The following true stories of people’s worst teachers ever will have you wondering how any of them were hired in the first place. Nothing’s off-limits—pettiness, spite, bullying, neglect—it’s all happened to these people. But, don’t worry, there is one good thing a terrible teacher gives students: a very valuable lesson on how not to be a role model!
1. 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.
2. Devil’s Pardon
Ah Mrs. Tansa. You can rearrange her name to spell Satan. She was my fourth grade teacher, and she would make fun of you anytime she got. My favorite memory about her was when I was riding my bike and saw a bunch of police a few doors down from my place. I walked up and noticed a police officer with the same last name on his name tag, and I asked him if his wife was a teacher.
He said yes, and I said I was a student in her class, and all he said was, “I’m sorry.”
3. 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.
4. Master’s in Death
I don’t remember her name, but I do remember multiple times when she was wildly inappropriate and just a horrible person. I was in second grade, and my grandpa had just died. I ended up missing school because of the funeral, and as a result, I missed the spelling test that day. The day I got back she told me, “Next time someone dies you better have the funeral on the weekend.”
My school was in a snobby nasty district and town that never admitted they did anything wrong, but needless to say, I’m glad we got out of there.
5. This is Not What I Signed Up For
The French teacher for the highest-level class offered in school didn’t feel the need to speak French with her students even though there’s an end-of-year exam with large spontaneous speaking components. She wondered why everyone’s skills were worsening.
6. It’s Textbook
In my freshman year of high school, my Algebra 2 teacher was this really dull English woman who told us that she started teaching because she thought it seemed easy. Every day, she would turn off all the lights and read the textbook to us—that’s it. It was my first period class so it naturally became my mid-morning naptime. I still wish I had learned something in Algebra 2 though.
7. 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.
8. 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 stole 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.
9. Professor Never Present
I had a college professor who didn’t respond to any questions and just gave a final grade. It was an online class without a lecture too. Unlike other professors who would post mini lectures or videos or whatever, it was a very “Here’s the book, do your entire marketing campaign on this.” One student called and messaged him nine times to get her grade from our midterm, which was something the rest of us didn’t get.
He finally sent her an email with nothing but a bunch of white space and a one letter reply of her grade. He gave me a B for the course. He gave the chronic C student that I tutored an A. I’m pretty sure he just randomly assigned grades. It was an awful experience overall.
10. Irrelevant and Useless Teachings
My math professor in college was the worst. The class could barely understand what he was saying. He never came close to teaching what was on our tests. Midway through the semester, he took two weeks off. The substitute we had was 1,000 times better than our professor. We dreaded having our regular teacher back. I ended up hiring a math major as my tutor who took the awful professor’s course, so he could teach me what I should have been learning.
I was one of the only people to pass that class, which was also his last semester teaching at our college.
11. That’s What I Said!
During discussion of a book, I made a point about something. My high school English teacher dismissed it, and we didn’t discuss it. Then three weeks later while discussing the last chapter, she brought up my point and said something like last year’s class noticed it. My friends and I were dumbfounded. The whole year was an uphill battle for me, and I couldn’t get an A on anything I turned in.
12. Syllabus-Less Course
I had a professor in grad school who seemed to have forgotten that the point of teaching a class was to, in fact, teach and not just belittle the students in it. If you asked him a question, he’d tell you to Google the answer because it was below him to answer it. We weren’t allowed to work together on homework because he “didn’t believe in that.”
If he got especially frustrated during class because we weren’t performing at “his level” he would throw white board erasers or pens. He told us to buy one textbook and then only assigned homework out of a different book, which we were allowed to check out from him for 24 hours, so there were 4 of us and one textbook.
That meant we engineering students frequently only had 48 hours to do the assignment. He would also frequently go on rants about how terrible education was here and how he was a much better student than we are. There was no learning in that class, just survival.
13. First Grade Desk Duty
One time in the first grade, I had a messy desk—you remember those ones with the top that flipped up so you could store your books and stuff inside? Mrs. Davis picked up the desk and literally dumped all my books and school supplies on me and made me clean it up off the floor while the rest of the class watched. Of course, I started crying. What kind of sadist does that to a 6-year-old?
14. It’s Called Class, Sweetheart
Mrs. Danner in the third grade was, by far, the worst teacher I’ve ever had. She was a terrible teacher in general. She talked about her migraines constantly instead of teaching and explained how chocolate and Taco Bell triggered her migraines and explosive diarrhea. She also told us that anyone who drinks diet soda would immediately get cancer even if they drank it because they have diabetes and can’t drink regular soda.
She picked on different students, was prejudiced, and loved to have loud, patronizing conversations with her teacher friend next door about students in her class as a passive aggressive way to mess with them. She was particularly mean to me because she wasn’t from what would be considered a “good” family in the area but married well.
In her new social circle, she wound up rubbing elbows with my grandmother who absolutely despised Mrs. Danner and was not shy about making that fact known. So, when she saw my last name on the first day of class, she decided to get her revenge. It all culminated in one incident in which I had an altercation with a boy outside of school hours and not at a school event.
On the Monday following the event, Mrs. Danner and her teacher friend pulled me into the hallway and said things like, “Looks like the Pandersons aren’t as wonderful as they pretend,” and, “How ashamed your grandmother must be,” and other things that turned poor, sensitive Dan Panderson into a mess. I went home, and my tears turned my mother into a bear ready to attack.
The following day, my mother put on her best suit, donned her pearls, and pulled her hair into an elegant chignon. Then she stomped her high heeled feet into that school at 3 PM and stepped into the classroom. Mrs. Danner greeted her, “Hello, [Mom First Name],” but my mother said, “Oh, you may call me Mrs. Last Name. My friends use my first name.”
She then laid the most gloriously condescending smack down on that horrible woman that the world has ever heard. Eventually, the principal came down and Mama said, “Well, I’ve said my piece. Mrs. Danner will finish the year being much nicer to my son or I will be forced to have a meeting with my cousin who is the school board president and see how he feels about renewing her contract.”
Mama flounced out leaving shattered remains in her wake, and it was honestly amazing. Mama, being a grade A queen, proceeded to sign up to make all the baked goods for class and only made chocolate because Mrs. Danner can’t have chocolate. God, I miss my mom. And I hate you, Pat Danner!
15. In the Case of an Attack
I had a horrible sports teacher who never believed you when you were sick, so she would give you detention for it. She was so awful that once, she ignored a student who had an extreme asthma attack during one of her lessons and that student needed to go to hospital. That teacher ended up getting fired. Hehe karma.
16. Mentally Absent
I had a biochemistry professor in college who just made Word documents from the exact content in the book and then put them up on the projector. She then scrolled through the documents as she read them verbatim—no explanations, no elaboration, no time for questions. It was just reading out loud for 90 minutes, so the class was less useful than reading the book because I could read faster than she could talk.
She also had to go and make attendance MANDATORY, but she didn’t just take attendance. She would give unannounced pop quizzes almost every class, and she would always give them at different times throughout the class so you wouldn’t be able to just come at the beginning and leave or show up at the end to do your quiz.
The class was so useless that people would be openly sleeping and not caring one bit. One dude was straight up reading the college newspaper and had it unfolded out in front of him with his feet up on the chair. I learned nothing and only stayed in the class because it was required for my major and was a pre-med prerequisite.
17. Not in the Segregation Business
The worst teacher I ever had was my ninth grade English teacher who decided she’d separate the class based on race. White kids sat in one area, black kids in another, Asians in another, Hispanic kids in another, you get the point. We were expected to work on group projects only with our race members, and she’d berate the white and Asian kids the most.
The few of us white kids who sat in seats bordering where the black kids were sitting noticed we were getting graded differently and getting lower grades for the same answers on quizzes. Eventually after comparisons to the Asian kids and Hispanic kids work, it apparently turned out that different racial groups were getting graded differently for making the same points in essays.
A diverse group of us went and reported it to the office. Apparently, they had several complaints from other class periods of the same thing happening. I believe that she was eventually fired but I’m not quite sure these days if they ever did anything else about it. This all happened in 2001, by the way, so it wasn’t that long ago.
18. Awful Planning
My sister had a sixth grade teacher who was the mother of one of my sister’s classmates. This girl was somewhat popular. For my sister’s birthday, she was having a girls-only party on a Friday. She gave out the invites, and she was very excited. Friday rolls around, and nobody shows up. On Monday morning, my sister had to go to school and face everyone, which was pretty traumatic in and of itself so my sister was feeling awful. That’s when the awful truth came out.
During morning lineup, this teacher came up to my sister and said to her, in front of everyone, “You know why nobody went to your party? Because I threw my daughter a party on the same day and I made sure nobody told you about it.”
19. Sharing Success Stories
My worst teacher was a college business statistics professor who only talked about how rich he was from learning statistics and how he had a Porsche with a radar detector in the front and back. I failed that one. The next professor we had who taught us statistics was much better and I actually learned from her and passed!
20. Poison Ivy as the Black Widow
If you could design the worst, meanest and most rat-faced teacher possible you might come close to how bad Miss Dawson was. She would verbally berate students. If you spoke without raising your hand, you got sent to the principal’s office. If you didn’t get your work done in the required time, you had to stay after class to finish it even if you had another class just after, she didn’t care.
She also used a ruler that she would threaten to hit us with just because she could. She never did but the threats alone were enough. She got married three times during my time at the school. Her first husband died by suicide. Her second husband divorced her because he suddenly realized he was gay. Her third husband left her for her teaching assistant who was one of the nicest ladies I have ever met.
I wouldn’t normally say this about someone even with my lack of a filter, but she deserved all the bad things that occurred to her in her life.
21. The Class Pick
My sixth grade teacher loved to pick on kids and make them the butt of his jokes. Unfortunately, I was his target for an entire year. He would always single me out. He always made me do humiliating things in front of the class. Sometimes, if I put an answer that he deemed dumb on an assignment, he would read my answers in front of the class.
He would show the class my poor handwriting and ask them if he should mark the answers wrong just because he couldn’t read the answer. Having an entire class laugh at you day after day can wear you down. Unfortunately, when your teacher makes fun of you in front of the class, it spills over into the playground. Kids think they have immunity to make fun of you however they want.
6th grade was not a fun year. I sometimes look back and wonder how sadistic a person must be to purposely humiliate a little kid.
22. Ritalin Me This
Ms. Eckstrand taught me in second grade and was like an 80-year-old lady who hated children so why NOT become a teacher, right? This is back in the early 90s when Ritalin first came out and she would have parent teacher conferences and tell the parents to get their kids on Ritalin. My parents were a few of the only ones that didn’t follow through with her recommendations. Thanks Mom!!!
Then in six months, she had a classroom full of drugged out kids. Fun times were had by none.
23. 1, 2 Squared Up
This girl’s brother had unexpectedly died. She didn’t mention it to anyone because she was a very quiet, private kind of person. The day of the funeral we had a huge test and, obviously, she missed it. When she returned, she had to tell the teacher why she missed the test and the teacher told her that next time someone dies that it should be on a weekend. The girl’s reaction was the stuff of legends.
This girl, this sweet, kind girl who barely spoke a word to anyone stood there quietly for a moment before turning red with rage and punched that teacher square in the mouth literally knocking her out. The girl just walked out while the rest of us sat there aghast and quiet not sure what to do. Someone ran to the office and by the time the principal got there, the teacher was awake, sitting on the floor crying, holding her mouth.
After the teacher left, the principal brought us each into her office and asked us what happened. We all told the same story more or less and thought that the teacher deserved it for what she said and how she had a history of saying awful things like that to students. Teacher was gone for about a week, and the girl got suspended for a week.
24. A Time and a Place
When I was about six, I had a friend who had just found out that her parents were getting a divorce and was pretty upset. She spent a tiny part of her morning break crying, but after being comforted by her friends she was pretty relaxed for the rest of the day. About four hours after finding out that my friend was crying in the playground and while we were all doing class work, my teacher knelt down beside my friend’s table and quietly said to my friend, “Leave your issues at home.”
Of course, my friend started crying again.
25. No Need to Point
My third grade teacher had her teacher’s pet that could do no wrong. One day, she gets a low score on her test and begins crying. To make her feel better, the teacher points to the worst student in the class who probably had an undiagnosed learning disability and says in front of the whole class, “Don’t worry you could be like her and have an F carved into your report card.”
Even third grade me was like, “Wow, that was so mean.”
26. One Tragedy After Another and Another
In sixth grade, my English class was starting the Holocaust unit. To help us understand the impact of it, the teacher told us some stories from survivors of the Holocaust. During one story about a person’s experience in a concentration camp, I started crying because it reminded me of my Cambodian grandparents who had been killed in labor camps by the Khmer Rouge.
My teacher immediately became angry and yelled at me accusing me of making fun of the Holocaust. When I told her that my grandparents had died in camps, she called me an “attention-seeker” and told me that this unit was not about me. It really broke my heart considering she had been one of my favorite teachers until that point.
I couldn’t understand why she thought I was lying and how she could have ever thought I was seeking attention by talking about it. Just thinking about it makes me so upset.
27. Hands Off Approach
I had a college professor who made his students group up and teach the material to the rest of the class while he sat in the back of the room and just watched. Then he gave the exams that came from the book publisher, had us correct each other’s tests, and called it done. He did nothing but show up and I learned nothing.
28. They’re Just Like Us!
I had the two worst teachers ever for two different reasons. My 11th grade chemistry teacher was the worst at teaching. He was a research chemist and his company had gone under. Dude had never taught and had no idea how. He’d face the board and mumble his lessons. The few of us who passed did it by teaching ourselves from the book.
He was fired after his first year. I hope he’s doing well. My fourth grade math teacher was the actual worst person I had as a teacher. He murdered his mother for her house. He’s in jail.
29. Marking Off Passion
English was always my favorite subject in school. I even loved the things that most kids hated like scrutinizing passages to identify themes and symbols, analyzing the author’s use of language as tool, and why they used a particular word instead of another word. But then my love for English was tested 12th grade AP English.
My teacher was an imperious bean-bag chair of a woman about 100 years old if a day who decided your final grade by the average of five analyses of classic literature turned in over the course of the semester. I was excited about it until I received my first paper back with a C-minus at the top. I remember panicking, scouring the paper for gaps in my analysis only to see that she had marked off 25 points on the bibliography alone.
I had cited all of my sources and included all the metadata required but the formatting was incorrect. -5 for a missed indentation here, -5 for not double-spacing there, -10 for not italicizing the publication…I met her after class and brought to her attention that she had made no comments on the scope of my analysis but had knocked off 30 points for formatting and that seemed, in my opinion, to be missing the point of the exercise entirely.
And that’s when she said the thing that cemented her place as the worst teacher I’ve ever had. “You don’t actually think I read all these, do you? Four hundred pages of literary analysis a month written by twelfth graders? God, no. I’d kill myself! I’m scanning for grammatical accuracy and format.”
After she said that, I didn’t read another book that year. I copy and pasted analysis from the internet, formatted it, and ginned up bibliographies for books and articles that did not exist. I aced all the rest of the analyses and finished the class with a B+.
30. Behind Closed Doors
I had a troubled childhood, and I remember during that grade that I had found out my grandfather was divorcing my grandmother and that he kicked her onto the ground and stepped on her while threatening her with an axe. So naturally, I probably had some issues but I never acted out like an awful, misbehaving kid.
My grade four teacher, Mrs. Huddleston, was trying to teach me something after class. It was something with blocks and multiplication maybe, and I remember that she was getting angry and frustrated, so I was crying because of my home life had a lot of anger and fighting. She eventually slammed the blocks on the desk in anger and started screaming at me while other kids laughed.
Now, she wins awards for all of her “good work.” She could have had an off day that day with me, but that school memory sticks out to me more than any others during that time, and I’ll never associate her with anything else. This all happened in 1994 or something like that. I hate her and she can jump off a cliff.
31. Great Historical Teachings
I had a history teacher in 10th grade who just sat and drank coffee. You had to read from the book and do outlines of it. He never read your work. I used to just put gibberish in there and see what happened. One time he wrote “good job” about an inch away from the comment in my outline that said, “I like cheese.” I somehow got a B. I still don’t understand that one. I think almost everyone got a B.
32. By the AP Book
I had an English teacher who had us write analysis essays to prepare for the AP exam. On the first paper, I wrote my analysis and followed all of the guidelines and had my thesis, three supporting paragraphs, cite support from reading, etc. I believed it was a pretty good paper, but I get it back, and I got a C. The reason given is my thesis is wrong.
Of course, I was confused. My thesis was supported, and I followed all the guidelines for citing support. So, I asked her about it—and her ridiculous answer made my blood boil. She told me, “Well that’s not what the AP book said the author was saying.” We were analyzing The Great Gatsby, which is chock full of symbols and double meaning, and unless she brought Fitzgerald back from the dead, there was no evidence from the book that my thesis was wrong.
When I told her that English is subjective and you can’t know if your interpretation is right or wrong but only better or worse, she still said, “That’s not what the AP book said.” I then asked if she wanted me to check the AP guide when I was taking the exam. She did not get the sarcasm. I also was one of the only ones to get a 5 on the AP test from her class.
Out of her 90 AP students, 3 got 5s. The other grade 11 AP English teacher had 15 students out of about 60 get 5s. I wonder why.
33. I’m Telling on You
When I was in seventh grade or so, I learned that my math teacher was a terrible person. She once wanted to call my mom because I wasn’t doing something how she wanted, and she got mad at me because I didn’t know my mom’s phone number. She also told me in front of the whole class I’m not the brightest bulb.
34. Failed Expectations
The first day of class, Mrs. J, who taught sophomore English, stated outright, “I don’t give As.” For this reason, kids who cared about being valedictorian always got their parents to transfer them out of Mrs. J’s class. She always made sure that work was graded low enough that nobody could earn an A because I guess she prided herself on being “that” teacher.
She totally ruined literature for me for a long time. I ended up getting my love for words back and eventually became a writer who runs an online used bookstore as a side hustle. But I will never forget how incredibly hard Mrs. J tried, year after year, to “break” students simply because she could. It was a long time ago, and I sincerely hope that she’s rotting away in the world’s worst nursing home somewhere.
35. Please, Please Continue
I had a German teacher in high school, Herr Lipp, who really liked to remind his students that he had a PhD. I was in his class with my friend, and together, we were both total punks, and we liked to see how often we could get him off topic. He loved the sound of his voice so much that he never caught on. We could ask him the dumbest questions about literally anything, and he would drone on about it while we sat back and let our eyes glaze over.
One day, we decided to see if we could waste the ENTIRE class period, and we did it with one question, “Can you explain what your dissertation was about?” It was my proudest moment in high school.
36. A Teacher Scorned
She really, really loved the boys but always hated on and picked on the girls. Just as an example, I worked really hard on a project for her class. It came back with a D- on it. My mom had had enough of my teacher and took my project to the principal. She asked him to tell her what grade he would give the project. He looked it over and read through everything and said it was definitely A work. Mom showed him the grade she had given me on it.
The teacher was spoken to and my grade changed. I was a straight A student except for her class. She also failed me in that class, along with several other females, claiming I had never turned in any homework. I had but couldn’t prove it. The boys in her class never received less than a B. The year after I had her, she “retired” after speaking with the principal and the school board again.
37. For the Sake of Science
I had a professor who was awful at teaching. I never liked him. He eventually got fired after an investigation into him that was sparked by PETA. We were told the investigation found that he was doing unethical testing on puppies and falsifying data for academic studies before coming to our college. I forget his name but he taught genetics.
38. One on One Attention
I had a semi-permanent substitute who was having trouble keeping the class in line. It wasn’t just me, mind you, and while I was talking to a friend instead of listening, he grabbed me by my shirt, lifted me out of my chair up on my toes, and yelled, “IS THIS WHAT I HAVE TO DO? IS THIS THE ONLY WAY YOU’LL LISTEN??” The class fell super silent for a few seconds and then I cracked up.
I started laughing loudly and pointing in his face, which caused the class to join in, which completely enraged him. He kind of dropped and shoved me back in the chair, and then he stormed out of class with his hands on his head cursing to himself. He came back after a few minutes but didn’t say another word for the rest of the day.
I didn’t really care about the ordeal. I wasn’t hurt or intimidated, and I didn’t say anything to my parents or administration about it. I found the whole thing hilarious. But, as kids do, gossip got around and it built until the story was that I had been picked up by the neck, choked, cussed at, hit, and then thrown on the floor. Administration was not happy, and a big ordeal was made.
I tried to explain that the rumors weren’t true, and that he had only grabbed my shirt and yelled, but I’m pretty sure he was fired anyway. He definitely wasn’t our substitute anymore. I was pulled into several meetings afterwards where they seemed to be convinced that I was lying because I was assaulted and now scared of the teacher, but I did my best to make the truth clear.
Interviewing the other kids in class verified what I was saying, but it took quite a while. My dad was super angry with the guy at first, but after I had explained things, he understood and calmed down. He told me, “I’m surprised he didn’t just clock you for laughing at him like that.” To which I laughed and then got a hard smack on the head. My dad said, “They can’t hit you, but I still can, so watch your step, huh?”
39. Herr Jaegermeister
I’ll never forget Frau Taylor in college German. This dude was a riot, let me tell you. When I first took the class, I heard rumors that he was a bit off but I didn’t know any specifics, so I had a fairly clean slate when it came to my experience as one of his students. He always wore a suit and was constantly sweating even though it was normal temperature in the room and he was not overweight.
Most days I had this class, he ended 20 minutes early because he had to “lie down because of his migraines.” I also saw him quite a bit out of class. As any college student, I frequented the local grocery store liquor section, and I saw him there just about every time I went. After weeks of seeing him behave erratically in class and witnessing his weekly cart fills of wine, I connected the dots that he was likely an alcoholic.
About a month in to the class, things started getting nuts. He would go on these long rants that were completely unrelated to the course, and we would just sit there in silence as he talked about being a hippy in San Francisco in the 60s and sleeping with some random “free spirit” on Jim Morrison’s grave. He once went on a 20-minute tirade about Catholics and how religion has completely destroyed the fabric of academia and will be the end of civilized society as we know it.
When he saw that we were just sitting in silence very awkwardly, he’d just smile and say, “You guys are just too young to understand.” This dude also LOVED squirrels. We would sometimes have class out in the quad because he’d rather talk about the senseless bombing of Dresden during WW2 and how it destroyed a ton of art under one of the shade trees.
He would constantly get distracted if one wandered by and immediately yell out, “Oh my, look at that one! It’s so pudgy and cute!” He once even claimed he saw a squirrel that looked EXACTLY like John Lennon. I wish I was making this up. Also, if you drew a squirrel on your quiz, you were given extra points. Not that this class was hard because he handed out the quizzes on Monday and collected them on Fridays each week. I never got below a 102 on any of them.
In the end, I felt bad for him. He always talked about loves lost and how great it was to be a hippie in the 60s. I didn’t learn much about German that semester, but I guess I got a taste of what radical hippies were like back in the day. It was a wild ride.
40. That’s Not How You Treat a Lady
I had an arrogant English teacher who would say things like, “You will address me as Dr. [Jerk]. I speak Russian, you know!” He once called a blonde girl a rude name because she got the lowest test score one day. This was in a high-scoring class. Her score was fine but it was just not as high as everyone else’s. He asked her if she “could even read.” She cried.
I didn’t like this girl, but being 14 and cocky, I had to say something. I asked him if he enjoyed picking on children. He puffed out his chest and yelled, “WHAT did you say?!” and got in my face. I won’t pretend I said anything clever or witty because I didn’t. I just called him a “miserable old bully.” I also told him to apologize to the girl.
I didn’t get into much trouble in the end because I explained to the departmental head who confirmed my story with the girl in question. The detention I was supposed to have with Mr. Fat and Miserable never happened.
41. Horrible Impression
I was only 8, but my second grade teacher has always stuck with me as the worst teacher. I have always wanted to look her up and push my masters in statistics in her face. I was never good at the math she was teaching. One day, I learned that I could get help if I asked. After asking for help 3 times, I learned that the teacher would yell at me and scold me for asking questions. She told my mother I was bad at math. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of how awful she was.
She constantly talked to the class about how important personal hygiene was. This was directed at me. She would ask my mother constantly if my clothes were clean. Then I was accused of stealing someone’s cookie in class. A girl blamed me and my teacher refused to believe me. Then when I was scheduled to serve detention, I was given no directions and missed the detention earning me more detentions. I ended up missing lunch recess for at least an entire week.
42. Punishment Without Cause
I got detention for saying “okay” to my home economics teacher in middle school. Seriously. We were in class, and she asked me to do something, and I replied, politely, “okay.” The teacher has a detention board, and a day later, I see my first name on it. I have a very common name and, joking with her, went, “Haha, that’s for me, right?” She said it was.
I asked her what I did, and she said it was because I replied okay to her when she asked me to do something and she hates when people do that. Apparently, she just wants them to do it. I was absolutely stunned. I told her I wasn’t going to detention. I got home and told my mom what happened. My teacher’s son was in the same grade as my older sister, so my Mom knew the teacher.
She ended up calling her, and the teacher apparently was fumbling over her words trying to justify the detention. The next day, she goes to me, “You served this detention, right?” in a wink, wink, nudge, nudge type of way. I said no and that I wasn’t going to. She then said, “No you served it, right?” I decided to just say “sure” and that was that.
43. Failure to Tingle
His name was Mr. Tingley and he was my grade 9 math teacher. Not even kidding, the entire class, other than me, failed the class. None of us ever understood what he was saying. As an adult now, I think he had dementia. I got 93% in math despite not knowing what was happening, ever, in that class. When I was doing placement forms for high school, they tried to put me in academic challenge math. I said no way, just please let me do normal math.
When I had my first test in grade 10, I got 34%. There was an emergency meeting with the teacher and the principal where they interrogated me about being on drugs. Nope. No drugs. For some unfathomable reason, the Tingler, which is what we called him, liked me and gave me that ludicrous mark in his class. The grade 10 teacher suggested moving me to remedial math.
I said no. I asked her to teach me grade 9 and grade 10 math in the same year. She said that would require 3 hours of homework per day just for the grade 9 math. I said fine. I wound up with 5 hours of math homework per night. I literally spent a year doing homework until 1 AM and getting only 4.5 hours of sleep per night to catch up. Ugh. Finished out the year with 85% in Math 10.
44. Celebratory Anaphylactic Reaction
There was a girl with a bunch of health issues and allergies in our class, including latex. One day, Ms. Morales chose to let her favorite student hold a birthday party in our class with latex balloons everywhere. The girl who was in a wheelchair got to class and immediately had breathing problems and started breaking out.
She asked the teacher if she could go to the nurse, and this woman had the audacity to say, “Just tough it out until next period. I’m not letting you go to the nurse yet.” Luckily, our TA saw the girl and convinced Ms. Morales to let her go, but the girl wheeled to the nurse at the other side of the school by herself because the teacher wouldn’t let anyone else go.
She got an EpiPen shot and was ok, but it still makes me angry four years later.
45. The Finger Method
I hated my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Chamberlain. She would always say I counted like a little kindergartner when I’d use my fingers, and then the other kids would laugh. I ended up having to hide my hands in my desk to do math. Like I’m 22 now and still use my fingers to count. It hasn’t hurt me in life at all.
46. Later Problems
I worked throughout college sometimes with long hours, and most of my professors were fairly accommodating about this. This one day I got called in for a 6-hour shift after a co-worker quit, and I asked one of my professors through an email if I could have a small extension on a minor assignment because of that. He said yes and I thought it was the end of it.
Then in the next class I had with him, he called me out in front of the class and told them how I shouldn’t expect more time and how I have to put his class before work. I got angry and told him that tuition was too high for him to make that argument. For the rest of the semester, he didn’t mention it again, instead just opting for passive aggressive jabs.
47. Singing Like a Devious Eagle
My high school choir teacher was emotionally abusive. He lectured us daily on all the things we did wrong. Once, he made me have a panic attack because I missed ONE rehearsal for an AP test. Even some of the other teachers were wary of him. They finally had someone else take his job after 50 years of teaching choir. Now he’s an assistant director.
48. Culture Shock Trauma
I’ll never forget Ms. K. She was an absolute monster. I was about 4 years old and had spent the early years of my life speaking only Korean. I had never spoken a single bit of English in my life and the language barrier between me and my pre-k teacher seemed to have sparked a toxic relationship. I remember her yelling at me to do something as she threw my coat at me. Me being only four years old and unable to understand her broke down and ran out of the room only to be comforted by the secretary.
In another instance, we were given lunch and were told we had to finish everything before we could get up and go outside. At this point, I picked up some English, and I had never seen anything fouler than the steamed green beans that were presented in front of me. And of course, since I was told to eat them, I did.
I proceeded to vomit into my cup of milk, which sweet old Ms. K forced me to drink because it did not count as finishing my vegetables. The list goes on and on like the time I cut my finger on a staple on the ground and she just ignored me the entire time as I bawled my eyes out. Of course, Ms. K was always sweet to my mom whenever she came to get me.
It took years until I told my mom. I thought every kid had gone through the same thing. My 5’2″ tall Korean mother absolutely flipped out. I remember her furiously calling the school, but alas Ms. K had left after I moved onto elementary school.
49. On My Father’s Grave
My worst teacher asked me, “Didn’t your father ever teach you how to act?” I had to inform him that my father had died four years earlier. Two weeks later, my step-dad comes to pick me up for an appointment saying he’s here to pick up his child. When the teacher was over the phone with the office, he asked, “You mean the deceased father is here for pick up?”
All through high school, that teacher just kept doubling down and never showed remorse for what he had said. He would chase me into other classrooms because I had a hat on and I needed to take it off. This gave me motivation to become the compassionate, empathetic, and awesome teacher that I am today. My kids always get the benefit of the doubt and I respect them.
50. The Proof is in the Printing
I had a teacher who hated me. To the best of my knowledge, I never did anything to make her feel that way at first, or if I did, it was something stupid and petty. Not being the type to enjoy being hated, I made her life as difficult as I could without breaking rules. Then this awful teacher started telling me that I wasn’t turning in homework assignments. Are you serious? I handed it to you yesterday same time as everyone else.
Principal calls my parents about me apparently just not trying, so they yell at me for a while and sit with me every night for two weeks while I do my dumb homework. Then this genius lady tells me again that I need to start doing homework or I’m going to fail the class. This message ends up with the principal and then ends up with my parents.
Now, they didn’t believe me before this point, but now they knew I was doing my homework, and something fishy was going on. My mom asked to meet with the teacher. We went to this parent teacher meet up and she’s sitting there all smug. She told my mom, “He isn’t doing his homework.” But my mom fired back, “I know he is. I’ve been making sure he has.”
Then the teacher went, “Well then he must be choosing not to turn it in. Or maybe he’s just not doing the homework for this class. Do you help him with the work? We’re doing ____ right now, I’ll show you the assignment.” She grabbed a folder, opened it up, and right on top was my ungraded assignment. It had my name on the top in big ol’ letters.
My mom noticed too and snatched it. She gave the teacher a look, got up, and walked down the hall to the principal’s office. The look on her face was worth the nightmare I’d been through. I had never seen my teacher, or anyone else for that matter, look so devastated after realizing how much she screwed things up for herself. It was incredible. She finished out the school year but was not present the next year.
I guess there were a lot of issues with her.