfully, Dylan affirmed that he had and said, “Yup! He traded me three ‘money’ for just one.” Then, he asked, “Do I have to give them back because he’s a kindergartener?” It now looked like Dylan got conned so I asked him, “May I see what Dylan gave you?”
So, Dylan showed me what he had gotten in trade from Juan. Sure enough, it was three, slightly worn, one-dollar bills. I explained to him, “Dylan, this is three dollars. Did you know that you gave Juan $100?” Dylan clearly didn’t understand the question, so I took a different tack and asked, “Dylan, where did you get the money that you traded with Juan?”
Still puzzled why I’d be asking, he nonetheless joyfully told me, “From my grandpa. For lunch today.” This was after-lunch recess. But he still had the money. This made me wonder about his lunch, so I asked him, “Dylan, if Juan gave you three money and you still have it, how did you buy lunch?” He said a bit more softly, “I get free lunch.”
Clearly, there was a step in this story that was not adding up, but it was clear what the next step was and I said, “Oh, that’s fine. But what we’re going to do is that I’m going to hold onto this money for safe-keeping and can you tell whoever picks you up to come to talk to me?” I did the same that I had done with Juan and plucked the money from Dylan’s hand.
He nodded slowly. I assured him, “You’re not in trouble. I just need to make sure that the money is safe.” Then came the familiar sound of the recess bell. My kids flocked to their line-up spot, and I made a wide course in that direction, one that took me past the second-graders. I spied my target at the head of the line that Dylan had ran toward.
I spoke to another teacher and said, “Miss Stevens, Dylan was conned out of money today by one of mine. If you see whoever picks him up, please send them my way. And make sure to review money with your class. I’ll tell you the story later.” After that, I met my class and we walked back to our class. At the end of the day, I first let out my kids.
Then, I explained the story to Juan’s mother, handing her the three dollars at the appropriate point in the story. I made it clear that Juan wasn’t in trouble, but beaming with pride, so requested her, “Please talk to him about taking advantage of defenseless older children.” She smirked and thanked me, happy that for once I didn’t have a bad story to tell her.
About ten minutes later, I see an older gentleman head my way, Dylan in tow. I said to him, “I presume you’re Dylan’s grandfather! So nice to meet you!” After a quick retelling of the story, the gentleman confessed that he had noticed that the money was missing, but had just assumed that his daughter had taken it for groceries.
I made him promise to take this opportunity to refresh Dylan on what he had learned about how money works when he was in kindergarten.
51. Is This A Zoo Or A School?
My mother got back into teaching a while back because one of the schools near our house needed some extra help. Anyways, she taught while I was growing up and she was bored so it was something to do and she enjoyed it. She mainly helped out with the Pre-K/Kindergarten classes. But one day, something so horrible happened—she regretted it with every fiber of her being.
One of the students went into the bathroom and literally took a dump in his hand like a chimpanzee, and then proceeded to smear it all over the walls. They basically had to call in a hazmat team to clean it up. That was her first and last day.
52. There Has To Be An Easier Way
High school math teacher here. Many years ago I had a very entitled young lady who tried to get out of class every. single. day. Her parents enabled the misbehavior every step of the way. On one occasion, as the students were filing into class, I was helping another student at my desk and this girl asked me (as she had done many times before) if she could go to the nurse.
Without looking up, I told her to take her seat and I would get to her. Once class started (less than five minutes later), I remembered her request and called on her to get a hall pass to go to the nurse. When she looked at me, I was horrified to see her eye extremely red and tearing up. She went on her way and as soon as she was gone, another student approached me.
She said that in the previous class she had witnessed this girl pick up a stray, unbent staple and put it in her eye. The nurse called me to confirm (she was in disbelief) and the girl finally got what she wanted, which was several days out of school.
53. A Teacher Like No Other
During my first year of secondary, I met a whole bunch of people who I wasn’t comfortable with. A number of kids in my classes didn’t like me and regularly mocked me, and some of the teachers weren’t the greatest. In every class, I would be miserable, panicked, stressed, or frustrated. Sometimes the teachers would notice.
But sometimes they would not. Whatever the case was, each time the teacher in question didn’t handle it very well. After some research and information from a therapist I now have, I have realized that I could have anxiety and a panic disorder. This would actually make quite a lot of sense because certain things make me anxious.
And whenever something triggers it, the consequences are awful: I get really bad chest pain, nausea, dizziness, and pain as I breathe, and if it gets worse then I eventually end up shaking and crying. Whenever I do have these small attacks of anxiety, whether it be over something I don’t understand or having to work with people who don’t like me, I am taken outside.
Everyone’s eyes are on me, and I can tell that they still don’t like me because of me being a crybaby when nobody else is being so. They talk to me in a way like I’m younger than them, even though I’m the same age as almost everyone. Some of the teachers would also try and make me listen to them as they talk to me as if I couldn’t understand what they were saying.
This is despite my hearing and understanding being perfectly fine. And then, one day, this teacher comes back into school from a break she took while she was pregnant. She was my English teacher and my former tutor so I saw her a lot once she came back and replaced the one we had before her. The previous one was also someone I didn’t really like.
This was because they were quite strict and weren’t very kind to the students. When this person came in, though, I instantly liked her. I’ll call her Ms. Du. She was a very nice Canadian woman who respected all of her pupils. Most of the teachers I know wouldn’t tolerate jokes or snide remarks, but she frequently let them slide and even laughed at some.
She rarely gave people detentions and explained things very clearly so everyone could understand, unlike other teachers. She was also always very supportive of what everyone was doing, even if they did badly on a test, so pretty much everyone seemed motivated to do better. During the time I had her, I was dealing with very complicated and hard things.
I thought I was useless at everything and that my friends hated me, that my life should just end because nobody would miss me. There were times in Ms. Du’s lessons where I would grow anxious and these thoughts would intrude. She didn’t talk to me as if I was lower than her and she actually let me take a breather outside of her classroom.
She did this so I could come back in when I felt better, which literally none of the other teachers did. It’s pretty obvious that she was at the top of my list of teachers. I remember that in one of her lessons we were learning about bodily things. We eventually got onto the topic of reproductive parts. She told us that this was the only time we were allowed to swear during a lesson.
Ms. Du proceeded to write a related word on the board. Immediately, laughter broke out, because we’re immature. She asked us for synonyms of the word, and people put up their hands with varying answers. I’m struggling to hold back my laughter like everyone else as I raise my hand and give a suggestion, which Ms. Du actually praised me for.
I swear there is no other teacher out there who will congratulate you on knowing the meaning of the word that I had suggested. Then, as the year slowly came to an end, Ms. Du told us that she would be leaving the school to go to a different one closer to her family. This made me quite upset since she had the only lessons I actually looked forward to.
She kept being nice to us, but towards the end of the year, in her last few lessons before the last day, my class was acting really badly. Ms. Du was trying to let us watch The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe but nobody would fully stay quiet enough for us to watch it. She ended up pausing it and waiting for us all to be quiet.
This was because she herself didn’t want to be rude, and while she was standing there silently, she saw me sighing because this was how my class acted in literally every other lesson and I myself found it very rude of them to do this with a teacher like Ms. Du. After that lesson, she actually came up to me and apologized for the class’s behavior.
This made me even sadder about her leaving because her last day was the next day and we were acting like idiots towards her as she was about to leave us for good. So, when I got home, I came up with a special plan: I decided to give her a goodbye letter with a drawing. I drew Happy from Fairy Tail on a large heart with the words “You make me happy,” and on the back, I wrote a letter.
The next day, Ms. Du’s last day in school, I gave it to her—well, actually, one of my friends took it, saw the drawing, started saying how amazing it looked and handed it to her—and, before the first lesson, Ms. Du called me outside the classroom. She told me that the drawing was really good, and she actually gave me a response to my letter.
During one of my crying sessions, Ms. Du asked me what went through my head at these times. I answered her question through the letter and said how I called myself an idiot for never being able to be good enough for anyone. Outside the classroom, she told me the most refreshing and reassuring thing I’ve ever received from someone:
“Don’t ever concern yourself with someone’s expectations, because you’ll never live up to what they expect from you. It shouldn’t worry you so much because it doesn’t matter. If they expect so much from you, you don’t need to be good enough for them.” Honestly, those words were the best things ever. I ended up crying not from anxiety but from joy.
She made me feel so happy with those simple words, I don’t think anything else will make me as joyous as that. Also, in the letter, I asked her if I should write fanfiction to practice my writing skills as English is one of my favorite lessons. She also responded to that, saying that I definitely should because it would indeed help me write better.
She also said that I should definitely do something I enjoy. This too made me ecstatic. She supported something that I thought she wouldn’t! I also told her that I was sorry for the behavior of my class, and she said that there was nothing for me to be sorry for. Before I left her classroom, she told me that she would treasure my letter.
Throughout the day, I felt really happy. Once I got home, my sister, who went to the same school and had Ms. Du as her English teacher, told me that Ms. Du told her about my letter and how heart-warming it was. I still feel very happy at the thought of this teacher. She helped me through a really hard time and her advice meant so much to me.
However, as I realize how good she was, I realize how much I miss her because my new form tutor isn’t that great and my new English teacher shouts a lot. She was the best teacher I know and have had, and I really wish she was still here to help me. I know how important her family is, though, so I’m glad I wished her well and she’s spending more time with the people she loves the most.
54. All Together Now
During the early 80s, I went to high school in a little Appalachian town that was 35 miles from the closest traffic light. We had a machine shop teacher who was caught making silencers for the friggin’ mafia. This guy would have his students use lathes and milling machines to work on “class projects” when they were actually making the silencers. Insane.
55. Another One For Me
In history class, we had a lot of random documentary and movie days while the teacher drank her tea in the back of the room. Once, there was a day she didn’t get up after the movie ended. She just sat there not moving with her eyes were closed. That’s when we learned that she wasn’t actually drinking “tea.”
An administrator came down and found her passed out; when they looked in her desk, it was jam-packed with of booze. She got fired pretty fast after that.
I teach in a specialized special ed program in my county. My students range from Autism and Asperger syndrome to emotionally disturbed and everything in between. The upside and downside of the program is I have the students, typically, for all three years of high school math. This story involves one of my favorite students.
This took place in my second year of teaching in this program, and my second year teaching him. He was taking algebra in a year and a half, state test in January, and starting geometry curriculum in the spring. He was my first student attempting to take regular ed math as a junior, so I was trying to get him started on the geometry curriculum as much as I could.
The student told me, “Sir, I have some bad news.” I asked him what the issue was. The student said, “I’m not going to be here tomorrow.” I said that that was unfortunate. He then continued, “Well, actually I’m not going to be here all of next week either.” Surprised, I asked, “What? Why?” So, the student told me, “My parents are taking me to Mexico to see our family.
We have to start spring break early.” I replied, “Okay, I hope everything is fine.” The student said, “Oh, everything is fine. We are just going on vacation.” That triggered a three-minute rant in me as he pushed every emotional trigger I have. I was upset that he was going to miss so much instructional time. And I was also worried about next year. I just lost it.
Then he leaned across his desk and whispered, “April Fools.” I walked away muttering to myself about being tricked by a kid of mine. On the upside, he knew me better than any other student ever has, and I can laugh about it now.
57. It’s Always The Quiet Ones
Many years ago, when I first moved to my current country of residence, Spain, I was working as an English teacher in a summer camp. These kids were there for the full month of August, and while most of them were perfectly normal kids, there was one who was just on a whole other level. To begin with, he was much shorter than the others who were all the same age.
His clothes were dirty and the only belongings he had were all in a plastic shopping bag. Remember, they were going to be there a month so most of them had pretty decent-sized suitcases. It looked like his parents had just driven up and abandoned him at the gate so we all felt bad for him. Well, the kids were grouped up into classes and we would rotate which groups we were teaching each day and work on improving their English.
This kid, though, just wasn’t interested, regardless of who was teaching (most kids had a favorite teacher). He would walk off in the middle of the class (they were often outside under some trees) and start kicking at the ground, and was generally unresponsive. Well, one day, during the lunch break, we heard shouting from outside.
We ran out and this kid had gotten into a verbal fight with pretty much the biggest kid there. The bigger kid was yelling at him, but he was just standing there staring at him the whole time until, without any warning, he grabbed hold of the kid’s finger. Then with zero emotion on his face, he bent it backward.
58. A Warm Wind Blows
I was substituting for a 5th-grade class, and we were playing a game called “A warm wind blows.” Basically, a combination of Simon Says and musical chairs. A student would say “a warm wind blows for anyone who (insert subject, i.e. has a dog, likes to play football)” and then all the students who that pertained to would race to get a seat.
In the last round of the game, I had a student say with a straight face, “A warm wind blows for anyone who has dangerous thoughts.” Obviously, the mood was ruined and the other students looked confused and upset. I immediately stopped the game and took him to the counselor. I haven’t seen the student in a while, as I was moved to middle school after that. I hope he’s okay.
59. Teacher Interrupted
So there I am teaching grade eight students when suddenly at my door a wild mom appeared. No, she didn’t knock, she just walked right on in. I actually assumed she was an EA at first. However, that notion was soon dispelled. She told me that she was there to pick up the papers for Student X. I realized that I taught the said student in the morning in the grade nine class.
Thus, I had nothing for her. Confused, I said, “I’m sorry?” The mom reiterated, “I need her papers.” This time I asked more clearly, “I’m sorry, who are you?” She, finally, clarified that she was Student X’s mom. Going back to my initial dilemma, I told her, “All the handouts can be found on the Google classroom.” All this time, my class full of eighth-graders watched in confusion.
The mom continued, “No. it’s the papers that she wrote on. I need them.” I told her, “I don’t know what you are talking about. All the handouts can be found on the Google classroom for students who were absent or lost theirs.” The mom told me to hang on while she checked with her child. Then she proceeded to pull out her phone and text the child.
While I was still confused, she once again said, “Look, I just need her papers; the ones she wrote on.” Realizing that she was not going to go away, I took out all three worksheets but did not pass them to her, as I was annoyed. Once again, I told her, “Look. These are what we did today, and we did a few pages in the video packet.”
“All of these are available on the Google classroom. If she lost them, she needs to go there. I don’t know what else you are talking about.” The mom then picked up the phone to call her child, but at least left the room and started down the stairwell. I turned to my wide-eyed eighth-graders and said to them, “Never do that. Never have your mom do that. Like never.”
A kid piped up with, “Yeah, that was weird.”
60. Egg On Face
Here’s the insanity that’s just literally happened due to being a teacher: My house has just been egged. There’s just one thing. I’m at the beginning of my teaching career, and I still live with my parents. I teach at the one and only high school in my county. Two weeks ago, I had a student who was able to describe my house and told me where I lived.
They even joked about egging my house. I didn’t think anything about it. I thought it was a passing comment. Now, I have been woken up in the middle of the night thinking that I was under fire—to my house being egged. The authorities were contacted. They talked to my neighbor who said they saw three people walking down the street.
When asked, one said, “We’re (insert my name)’s cousins.” I’m fairly certain that my students egged my house. When we go back to school on Wednesday, I have to talk with the SRO about the report that’s been filed and to see what’s up. I’m so upset that it’s ended up affecting my parents—that this wasn’t just done to me.
61. In The Teacher’s Shoes
I teach English as a second language to kids in Korea. I’m not in Korea myself, though, so this is all done over teleconferencing software. The kids are all on separate computers in one classroom, while I’m on my computer at home; there are screens displayed for each of us, mine as the biggest and the kids’ screens smaller.
I can swap ’em around, though, and often swap one of the kids into my big screen, as an equivalent to “bringing them to the front of the class.” One class I have is once a week, six kids, all around 12 years old. They’re definitely some of my rowdier kids, for which I have a kid named James, or “Joker James” as I’ve nicknamed him, to thank.
James is one of those kids who manage to be clever clogs and class clowns simultaneously. He’s miles ahead in English compared to the rest of the class, and I get the feeling these classes are far too easy for him, so he jokes around a bit. A lot. But he jokes around in English, and it’s generally not too disruptive, so I tend to let it slide or even play along.
Now, lessons with Joker James can definitely be fun. Sometimes, though, he goes a little too far. One of these times happened just recently. I was having the kids read out various sentences, but every time I asked anyone who wasn’t named James, you-know-who would butt right in, talk over them, and basically ensure nobody else got a chance to answer anything.
I have a limit on the James tom-foolery I can put up with, and this blasted right through it. The first thing I tried was changing the number of screens on display—from seven screens to 20, and moving him onto the 20th. Then back to seven. Cue cries of anguish as James realizes that I’ve trapped him off-screen. Now I’m free to continue the lesson.
So, I prompt the next student to read out the sentence. And nope! James’s face may be off-screen, but that doesn’t mean his voice is. He’s immediately back to his old tricks, interrupting the student’s reading by barging in with his own. All right. Attempt number two. I bring him back on screen, but this time I hit the mute button by his name.
Peace and quiet, at last! Right? No dice. His shenanigans still come loud and clear through his neighbors’ mics. At this point, it’s clear that our Joker James is reaching an advanced level of troublemaking. None of the usual tactics are making any headway. I’m going to need something drastic if I want to counter this.
Something drastic. So, I switch him up to my big screen. I give him access to the virtual whiteboard tools—even while knowing I’ll probably regret it. “You’re the teacher now!” I announce from my own tiny student screen. And oh boy, the class is enthralled by this turn of events. And James. Well, he immediately takes it in his stride.”
He calls out to me. “Read this sentence!” he says, highlighting a sentence in the way I usually do. I oblige, putting on my best squeaky student voice, and making the others giggle in the process. “Very good, very good!” he commends me, then moves on to the next student. Unfortunately, the next student is Tom, who serves as the understudy class clown.
He takes over for James when he is absent and as James’s fellow conspirator when he’s around. Tom is currently booing James, “Bad teacher! Bad teacher!” He also refuses to do as he’s told. James, though—James skips right over him and moves onto the next student, a quiet kid named Luna who’s finding all this rather amusing.
She complies, reads out what she’s meant to be reading out, and the lesson continues. This is working far better than I expected. Pretty much everyone in the class is going along with it, and James is clearly enjoying the novelty of being “The Teacher.” Yet all good things must come to an end. James comes round to Tom again.
And yep, he’s still booing. Instead of skipping him again, James draws a box on the screen titled “Tom Boo,” then proceeds to imprison a stick figure drawing of Tom inside it. Yeah, this is going nowhere all over again. Had our fun, now it’s back to your regularly scheduled teacher. I confiscate his whiteboard access and swap our positions back.
I say, “Oh, look! I’m the teacher again!” Tom’s cheering and a fair few of the others are joining in. Even James chuckles. There are more cheers when I succeed in getting Tom to read out the next sentence, and it seems James is satisfied for now because he’s letting everyone have their turn. His reserve of shenanigans is now exhausted.
The lesson continues as normal for the rest of its duration. And that was the end of my most chaotic Joker James lesson yet. Maybe he’ll end up as a teacher someday. He certainly seems to enjoy it.
62. Complete, Effortless Disregard
In sixth grade, I was sick and missed a day of school, so I didn’t know what the homework was. The next day in class, the first thing I did was ask one of my classmates for the previous night’s homework so I could do it that night. My teacher gave me a zero and a detention in front of everyone for not turning in the assignment.
I went to her privately after class and explained that I didn’t have any friends in the class and had gotten everything I needed to do it that night as soon I walked in before class started. The horrible thing she said to that day has stuck with me the rest of my life. She told me it wasn’t her problem if I’m a loser and that I should have found a way instead of making excuses.
I was a great student with straight As, never missed school, and was always well mannered. I was absolutely mortified and so deeply hurt because in reality, not only did I not have any friends in that class, I didn’t have many friends at all. The friends I did have who were more school friends than actual friends were on another “team” so had a different set of teachers.
But it didn’t end there. Later in the quarter, I turned in a poem that I was incredibly proud of. I got nice paper to print it on and everything, and the poem itself was very real and very raw. She failed me on the project. When I approached her about why she failed me, she told me the whole thing was dumb—the visual presentation and the poem itself.
My mom still has that project framed in her house and reminds me from time to time how meaningful it was for an 11-year-old to have written it. I’m not sure what that teacher had against me and still haven’t been able to make sense of it all these years later, but I’ve never forgotten how she treated me.
63. Shout It Out
During my fourth year as a school administrator, my 14th overall in education, I had my first and only instance of yelling at someone while at work. I had transferred to the only K-12 school in our district. It had been an expansion of the district and an experiment combined into one school. The principal asked me to transfer there.
I was asked to deal with some discipline issues the year before, and I accepted. Now, I know that most educators try to keep their cool and many have never raised their voice. I also know of a number of professionals who have lost their cool and let their emotions get the better of them. Normally, I am as cool as ice on the outside. But this one day was a day that just pushed me over the edge.
I lost my cool and I yelled at a teacher. I was working at a school that was a Title 1 school and we had our fair share of problems. However, we had a fantastic robotics team. They competed in the FTC robotics competitions and often placed in the state. They even made it to nationals once. Well, this year, the team was on fire.
The team was led by a tenth grader who was just brilliant. We’ll call him Cappy. He led an all-star team that seemed to be poised to win state. After qualifying for state and getting everything that they needed ready, they were supposed to leave on a Thursday morning to go upstate to the competition. It was a three-hour drive by van and they wanted time to get there, sight-see, and get well rested for the competition that weekend.
When I was checking the permission slips as the students made their way onto the van, I noticed that the team captain’s permission slip wasn’t with the rest of the slips. I pulled him aside and asked for it. He told me that he had forgotten it and that his dad would bring it after work. I let him know that he could not leave on this trip without that slip.
I also let him know that he could call his mother or father to see if they could drop it off, but that without it, he was staying put. Cappy was visibly upset and was pleading with me to just let him go with the team. That’s when our Computer Science teacher, we’ll call him Microchip, came over. He was the team sponsor and a huge fan/supporter of the FTC.
He honestly spent more time focused on the team than teaching computers. I caught him regularly pulling team members from classes to work on the robot or giving his classes busy work so he could work on the robot. When I saw him, I knew I had a hard time coming. Well, Microchip came over and wanted to know why Cappy wasn’t getting on the van.
I told him and he just lost it. He started to raise his voice to me in front of the students and demanded that I let Cappy go with them. I explained repeatedly that no student left without being signed out and no student went on any field trip without a permission slip. It is a liability and it is the law. Microchip just went on a long rant about it being okay because I would get it this afternoon and he knew the family and he could get permission over the phone if need be.
I wouldn’t budge. I told him that he could go with the others, but Cappy had to stay until I got that form. So I considered the situation over and I headed back in. As I did so, I walked by a window and nearly screamed at the sight. I saw Microchip literally helping Cappy into the van. I ran out and told the student to get out.
I then told Microchip that what I said wasn’t a suggestion. It was how it was going to be. I still was being polite, but I was starting to lose my cool. I don’t order my staff around and I always treat them with respect due to educated professionals. But I also won’t tolerate them disrespecting me, each other, or students.
So I pulled him aside and explained in no uncertain terms that that student would not leave this campus without that form being placed in my hand, and that was final. He said, “Fine,” in the way an angry teen would when told that they can’t go to a party. I then went back inside via the gym and was followed by Microchip.
Apparently, he had a change of heart ten seconds later and he came right up to me yelling. He was inches from my face screaming about how important the competition was and that I was unreasonable. He went on for about 45 seconds, yelling at me in front of a class that was having PE at the time. I calmly told him to stop yelling, follow me to the office, and we would discuss it there.
He stopped screaming and followed me. I will be honest. My defenses were up, and I was honestly worried that I would punch him when he was yelling at me. I am a bit aggressive and very defensive of my own safety. I have no problem using force to defend myself. As we walked back, I noticed I had clenched my fist so hard that my nails had dug into my hands.
We got to the office, and I had the two kids in there leave and then asked the office staff to go back to my office. I then shut and locked the office door. When we were finally alone, I let loose. I got in his face and started chewing him out in a way my Drill Sergeants would have applauded. I made sure that there was no doubt that he would never take a student off campus without permission, that he would never yell at me in front of students, and that he would never get in my face again.
I laid into him for at least two minutes. By the time that I was done, he’d gone white in the face and looked visibly scared. I then straightened up my tie, unlocked the door, and told him that either he could take part of the team or wait until Cappy’s parents arrived and then take all of them. He just said, “Yes, sir,” in a quiet voice, and he and the team waited for 45 minutes.
Then Cappy’s mom arrived with the permission slip. I apologized to the ladies who worked in the office in case I had scared them. After they left, I called the principal, who was at the district all day, to let him know what had happened. He not only agreed with my decision but thanked me for standing my ground.
The next day, after talking to the office staff, he asked me to do him two favors. One, warn the office staff if I was going to lose my temper in the future. And two, if I ever got mad at him, please let him know so he had a chance to apologize. We laughed, and I apologized again to the office staff if I had scared them.
The team took third in the state competition. Microchip got a second chewing out by the principal and someone from the district the Monday he returned. Microchip never talked to me again outside of necessity that year. I am not proud of the fact that I yelled at him, but as I stated, he was going to cause huge problems if he had done what he tried to do.
64. Safety First
I was told to take my class of 3rd graders down to art class, where I would sit in the back and do nothing while the art teacher did her thing and then I was to deliver the children back to their regular classroom. We get to the art room and the art teacher tells me she has to run to the bathroom.
She asks that I get all the kids seated and to let them know that she’ll be right back to start the lesson. Okay, easy, right? Wrong. We walk in, all the kids start finding their way to their seats, and this one kid, Albert, heads to his seat in the back and suddenly stops. “Look!” he shouts, bending down to pick something up…
It’s a pair of safety scissors. My first thought is, “Oh no, scissors! they can’t have those!” but then I remember that they’re just super blunt and made of flimsy plastic. That’s when the nightmare began: Albert proceeds to STAB HIMSELF IN THE NECK WITH THESE SAFETY SCISSORS. His first stab doesn’t puncture, so he starts sawing at his neck with the blades, all while screaming exaggeratedly.
Honestly, I was like a deer in headlights, I managed to open the door and see the art teacher returning and I just start shouting gibberish at her and she comes running. She runs in, smacks Albert on the back of the head, rips the scissors from his hand, and says sternly, “We talked about this.” He calmed down immediately after and literally none of the other children seemed to think this was a dramatic event at all.
65. A Bad Feeling
This was about five years ago. I was teaching 9th grade English and one of the repeaters was talking out of turn while I was explaining an assignment, so I said something to the effect of, “Student, this is the nth time you’ve talked out of turn in class today. If you continue to act out, I’ll give you a detention.” His response was terrifying.
He just looked at me and said, “Miss, you know I could get you, right? I’m not going to tell you what I would do to you, because if I did, I could get in trouble. But you know I could get you, right?” I just shrugged it off and sent him down to the office, but later that day, I told my principal I really needed him moved out of my class.
There was just something that I couldn’t explain that really disturbed me about him. That wasn’t the first time he said something like that to me and I honestly felt threatened.
66. Flawless Imitation
I work for a private school. When it first opened, we had a large contingent of spoiled, over-privileged kids. Parents were generally local politicians or big businessmen. Over time, I really got to know them and liked them, but they were pretty hard to tolerate at first. For instance, they honestly couldn’t see what was offensive about certain questions.
Examples of that include asking me things like why I didn’t have the “taste” to wear designer clothes. They were also super hung up on make-up and looking cool even though they were just in the eighth grade at the time. On the last lesson before New Year, I decided to lighten the mood by doing a fun lesson.
I told them we’d take a “quiz” about fun English language facts, since this was an ESL class. Whoever won would get a prize, so I requested them to work on it individually. This class also had a cheating problem. Pretty much every task, really, had to be watched because they would collaborate despite clear and emphatic instructions to the contrary.
Of course, this was low stakes, so I didn’t really care, except it went against the spirit of the thing. It was a competition, after all. So, even though I asked them to do it themselves, I could hear them collectively repeat the questions. Then karma came for them. They got to a question that asked, “How can you write the phrase ‘iced ink’ so that it sounds the same, but has a different meaning?”
Cue to five, overly made-up fashionistas chanting “I stink” over and over with great ethusiasm. Meanwhile, I was trying not to laugh SO hard, and they had no idea why. Eventually, the ringleader figures it out. I am glad to say that she had a sense of humor, but honestly thought I would be hearing from some parents that evening.
67. Not Quite Enough
This summer I was teaching a public speaking course. This is a 100-level course designed for non-majors. The first day I let the class out a little early, read 15 minutes, given, this is a three-hour-long, intensive three-week course. A student approached me after class and asked me, “Is this an easy class? I read online that it was easy.
“Are we gonna get out early every day? I have stuff to do.” Now, each professor is given pretty much free rein when they teach public speaking, even the doc students, such as myself. I told the student, “No, this is not an easy course. Also, no professor will ever tell you that his or her course is easy. It is a simple course.
“That is to say it is so in that, if you follow the syllabus and rubric that I have created, you will succeed, but you need to follow my instructions, come to class, and do everything outlined in your speech rubrics.” Now, I don’t believe in a formalized attendance policy, only because of two reasons. First, it’s college and it’s your or your parents’ money to blow.
And second, I make it very clear that I give extra credit and participation points during class just for coming to class, basically giving them free points, so it’s in your best interest to do so and can result in a ten percent drop in your grade if you chose not to come and not to participate. His next question made my blood boil: “Do I need to ever come to class?”
I explained the entire thing to him. He came every day, but he spent the entire time on his phone. After a whole day of this, while I was lecturing, I told him that he either had to put the phone away or he had to go outside because it was distracting to other students, and I have research to back that up. He apologized.
He then proceeded to ask me if I could just give him an A in the class since it’s so easy. He really needs it because his GPA is like .07 or something. Of course, I say no. He continued to talk to me every day after class, making sure he had an A and always asking for grade boosts. He did most of his work, but he did not follow my rubrics very closely on some projects.
I docked him for this, but I thought, at the time, he was pretty sincere about just trying to earn an A. At the end of the course, grades went in, he got an A-. Technically, he got a B+ but I gave him a little boost because he came and talked to me every day about how he could do better, which I appreciated, but at the same time I was irritated too.
The irritation was because then he would ignore the rubric and would play on his phone during lectures. A few days later, I get a scathing email from his mother asking why he didn’t get an A+. He got an A-, but that’s just not good enough for her son. I ended up telling her, you know, that I couldn’t discuss her adult son’s grades with her because it’s a FERPA violation.
I said she could talk to the head of the department but that he’d tell her the same thing. I ended up getting talked to by the department because of this. The kid had less than a 1.0 GPA and his A- is somehow a disservice?
68. A Song To Remember
I work as a foreign language English teacher, and a couple of years ago, I was supervising an exam. I suddenly hear this one boy hum a tune. It wasn’t loud enough to bother anyone, but since it was an exam, I told him to be quiet. Once the exam was over, I walked into the common area and overheard the most shocking conversation…
It was the boy bragging about stealing the exam from my drawer the day before. He claimed to have taken a picture of it and since the majority of the test was multiple answers, he made a song, where every word began with the letter of the answer. An amazing idea, but proof that you should know when to shut up. Let’s just say he had to retake the exam without humming.
I have also taken note of keeping the exam paper safe.
69. Sharing Is Not Always Caring
I taught first grade for a year. Had a truly evil little girl in class, we’ll call her A. A was friends with a nice girl in class who we’ll call C. C was deathly allergic to peanuts and A knew this. She brought a peanut-filled candy bar to class one day and tried to slyly share it with C. I caught her and took the candy away.
I pulled A aside to talk to her. I told her that C was allergic to peanuts and she said she knew that. I then told her that her candy has peanuts in it. She said she knew that also. I explained that C would get very, very sick if she ate the candy. A said she knew that also. I explained that C could die. A responded with “So?”
I didn’t know where to go from there so I called the principal in. A was kicked out of school shortly after that.
70. Ah, Young Love
I had to step out for a phone call about a student in class, I didn’t want him to hear me talking about him or any other students. This was when I was still working at a middle school. Since then, I’ve moved on to teach at a high school. I thought it’d be a larger improvement than it was, but thankfully, I haven’t had a situation like the one I had in middle school…not yet, at least.
Anyway, I’m outside of the classroom for a maximum of one minute. They all start talking when I announce I have to leave the room for a moment and pause the lesson. I’m fine with that, but about halfway through my phone conversation all talking stops and it’s perfectly silent. When I return to the class, I’m greeted with the most puzzling scene: A kid is sitting on my desk with a stapler held against his head.
He’s threatening that if his girlfriend (also in the class) doesn’t get back together with him he’ll end it all right there. For some reason, maybe because it was early in the year of 7th grade and they are still young, she completely believes that if he presses that stapler against his head, it’s over. So she starts begging him to put the stapler down and that she’s sorry.
While this was happening, I was basically letting it resolve itself because I didn’t think the kid was really going to do it and the girl was trying to talk him down. Plus, I figured that if I intervened, more people would get more hurt than just a staple to the dome. The situation resolved itself, but I decided to send him to the principal’s office.
It was not something he should be doing. I think the parents should be concerned and I knew it would be hard to focus the class afterward. While I’m walking him to the hallway to explain why I am doing this he screams, “Jennifer, I love you!!” and she starts crying. Hormones make people do some wild stuff.
71. Please Remember
I teach kindergarten, and I have a class of about 19 students. One particular student, let’s call her K, is a foster kid. She had been doing great and making new friends just after a week of being in my class. One day, I went to pick up my class from gym and I saw K running down the hallway and the counselor catching up to her.
I saw them both walk back to the front office and I was confused. She hadn’t behaved like that with me before. The gym teacher told me that the administration had pulled K from gym to talk with her social worker. I walked my kids back to class minus K, as she was still in the front office. I went back to my class as normal.
I taught math and got part of the way through science when the counselor knocked on my door. I told my class to keep working at a level two—table talk—and I opened the door. My heart nearly burst at what I saw. K was in tears and looking scared. She did not want to come back inside the class. All she wanted? It was to talk to her birth mom.
The moment the counselor was out of sight, K took off running down the hallway and around the corner. I couldn’t leave my class of 18 other kindergarteners alone, so I informed my team lead, who had a walkie-talkie and was able to let the administration know what was going on. They found K and brought her back and got her in the room.
I told K that it was snack time and she still didn’t want to be there. The administration left and I sat down on the floor with K. I had a rice crispy treat for her, since I always had a snack on hand for those that didn’t bring one. I asked her what was going on and she looked up at me with sad little eyes and said, “I just want to talk to my mom.”
“I don’t want her to forget about me and my brother and sister.” My heart just about broke. This poor little five-year-old just wanted her mom. I patted her on the back and told her, “Your mom is not going to forget about you or your siblings. She probably thinks about you every day.” K was still crying so I asked her if she needed a hug.
She nodded and leaned towards me for a hug. I also told her, “My class is always going to be a safe place for you.” I truly hope that whatever caused CPS to become involved gets fixed, for the sake of K and her siblings. This is part of why I wanted to be a teacher, to make a difference in my students’ lives, and I hope that I made K’s day just a little easier.
72. Miss Maleficent
My teacher and pretty much the whole school knew I was a foster kid. I was painfully aware of this so I kept to myself. I didn’t make many friends and spent all of my time at home playing in the woods. In the middle of the semester of third grade, someone went into my teacher’s purse and took money from her. It wasn’t a small amount either—like hundreds of dollars.
Without sending anyone to the principal’s or even investigating the situation, she called my parents and told them it was me because “orphans lack manors and we all know it was him.” She demanded that my foster parents pay up and they did. When I got home that day, my foster father punished me for being a thief and it was painful.
When I got to school the next day with bruises on me, she knowingly looked at me and said, “Got what you asked for, huh?” That was 20 years ago, I went to her funeral give years ago just to make sure the grim reaper did the job.
73. Hidden Doesn’t Mean Invisible
I caught some kid trying to take inappropriate photos of his lady friends in the class. When I noticed him doing something fishy (he was directly aiming the camera to where the female students were sitting), I told him to hand over the phone and he got visibly uncomfortable but complied. I handed it over to his form tutor, who was a lady, and explained the situation.
I figured if there were any photos of female students it wouldn’t be okay for me to see it. The first sweep-through of his documents didn’t reveal anything, but luckily, I thought of suggesting for her to check the “hidden” category and I’m told everything was in there. School took disciplinary action as a result.
74. She Got What She Asked For
I had a teacher in high school, she was young and starry-eyed. Asking the students to do “outside of the box” essays and such—but some of her prompts were downright disturbing…One of the most memorable ones was: “Your goal is to exterminate an entire population; who are they, what method do you employ and why doesn’t anyone notice?”
It was pretty gruesome; but a great way to actually interest teenagers, unfortunately. Well, one of the students in either my class or another one argued that wards of the state/foster children would be the demographic. They followed through with a well-constructed argument that “people don’t care about them anyway, otherwise they would be adopted”.
He went so far as to detail the method of extermination which I sadly cannot recall. She was genuinely shocked, though I don’t know what else she expected with a prompt like that one. So much so, that she had to call the counselors to have a meeting about it.
75. Hitting A Rock Wall
I’m an after-school rock climbing coach. I started the program at the gym I work at with kids, with ages ranging between six and 12. After it got very big, I separated it into an invite team—for the kids who are more serious and interested, and know what they are doing—and a casual team. Their age has no bearing on the teams, though all kids on the invite team were at one point on the casual team.
This season, I had a few younger kids on the casual team. These teams run at the same time, so two boys that were not technically on the invite team, I conditionally allowed to practice with us. They are both ten. One of the boys is extremely rude, does not do the workouts, and is distracting, so I put him back to work with the casual team.
He is not happy about it, but he complains all the time anyway, and he has also missed two out of five practices. Halfway through the season, he comes 45 minutes late to practice not on his assigned day—the casual kids usually practice one day a week, though there are two sessions a week, and the invite kids practice twice.
Then he immediately starts complaining about working with “babies.” The funny thing is this group that day is actually older, in general, than the one that is there on the day that he is supposed to come. After complaining to his mom, and forcing me out of my practice to try to explain to his mom why he is in this group, he finally goes along with the casual group.
And this happens with her following him around. At the end of practice, we talk about it, and I mention that he has a bad attitude towards the other kids and the workouts and that is why he is on the casual team. Well, surprise surprise, his mom’s a piece of work too. She’s convinced it has to do with ability, and I assure her if he can put 110% into practice every time he is there without goofing off, I’d be happy to move him.
However, I also clarify that won’t happen this season. That seems fine, and they leave. Next week, he comes back for his session—thankfully on time—but already starts in with complaining about how he’s “with babies” and “doesn’t learn anything.” I listen to him but also give him a firm reply at the end of his usual rant.
I reply that while he is having this conversation with me, and while he does not do the exercises in practice, he’s not giving his coaches a chance to teach him anything. Stamping his foot, he tells his mom this is “not what they signed up for” and I remind them, “Yes, actually it is.” They are upset because the other boy has remained practicing with the invite team.
The said boy has been progressing a lot without the distraction of this boy. But the mother-daughter duo ignores this and insist it is not what they signed up for. This continues—during practice, by the way—for a half-hour, while they continue to not spout anything new, and I tell them he really won’t learn anything if he doesn’t go to practice.
I also point out specific examples from previous practices where he has been uncooperative, to which his mom tells me I’m “harping on one thing.” Finally, she lets out a big sigh and says, “You know, we’re paying you to deal with this, so you can work it out with my child.” At this point it’s laughable, they don’t pay me at all; it is the gym that pays me.
And I am certainly not negotiating with her 10-year-old child. Instead, I tell them the other is an invitational team, and that her child is not invited. They can either accept that, or not, but that is how it is. Unfortunately, as much as I don’t care for them returning, I was still nicer than that about it. The season isn’t over yet, but I can only hope I can have a big blowout with her, she makes me so angry.
76. A Nerve Grating Experience
Today I substitute-taught for a class that was going to take a test. As I gave announcements and told students to get their tables ready to take said test, another teacher walked in to get supplies. I assumed he knew what he was doing and ignored him. One student got up to sharpen a pencil in what must be the world’s top soprano pencil sharpener.
The sharpener made the shrillest grinding whine I’d heard in a long time. The other teacher, irritated with the noise, told him to stop. Since his pencil wasn’t sharp yet, the student objected. He was reasonably agitated, but not upset or rude. The next thing I know, the teacher has taken my student to the office, leaving me with the rest of the class.
The other students were shocked at this teacher’s behavior and urged me to go get the student, but I didn’t feel right leaving the whole class waiting while I went to get the other kid, so I administered the test and waited until the principal walked by. Turns out the other teacher told the principal the boy had yelled at him.
As soon as I said otherwise, he was sent back to take his test, with the same amount of time as the other students so he had to use up some of his lunch time. I felt horrible that he hadn’t done anything wrong and got punished for it. In the lounge later, the same teacher complained about this kid to all the other teachers.
Everyone else was just nodding in agreement and lectured me on the importance of having kids respect teachers. All I could think was how can the kids respect teachers if you can’t respect other teachers in their own classrooms? I don’t have a problem with him disciplining a kid that’s out of line, but if you’re in my classroom, please defer to my judgment!
I was the one giving him instructions and administering his test. Surely I can decide when he’s out of line and send him to the office myself?
77. Do As I Please
At the time this happened, I was in pre-K and my brother was in first grade. My brother was always a silly guy, and he liked to make funny faces, put his hair up, and make it crazy. From what I can remember, I was always crazy. Now, one day he was at school when his teacher called him up to her desk and proceeded to ask, “Why are you so crazy?”
My puzzled brother starts to ask, “What do you…” The teacher interrupts him, screaming, “Why are you always acting so stupid with that terrible hair?” Now, even as a kid, my brother knew something not-right had happened. So, when my brother got home, he told mom as much. Her subsequent conversation with the teacher went like this.
My mom said, “Hey, my son told me you cursed at him, is this true?” The teacher promptly replied, “Yeah, his hair was crazy and he deserved it.” My mom then told the teacher, “You know that he has ADHD, right? We didn’t make him take his pills to see how this would go. You didn’t have to yell at him, you could’ve told me!”
The teacher flippantly said, “Well, I do what I want.” Clearly, there was no point in talking to the teacher. My mom left and my brother pushed through the school year somehow.
78. The First Cut Is The Deepest
One of my four-year-old preschoolers was constantly in trouble. He would single-handedly make the day much harder than it needed to be. One day one of my other students fell on the playground and I cleaned up their knee and gave them a bandage. The “troublemaker” asked for a bandage as well and I explained that we only use bandages on injuries and such.
The boy surprisingly walked away and went to work with another teacher. About five minutes later, I see the teacher bringing him to get a bandage, when I asked what happened she told me she caught him scraping a colored pencil on his arm until he cut himself…Needless to say, we were very concerned about this behavior and reported it.
79. His Name Is Silence
There was a time, not so long ago, that I taught English as a second language. You got a mixed bag of students: the confident, the bookworms, the shy. One class had a peculiar chap called Juan. He was mighty strange alright. He was built like a malnourished werewolf with ginger fuzz. He was late to class once and as he entered and whispered his hello, he floated in silence to his seat like a ghost.
The way he moved was ethereal. Of course, as the teacher, I tried to stop the other students from laughing at his odd behavior. What happened next was not so much disturbing as just plain spooky. One day, I’m writing on the whiteboard. Class listening intently. I turn to write something else. Not five seconds elapse before I turn back around.
This creeper is literally nose to nose with me. I screamed and clutched my heart like a grandma in church and he whisper-asked if he could go to wee. It took me the entire time he was gone to catch my breath.
80. Tom’s Not Here
Around eight years ago, I was on lunch duty in the library. A boy called Tom, who was around 14, stood in front of me and we began talking. His eyelids started flicking mid-conversation and he stopped talking. This carried on for a few seconds. He then opened his eyes and started talking to me in an American accent (he is English).
He asked me who I was and did I know his friend Tom. Then, his eyelids started flickering again. After a few seconds, he opened them and returned to the original conversation pretending nothing had happened.
81. Not So Private Moment
I went to the bathroom near the hallway for special needs classes. When I went in, there were a few girls from the special needs class but no assistants. I entered a stall and as I was doing my business, I looked up and almost screamed out loud. All I could see was one of the special needs students pressed fully against the door, staring through the crack.
I was surprised and a little creeped out but honestly just didn’t know what to do. I finished up and went to open the door and the girl ran to the sink. I went to wash my hands and she came to stand next to me (she was actually much, much bigger than me) and just stared at me, breathing really heavily. There was nothing overtly scary about it, but thinking about it still creeps me out.
82. No Sharing with the Class
I got a detention from a teacher for knowing something she didn’t. We were learning about Japanese print making in art history class, and the text she was reading from mentioned Zen. Another kid asked what Zen was, and the teacher didn’t know. I had just been to Japan and visited a temple, so I piped up and told them it was a type of Buddhism from Japan.
I wasn’t trying to be a jerk or rude about it at all. I was just trying to help out the other kid and was excited about sharing my trip—I never expected what happened next. My teacher lost it, yelled at me, kicked me out of class, and then gave me a detention. She also taught art class and was terrible at that too. She just liked bossing kids around.
83. Difficult Divorce
A teacher in elementary school would, after every test, pick the lowest scoring girl and boy and force them to hold hands, perform a brief marriage ceremony in front of the laughing class, and then announce, “Congratulations, you’re a marriage of dumbos made in heaven,” then have the class sing, “Here Comes the Bride.”
She’d have the two kids sit together at the side of the classroom for rest of the lesson and stay holding hands until the bell. It happened to me. Three weeks was about how long the teasing lasted, and six years was roughly how long me and the “groom” avoided speaking to each other after that out of residual humiliation.
84. Coming Up Short
I got a phone call from my admin yesterday and they asked, “Hey, do we have a copy of your transcripts?” I said that they didn’t and that they just had a copy of my two diplomas and my teaching certificate. Her next words made the blood drain from my face. She went, “Oh, well, we need your transcripts because it updated in the system today and it says you aren’t qualified to teach pre-K with what you have here.”
She continued, “And we need your transcripts by Monday or you are going to drop down to 16k a year and lose your lead teaching position.” I couldn’t believe it because first, you are calling to tell me this at 5 pm on a Friday. How in the world am I going to get those by Monday? And second, I told you exactly the qualifications that I had when you hired me.
If I wasn’t qualified for this position then why would you have hired me? And now it’s September and all of the good teaching positions are filled. If you hadn’t hired me for this, I would have gotten a job in the regular school system, and, now, I can’t! I also looked it up and, clearly, not qualified. I could take a simple GACE test to qualify but that’s not the point!
I even contacted a contract and labor lawyer and he told me that because we both wrongly thought I was qualified it constitutes a “shared mistake,” and the contract is null and void, meaning I’m not entitled to sue or get the remaining money from my contract.
85. That Doesn’t Count
My worst teacher was probably my 10th grade geometry teacher. She openly admitted to the class that she hated teaching math. She told us that she’d gone to college, and gotten a degree in English, but was stuck with teaching math instead, etc. Only one person in that class got an A, two people got Bs, a few got Cs, and everyone else either barely passed or failed.
The worst part? She’d also mark your test answers wrong if you misspelled a word even if you got the actual problem right. I had to go to summer school where our PE teacher taught geometry, and I aced it. I couldn’t believe how easily it made sense to me when he taught it to me.
86. Why So Serious?
An English teacher I had in high school asked the class to spend half of the class in the library, finding a love poem. I chose Sonnet 130 by Shakespeare. It’s not a standard love poem; it says nothing nice about the lady until the very end. She failed me on the project. The very next project was to choose a poem that described our general feelings around that time.
I chose a poem from the existentialists. I don’t recall exactly which one, but it was about taking your own life. Again, I failed the project. I’ll never forget her response after I read it aloud, “Why would you choose something so awful and sad??” A girl in the class said, “maybe that’s how he feels?”
She sent me to the principal’s office for punishment. I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel what I felt, and it made me want to rage even more.
87. Kids Do The Darndest Things
I taught piano to young kids while I was in my teens. Kids were mostly fine and decently behaved, but this one girl very clearly did not want piano lessons. She was really resistant to anything I said and clearly did not care whatsoever about practicing. I mentioned to her offhandedly that I was playing a concert in town over the weekend.
During her lesson, while I was demonstrating a piece to her, she slammed the piano lid down on my fingers. It was insane. She was really calm one moment, and the next she was yanking down the lid of the piano. They had an old upright piano and the lid was heavy. Luckily, I didn’t break anything and healed but I wasn’t in shape to play the concert.
They even had to find a last-minute replacement. Apparently, she didn’t want me to play the concert—I still don’t quite understand her reasoning. I was absolutely shocked. She’d only been a little rude and sulky up until that point and I wasn’t expecting it at all. Never went back.
88. That Can’t Have Felt Good
I was a nursery worker in my church, not a teacher, but this story has stuck with me. There was this one kid we had who I’ll call Dan. Dan was younger, maybe two or three, and he was adopted by the mom who brought him to church. I think he was abused until she got him? He walked very weirdly, literally on the sides of his feet, until he got surgery for it.
Anyways, he tended to cry and throw fits a lot more than the other kids. Often, it was over having to share something or to stop standing on the chairs. One day he completely freaked out though. I forget the incident which started this, but I remember he was getting fussy and one of the other ladies telling me to leave him alone and he’ll be fine.
Then he just starts HITTING HIS HEAD on the ground as hard as possible while crying. One of the ladies quickly stops Dan and we get his mom down to hold him. I was so scared and I felt so bad for him. He’s a lot better now though.
89. Troubled Soul
This morning, a kid had an absolute meltdown when she looked into the classroom. We found out that it was because she saw this one boy was here and he had been tormenting and harrassing her. It got so bad that we literally had to pry her fingers away from the door jamb. After we calmed her down, I moved her away from him. Then I found out even more.
I discovered that he had been bothering her every single day, doing a lot of stuff behind our back, etc. We noticed a bit of it a few weeks ago and had a conversation with him and his father, so I know it’s been going on at least that long. Obviously, the father was very upset so after he left, I called my admin down so I could tell her what was going on.
She acted like she was wondering why in the world I was bothering her with it. She just told me to move him away from her and then told me, “You can’t call it harassing another child at this age, they are too young.” I’m like, “Look, I’m just letting you know so that when he comes back yelling later you aren’t blindsided.” Not that they paid any attention.
90. In A Manner Of Speaking
I worked in a tutoring center in California for over a decade. There was a kindergartner who I would tutor in math for a couple of hours a week. And he was a nightmare most of the time. Things finally came to a head. During one session, he started purposefully kicking me under the table—hard, so hard that he left bruises.
Once confronted, he had the audacity to declare that he hadn’t kicked me; rather, I had run my leg into his foot. My leg that was stationary and planted on the ground. I told my boss we needed a meeting with the kid and his mom. So, in the said session, the mom tries to get him to apologize for kicking me. He refuses and asserts, yet again, that I ran my leg into his foot.
Boss sends him to the lobby and we face the mom. It took a turn for the worse. She starts making excuses about how he fidgets and it was probably just an accident, so on and so forth. I told her that it wasn’t just the kicking—her son was rude and disrespectful and didn’t have the most basic of manners that even a five-year-old can manage. Then came the kicker.
She dropped the question, “Well, why aren’t you teaching him manners?” Seriously? I picked up a piece of paper and quickly broke down how many hours per week her son was under my guidance versus when he was not. The ratio turned out to be something like 1:45. I finished off with, “You’re in charge of your son 45 times more than I am, and you want me to teach him basic manners?”
“No. I was hired to teach him math. And there’s the little fact that I am not his mother. You are.” She looked at the paper, at me, at my boss, and at the paper again, her face growing purple. Then the truth came out. She blurted,“Why do all his teachers keep saying that?” She then swept out with her precious little boy and said she’d be calling corporate.
However, we talked to corporate before she could and sent them the CCTV of the sessions. When she tried to complain, they basically laughed her off the phone. In the meantime, I turned to my boss and said, “I probably should’ve handled that better.” He chuckled and said, “Nah, she’s a Karen. Good riddance.” So. Yeah. Entitled Karen wanted me to teach her gremlin not to be a gremlin. I used math to decline her request.
91. Teaching Through Trauma
I have a story from the perspective of being a student. I saw my teacher do something very disturbing to demonstrate lab safety and it really freaked me out. He was pretending to play with the mannequins by squirting them with water and laughing while doing it. Then he pulls out some water-like substance and starts laughing.
Meanwhile, this mannequin is being burnt and torn apart by whatever chemical was in that bottle. My teacher then said, “Oops, I burned 25% of Bobby’s face.” Then he starts laughing and squirts the mannequin more and it disintegrates until it looks like melted chocolate. He then proceeds to put this mannequin on the top of this shelf that says, “Here lies the students who were not safe.”
The next day, he had about 20 model heads on this shelf.
92. Those Who Can’t Do, Burn
We were in 6th grade and there was this kid who was always the troublemaker, Richie. One day while Richie was making trouble in Mr. Franklin’s class, Mr. Franklin reached his breaking point. “Richie, quit screwing around and being disruptive and just apply yourself. You are going to be 40 years old still in the 6th grade.” Richie looked him in the eye and retorted, “You’re 40 and still in the 6th grade.”
93. Llorar a mares
I had a Spanish teacher, and in order to gain other students’ sympathy, she would make fun of one of the students for the entire class. Of course, other students would sometimes laugh because the class was super boring so it was like a show. However, I HATED the whole thing. She would pick the students that didn’t reply to her provocation, the low-profile type, and she would say “Oh, it’s just a joke!”
One day, she chose the guy that never caused trouble for her next victim. She used him as an example to describe a homeless guy in a picture. After 10 (long) minutes, he stands up and leaves the classroom crying. And when she stops him before he leaves, he turns around the drops the mic. He says his dad passed the previous night and pushed her away.
Once the door closed behind him, she paused for a second, pretending to be crying, and mocked him saying, “My dad just passed cry cry, poor baby” Before I realized it, she had my Spanish book flying in her face, and I called her an “ugly witch.” Yeah, yeah, my insult level isn’t great in Spanish, but it got the job done!
94. Silly Rabbit, Tricks Are for Kids
I was 15 or 16 and teaching the 2- and 3-year-olds at church. It was Easter, and one little boy comes in crying up a storm. Nothing that my friend and I do can console him. About halfway through he stops and just sniffles. At the end when the parents come and pick them up, he sees his dad and starts crying again, telling his dad that he doesn’t want anything to do with him.
His mom comes and gets him, and my friend and I tell her about her son. She was trying SO HARD not to laugh and told us why. The boy’s dad hit a rabbit on the way to church this morning, and the boy started to cry, thinking it was the Easter Bunny.
95. Money Can’t Buy You Class
I’ve been a TA for a couple courses at my university, which is fairly competitive and the students are generally all top notch. Once in a blue moon, though, someone slips by the admission process. My worst experience was as a TA for a lower division math course. She was a freshman student, and spoiled doesn’t begin to cut it.
Her family was clearly loaded, and I suspect she went to some insanely expensive private school that wrote her application for her. This girl would be in designer clothes and on her phone or laptop the entire time in lecture. Obviously everyone does this sometimes, but this girl was clearly just chatting with her friends and shopping for clothes all the time.
When she failed to turn in the first four problem sets, I sent her a quick email to let her know that homework contributed to a significant portion of her grade. I also said I’d still accept them. I never got a response. So she gets a blatant F on her first midterm. Like, it’s not an F that could be rounded up to anything significant.
She was at a point where she should’ve just dropped out and try again next semester. I sent another email saying this. This time I got a response, with her stating she could make the grade back next midterm. Alright, I think, suit yourself. So I continue through the rest of the semester. She’s still failing…until something absolutely ridiculous happens.
At the last meeting of my discussion section, SHE SHOWS UP! Not just that, but with her parents. Oh my god, it gets better. She stays after the session to introduce me to her parents, and then hands me a stack of papers and informs me that it’s all the homework for the semester. Meanwhile her parents are sitting there all proud of their little girl.
I take the stack graciously and, in my most professional voice, let her know that I’d be happy to take a look at it, but she won’t get any credit. Her parents’ faces completely fall. Her father starts to insult me. So I show them everything: The abysmal attendance record, the 0% homework score, the low, low, low midterm scores.
Now she’s starting to tear up and the parents are seriously fuming. Not wanting to put myself in the middle of the rest of the storm, I mumble that I have a class to get to and sprint out of there…but not before I hear the student getting chewed up so loudly that people actually poked their heads out of classrooms. She never showed up for the final.
96. The Art Of Fighting
I taught high school art. I had a student become furious with me and eventually threaten to hit me. I tried to give the kid an easy out because I knew he wouldn’t do it, and nothing good could come of embarrassing him. However, he wouldn’t have it and continued to threaten me. Finally, I gave him an ultimatum—I told him to just go ahead and either take a swing at me or get out of my room.
He was now even more furious that I called his bluff. So in retaliation, he threw a jar of paint at the wall as he stormed out of the room. It made a huge splatter, which he assumed I would have to clean up. Instead, I created a silhouette of Ryu and the paint became the Hadouken. When he came back from suspension he had this look of defeat. Other students thought it was badass.
97. The Risk He Took Was Calculated
I instruct circus disciplines and had a kid (who has no problem completing the skill we were warming up with) randomly fall off his apparatus, screaming and crying. We were doing something dangerous so, of course, the facility handles it as a serious injury, the potential for a totally broken arm was there. After he went home, I watched it on camera.
The kid looks at me to make sure I wasn’t looking, lets go, and falls to his own doom. I was so confused. His mom called us later to inform us that he was faking the pain and he thought that if he got really hurt, he’d be able to see his dad. The whole situation went from strange and terrifying to sad and terrifying.
98. All Over Some Cheetos
My school took baseball really seriously, and we worked out crazy hard. My metabolism was also through the roof, so I had to always eat some kind of food pre-lunch. I got a bag of Cheetos and brought them into my English class, which was non-honors/AP, so it was a complete blowoff. I was in public school in Texas, so non-honors/AP is mostly kids that just don’t care, and the class was super rowdy.
I bumped myself down to this English class to stay eligible for the baseball team because I had completely forgotten to do a paper once, which would’ve made me ineligible for baseball. I came in, sat down, and started snacking before the class started. My teacher started the class and I stopped eating, but I snuck one at some point.
She caught me and told me to throw them away, but threw a huge fit about it and started yelling at me. I was obviously confused, but threw them away. I questioned her for getting so angry, so she wrote me up. When I saw the slip, I couldn’t believe what she’d said. She wrote that I threw the bag at her and yelled back. I ended up with an in school suspension for a week.
The best part was that my stepdad used to teach at my school, so I knew everyone, including the in school suspension teacher who used to come to our Christmas parties. I basically just got a week’s vacation.
99. Casting Dispersions
When I was in Grade 6, I fractured my left wrist but it was my dominant hand so I had to poorly write with my right hand. The teacher forced me to write with my left while I had a cast. I couldn’t even grasp the pencil. I cried a lot. Then a couple of months went by and got my cast off, the sub told me to suck it up and write with my left hours after getting my cast off. I felt like jelly and intense pain.
Also, that sub once asked a deaf kid to take off his hearing aids. The other kids tried to tell her he needed them but to her, they “looked like headphones.” The sub cried when confronted by another teacher. The teacher was fired at the end of the year because of “unnecessary complaints.”
100. It Didn’t Add up
I interned in a class with this kid who always thought he was smarter than everyone else. He was pretty smart, but not by too much. Yet he always got paired with kids who weren’t as smart as him, so he would always be super smug when dealing with them. During one parent-teacher conference, we found out exactly where he got it from.
His parents thought he was the smartest kid in the school. They built him up as that and they got him thinking it, too. In this meeting, they even went off on the teacher, saying she “was bringing him down” and that she “was terrible.” The conference ended when the teacher left the room crying. But it didn’t take long for sweet revenge.
About a week later, there was an event where parents came to watch their children do math games with other students. Well, the teacher paired this smug little kid with the actual smartest kid in class. The kid got destroyed in the math games. His parents were so flustered, they left before it was all done and took him out of school for the rest of the day.