We’ve all had an experience with THAT teacher. The one who’s determined to show their dislike for us in every conceivable way. Sadly, students have no choice but to grit their teeth and bear it. These Reddit users share the most unfair, ridiculous and sometimes hilarious excuses their teachers have provided for giving out bad marks.
1. Second Opinion
We once had a history exam in our final year of high school on the day that our regular History teacher was away, so another history teacher graded our tests. The class did relatively well and I was pleased with my grade because I worked hard for it. But after a few days, our actual History teacher requested that the class hand in our papers so she could review them.
The day after, she told the class that she would remark all the papers, as the grades were too high. But then she took it way too far. Get this: She actually took my paper out of the pile and then said, “There is no way this kid could get an A.” So yeah, pretty much destroyed me in front of my class for being me.
2. Playing Cupid
My teacher liked my Dad, so she came up with an ingenious plan. She gave me a bad grade and called him in so he would go talk to her about it.
3. Where’s My Stapler?
I’ll never forget it. I took a statistics class and had decent grades going into the final exam. On the final assignment, which was out of 50 marks, I ended up getting 45—because of an utterly ridiculous reason. I forgot to staple my assignment. My friends still bug me about this, and one friend of mine bought me a stapler saying, “You’ll need this when you have to do a report.”
4. Math Blues
I got a detention once because I switched pens in the middle of my math homework, so half was black and half was blue. This was apparently proof that I had cheated. She also called my mum to warn her that I needed to improve or I’d fail the class, despite literally having never received below an A on any assignment in that class.
5. Under Cover Grandma
When he was younger, my uncle’s French teacher didn’t like him and he would always get just a little bit more than a passing grade on his assignments. My grandma didn’t believe that someone could be this petty. That’s when she came up with a brilliant plan. She decided to do one of the assignments because she wanted to see for herself if the teacher was unfairly taking off marks.
My uncle handed the assignment in, and he actually got 0%. The teacher said it was not at a satisfactory level. The assignment was for early secondary school and French is actually my family’s first language. In short, my grandma should have knocked it out of the park. Obviously, my grandma was baffled, so she had a conference with the principal, the teacher, and my uncle.
My grandma proved to the principal that the grade was arbitrary and that the teacher just didn’t like my uncle. I can tell you that he got an amazing grade in that class for the rest of the year, as the principal was the one correcting his assignments from that point forward. And it never came out in the meeting that my grandma was actually the one who wrote the assignment.
6. Irony and Maybe Assault?
I failed P.E. for having a broken wrist. The teacher is the one who broke it.
7. Too Smart for Your Own Good
I was accused of plagiarising because my paper was “too advanced for the curriculum.” The teacher said we hadn’t been taught the things that I wrote, and accused me of “copying and pasting things you don’t understand.” He said it was unintelligible. I had a different professor read it for a second opinion. He taught the same class and helped me take it to the dean for a re-grading.
This time, I got an A instead of an F. Our school has plagiarism software and it apparently came up false.
8. A Teacher’s Revenge
My gym teacher in high school hated me because I never wanted to participate in games. I did participate though, just with not as much pep and enthusiasm as she wanted. So one day, I found out she was giving me a D in gym class. Why? Well she couldn’t say I wasn’t participating so she tried to fail me because my shoes didn’t have the “proper laces.”
Other girls wore Toms or ballet flats, but my actual sneakers with actual laces (the kind you don’t tie but just tighten) were apparently inappropriate enough to justify failing me. Fortunately, I fought it and passed. Unfortunately, she was my health teacher the next year, and she got revenge in the worst way possible.
Every. Single. Time. There was a presentation or she needed a volunteer, she would pick me to do it. Then, when I confronted her about it in front of the class, she actually said, “Think of it as payback for last year.”
9. A Lack of Color
My art teacher lowered my grade for not being comfortable with using a diverse amount of colors. I’m color-blind and he knew it.
10. Marks off for Efficiency
It was fourth grade, the day before Thanksgiving break. There was no work to be done of course, so we had a busy-work art assignment. We were all handed graph paper and told to color each of the squares yellow, orange, red, or brown. Once we finished, we were supposed to cut out corn kernel shapes. I already thought this was stupid, and filling in all the squares was tedious.
So I traced the corn shape on the graph paper and only filled in the squares that would end up as part of the final product. This meant my decorations looked the same as all the others, but I didn’t waste time filling in squares that would just get cut away. When the teacher saw what I had done, she gave me a 50 for “skipping work.”
11. Teach, Are You Blind?
When I was in 5th grade, our teacher gave us an influential historical figure to dress up as and act like at a “party.” We were also required to have a prop of something the person was known for. Everyone got like Abraham Lincoln or Amelia Earhart, recognizable people like that. I got Hellen Keller. To top it all off, I got a 35 on the project.
The teacher called me in and angrily told me how awful my project was, and how I barely even tried to act as my person. I didn’t get it. I dressed up in a nice dress shirt, skirt and a fancy looking hat. I closed my eyes for half of the party and I tried to sign to people because I couldn’t think of a prop. What kind of prop was I supposed to get?
I wasn’t going to take someone’s walking cane! So this teacher blew a fuse at me because I wasn’t able to act like a blind and deaf person properly, despite me being a 10 year old who has had both of those senses my entire life. But it gets so much worse. She gave a 100% to a kid who used blackface, since their project was on Martin Luther King Jr.
12. Get a Haircut!
In Eastern Europe 1988, the math teacher enters a fresh 9th grade classroom, scans the pupils, stops at me, and says: “Get out!” I get out. Next math class: The same thing happens. I figure out it’s my haircut; long hair is seen as rebellious by communists, so I get a haircut. The next class, the teacher sees me with my short hair, invites me to the blackboard, and tells me what I have to do.
I am good at math, but he doesn’t even wait to find out. About 3 seconds later, while I am thinking about how to approach the problem, he dismisses me and gives me a 2 out of 10. Luckily, as the semester goes on, he finds out that I do know math and the rest of the trimester I only get 10s.
13. Inconsistencies Matter
I lost marks on a math test because I wasn’t consistent with how many lines I put in the “$” sign. Sometimes I put 1, sometimes 2. Neither was wrong, just not consistent. Why would anyone care about that?
I went to a Catholic high school, so one of my classes was religion. On one of the assignments we had, a question asked “Do you think there is anyone who knows you better than yourself?” My answer was: “No.” My teacher’s response was utterly bizarre.“WRONG! I know. I can see things that others can’t.” She meant it, too.
A lot of people hated her. She frequently made the claim that she could read our minds, though she was just emphasizing the obvious: That we all thought she was insane. I’m actually fairly certain she was, and still is.
15. Convenient Amnesia
In grade 8, my art teacher spilled blue paint all over a huge project I had been working on for weeks, essentially ruining it. When it came time for marking three weeks later, she had forgotten all about it, gave me a bad mark, and got mad at me for “making up excuses” when I tried to remind her that it was entirely her fault.
16. There’s No Winning
I did a presentation in biology. The teacher told me she wanted me to do a creative introduction instead of just opening it with the standard “today I’ll be presenting…” So I invented a short story about an old lady going to the supermarket and worked in some early symptoms of Alzheimer’s, which was the topic I was presenting.
I even drew up a few comic panels so that everyone could follow along easily, then at the end of my presentation I asked my class which symptoms the old lady in the story had and what stage her Alzheimer’s was. I thought it was pretty decent. I got my grade back, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The teacher had deducted points for the introduction since she “told me to do a creative intro, and it wasn’t an original idea.”
Like what the heck?! I came up with the story, I drew the comic panels, all of that was me! I felt so betrayed. If I hadn’t done a creative introduction, she would have deducted points, so I did one and she deducted points anyway?! And after all that work… Still grinds my gears. I was 15 at the time.
A friend of mine got a minus 1 for scratching his head. Our teacher said he was faking it…
18. Library Loitering
In 8th grade, I had an English teacher who I SWEAR didn’t like me. One day, she sent me to the library because I didn’t have a book to read. Eventually I settled for the Percy Jackson series. At the end of the class she MARKED ME LATE because I spent too much time in the library that she had sent me to. She then gave me a lecture, which made me late to the next class.
I hated her for the rest of the year. My mom tried to help me with any further problems, but she told me that I had to “respect the teacher as an authority figure,” which I translated to, “I know she’s an awful person, but she’s a teacher, so she’s right and you’re wrong.”
19. When Pencils Fly
I had a situation with a teacher that didn’t like me in 8th grade. She gave me a zero for not writing my name on a test, even though the normal policy was to take 10% off. I’m not proud of my reaction, but she deserved it. I yelled at her in the middle of class and threw a pencil at her, so that she had to go explain the situation in front of the administration.
Of course I got suspended for three days and nothing happened to her for discriminating against me, but she never harassed me again because she didn’t want another quagmire to deal with. No regrets.
In the 90s, my family didn’t have a computer and I had no access to one. I spent a lot of time on a handwritten assignment for school and the teacher gave me a B, writing as a comment, “I would have given you an A if you had typed it up on a computer.” I’m still bitter.
I was accused of plagiarism because I had an above average vocabulary. I got a good grade in the end but I was ticked. It was a group project where nobody did anything. I had to do the whole thing and turn it in to a teacher who does not usually work with our grade. She didn’t think “pre-emptive strike” was a term an 8th grader should know, so obviously it was plagiarized.
22. Show Your Work
So I was working hard on my summer homework, every day, for a whole summer. As summer break was ending, I checked, double-checked, and even triple-checked that my math was done (I’m a big nerd). I was certain that I would get a good grade, because my brother had received 100% on his math a previous year, and he’d had many errors.
I was in for the worst disappointment of my life. Apparently, my school’s grading system isn’t about right answers, but about how much effort you show. This means that if somebody gets every answer correct and does not show much work, they can get a zero. I turned in my homework. A few days later, I get my report card, and I got 50% on my math.
I was angry, but I couldn’t tell my parents because then it would become a big deal. What do you know? The school sends the report card to my parents. Then we had a meeting and I was informed I got a 50 for not showing work. Some problems told me to show my work, and I did on those problems, but I had not shown my work on the other problems.
I felt that losing 50 was a bit much. To make up for my bad grade, I had to re-do a week and ½’s worth of summer homework.
23. Broken Bones are Not an Excuse
I broke my right arm in 3rd grade, but the real pain would come after the injury. I write with my right hand. The teacher gave me a bad grade because my handwriting with my left hand was barely legible.
24. Technology Not Allowed
I’ve got dysgraphia, which is basically a medical reason for absolutely terrible handwriting. I got a special allowance to use a device that was basically a digital typewriter. It didn’t have Internet or even a calculator; it only functioned to type. One teacher wouldn’t let me use it, despite her not being able to do that.
Little 6th grade me didn’t know she was literally breaking the law, so I went with it. We had a test and I got marked down for poor penmanship. My mom asked me why I didn’t use my typing device, and I told her the teacher wouldn’t allow it. So then my mom raised absolute heck. She destroyed that teacher, and for the rest of the year, despite my teacher’s objections, I was allowed to use my device any time I wanted.
25. Snitches Get…Bad Grades
So Mr. Nickle was my High School 11th grade US History teacher and from day one he hated me. Why did he hate me? Well for a few simple and dumb reasons. Reason 1: Mr. Nickle had his rules, and he wanted things done his way. You weren’t allowed to leave your book in his classroom. If you did, he would take it and either throw it away, leaving you to pay the school fine.
I, however, had a 504 plan, which basically gave me a few extra perks because of my learning disability. One of those perks allowed me to keep my textbook in my assigned classroom for when I needed it. Mr. Nickle didn’t like that. Reason 2: If you weren’t popular or currently on any of the sports teams, he didn’t like you.
Reason 3: Any time he would try to do some shady stuff, like mysteriously lose my assignments, homework, even tests, or give me 1/10 on all of my assignments, I would go and tell the VP, or even Principal about it. He called me a snitch.
26. Under Pressure
The teacher gave us two days for an in-class project and expected us to adhere to a two-page rubric that she didn’t give us until the day the project was due. I didn’t put the proper heading at the top of the page (I didn’t write the correct date apparently) and she deducted 5 points out of a 25-point project, which accounted for 30% of our grade that term.
27. Sibling Leftovers
I had a teacher who hated me because my older sister was disruptive in her class two years earlier. She wouldn’t give me half marks on questions that other kids got half marks on, or things of that nature. One day, she told my mother that I was a “problem student” and that ALL of my teachers wanted a parent-teacher conference.
My mother called every single teacher of mine the next day, who all said I was a perfect student, if just a little “chatty” sometimes. My mother called the first teacher back and basically told her to get over herself.
28. An F for Effort
I did really poorly on a quiz one time in middle school. Like, got-an-F-bad. This was totally understandable, as I really did just suck on that quiz. BUT! My teacher said I could re-take the quiz for partial credit. Awesome, I’m thinking. I retook the quiz, figuring I’d raise my grade to at least a D, maybe a C. The witch gave me a darn “F+.” In our grade book, there was no such thing as an F+, so the quiz went in as an F anyway.
29. What Kind of Fruit Is a….Fish?
I was so close to being the first person to ever score a 100% on my 10th grade Spanish final. The one question I got “wrong” was:
Qué típo de comida es el pescado? (What type of food is fish?)
- El carne (meat)
- La fruita (fruit)
- El pan (bread)
- La verdura (vegetable)
I of course picked meat, and got it wrong because of an utterly stupid reason. My teacher insisted that fish isn’t meat (she’s a Catholic and eats fish on Fridays during Lent). According to her the correct answer is fruit, because fish are sometimes known as “the fruit of the sea.” What the actual heck? Cram your 99%, Señora.
I had a high school French teacher who failed me on a written test for using pencil. When he explained why, I was stunned. He claimed his eyes only saw pen. My family was outraged and called the dean, and the dean’s excuse was “Oh well, he’s getting them ready for standardized tests.” My entire family had Masters degrees and asked, “What standardized test is in pen? It’s always pencil, this is a school.”
Years later, I have my doctorate, and not one test ever, in my entire academic career, was pen only, standardized or otherwise.