Teachers have one of the toughest jobs around. Not only are they often overworked and underpaid, but when they have to deal with that one troublesome student, their days at work become a living nightmare. Sometimes, they can’t do anything about it, but other times, they are able to get their sweet revenge. Keep reading to see how some teachers have gotten back at students who deserved it.
1. You’ve Got Mail
I had a letter mailed to my office that was basically threatening me, saying I better stop handing out C’s and D’s or “word on the street” was going to come out that I was a bad teacher. It might not seem like the worst rumor, but if spread correctly, no one would take my class and I’d be out of a job. I had a pretty good idea of who it was.
For obvious reasons, I immediately ruled out all the students doing well in my classes but didn’t think direct accusations would be effective anyway. I decided to get to the bottom of it, and my plan was rather genius—I took the letter to each of my three classes and turned it into a lesson on faulty rhetoric.
My expectations were exceeded when I began to read the letter out loud and without fail, each class erupted in laughter and exclaimed things like “What a butthead!” before I could even weigh in. The kid I suspected the most was sat slumped in his chair without much to say that day.
2. Tell Us Your Secret
A group of lousy, talkative students started doing well on the weekly tests during the seminar periods. They went from marginally passing to consistently getting 100s. I figured out that they had a friend who was in an earlier seminar feeding them the questions before they took the test themselves. So, I took it upon myself to teach them a lesson—I emailed them asking them to teach the whole class on their newfound study habits.
They all had to stand in front of the class and “teach” everyone how they study. The whole lesson was a load of garbage, and it was visible to everyone. For the next test, I rotated the questions for their seminar time to make sure it was different from the earlier class. The whole group got 0/10 across the board. I emailed them again and said, “Guess those study habits need some tweaking, huh?”
3. Ring, Ring…It’s For You
Once there was a guy sleeping in my calculus class. I walked over to my desk phone and said to everyone, “Did you guys hear that ring?” I picked up the phone, nodded my head, and hung up. Then, I set my brilliant plan into motion—I woke up the guy and told him he was needed in the main office, so he left. The entire class was confused. Ten minutes later, he returned and was like, “They didn’t need me at the office.” I said, “I know, but I hope that walk woke you up.”
4. Move Over Cheater
There was a kid in my class who was always cheating on my tests and quizzes. I caught him several times and contacted the parents, but nothing was ever really done about it. I don’t think his mom ever really believed that he was cheating as much as he was, and there were plenty of times when I probably didn’t catch him. He once missed the midterm test.
He came back to school on the day I gave the kids their scores back. The papers also had the answers, but not the questions. I saw him sneakily talking to his friends, and they gave him the papers that had the answers on them. I didn’t say anything, because the next time I gave out a test, I knew I’d nail that sucker big time.
I gave him a makeup exam that had the same questions with all of the answer choices moved over by one letter. Little bugger got a 3% on a multiple-choice midterm.
5. The Importance Of Taking Notes
I had two students request a meeting with the dean of students to discuss my unfair grading. I picked up a habit early on that ended up saving me in that situation—I had started to take copious notes and have a file on every student. I showed up with a stack of evidence. Every substantive in-person interaction was documented on the front of the file, and I included copies of every email and note on the inside. There’s nothing more embarrassing than coming face to face with your laziness and being unable to wriggle free.
They started paying attention after that.
6. Hey, That Belongs To Me!
I had two blatant plagiarists stand up and read both of their papers at the same time. Halfway through, without even looking at them, I turned to the wall and recited the last concluding statements out loud. That’s when it became satisfyingly clear—they had used my own body of work and changed it just enough to make it past the checker.
I then told them that they would have to read each paper they write out loud after each submission and that I would personally grade their papers. They also had to sit at the front and I would call on them with every open-ended question first.
7. Summer Of Salvation
I taught at a private school for five years while going to school at night to switch professions. This school prided itself on its fancy college placements and average student GPA and SAT scores. However, because almost every student paid the school’s high tuition, the school never expelled anyone. Instead, it mandated summer school or holding a failing student back a grade.
There were some kids whose parents funded scholarships at the school, so the little monsters thought they were untouchable. One such student was named Max. He was a standard brat. He was a smug, insubordinate, and conniving 10th grader who was the bane of my existence for the entire year. Sending him to the principal never worked because the principal was in Max’s parents’ pocket.
Appealing directly to the boy’s parents didn’t work either because of the quintessential, “What?! Our son is an angel and has top grades in all his other classes” reaction. Of course, a student is magically going to get top grades when the other teachers are scared of their parents. About two to three months before the end of the school year, I overheard Max smugly describing his summer plans.
He was telling this kid that was going to be spending the entire summer at an exclusive summer camp in the Swiss Alps. Thus, my plan began to unfold. I taught Max’s class in two different subjects, so my grades counted for about 25-30% of each student’s overall GPA. Max never studied for my exams or participated in class, so he received failing grades.
I stopped telling him what his weekly grades were. Then, about two weeks before the end of the year, I handed each student a one-page summary that contained their “projected end-of-year grade.” Max’s projected grades were 36 and 31, which meant he would be failing two core classes, and they effectively brought his GPA below the average allowed by the school.
This in turn meant the Swiss Alps would be Max-less because he would be spending his summer vacation in the school’s mandatory remedial program. To ensure no one tried to pressure me into changing his grades, I sent copies of all my projected grade summaries to all the teachers in my department, as well as to the school’s assistant principal, principal, dean, and Board of Governors.
Max was terrified and decided to try and pressure me into saving his summer. At the following morning’s assembly, he approached me in front of about 100 students and teachers and, in his smug way smiling out at everyone, announced loudly, “Mr. Realist, you’re going to give me an extra credit project to raise my grades so I can pass, just like all the other teachers, right?”
The room went silent. He wanted to give everyone a scene to remember, so I was going to do just that. Watchmen is one of my favorite graphic novels of all time, and this was in early 2009 when the movie adaptation was released. I stood up, got right up in Max’s face, and responded with a modified version of Rorschach’s famous quote.
“Max, you are afraid of me. I have seen your true face. Your life is but an extended gutter and the gutter is full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. Your accumulated filth has foamed up about your waist and your politicians look up and shout ‘SAVE US!’ I look down at him and whisper ‘No.'” Then I walked out of the assembly hall, and Max spent the summer in remedial school while I went to Vegas.
8. Field Trip Fallout
I had my senior level Abnormal Psych class visit a local homeless shelter. A few people in the class felt it was dumb or a waste of time, so they bailed just as the tour was starting. That ticked me off, so I made sure my next move would teach them a lesson—I made the final exam for that class four questions that were VERY easy to answer; that is if you had stayed for the whole tour.
It was absolutely impossible if you did not.
9. You Must Be Hearing Things
I have taught more than a thousand kids. I had a kid in my class who complained about everything—he did no work whatsoever, talked smack about everyone, made fun of kids with disabilities, etc. He was always the first to start shrieking that he was the victim in every situation, that everyone was against him, and that he always got picked on and so forth.
He had a constant tendency to immediately trash talk anything that anyone else had put effort into, including my lessons. One day, one of my students, an incredibly sweet and sensitive girl, was sharing something in class for the first time. She was visibly nervous and had a shaky voice.
Of course, this kid began making fun of her hair, her glasses, and her face. He was loud enough that we could all hear what he was saying. I started walking toward his desk but was interrupted when the girl very, very calmly cursed at him. The entire class was dead silent. This girl never spoke, let alone swore, and she said it with such self-control. Everyone’s eyes were on me, waiting for me to react.
The troublemaker started screaming, saying, “Did you hear that? You always get me in trouble when I say that. This isn’t fair,” and so forth. I said, “Huh? I didn’t hear anything,” and turned back around, continuing the lesson. A few kids cheered. It felt really good.
10. Cut Those Copycats Loose
I had these two girls in my economics class who were cheating all the time. They turned in this paper on the Federal Reserve that didn’t get picked up with the plagiarism checker, but they each turned in the exact same paper as the other. They weren’t going to get away with it. In front of the whole class, I told them they did a great job on the paper and that they each got a 50%.
11. Pain In My Pre-Med
I was a professor at a state university where I taught pre-health and pre-med students. I have many stories, both good and bad, but I’ve never felt the need to retaliate against a student until one student entered my world. This student wanted to go to medical school, though they were of very middling intellect and came off as socially inept; not to mention personally odious.
She figured the best way to get ahead was to complain about everything. In academia, if you complain enough about a class, we give you a higher grade and send you up to the next poor instructor for you to torment. So, this student went all out to find everything and anything to complain about: the exam had too many questions, lecture notes were not in the format she liked, I didn’t return her emails on the same day, and the list went on.
By the end, she had escalated these issues to the top, and I got called into the Dean’s office. My administrators above me have worked with me for years. They knew this student’s history of filing complaints about everything and everyone. They told me to go easy on her just so I could be done with her. I gave her a higher grade than she deserved (which seemed to be the point of all of this), then washed my hands of her...or so I thought.
A year later, I was assigned to be the committee head of the faculty that creates group letters of recommendation for medical school applications. This student submitted the form for our committee to create her recommendation packet. Students can, and SHOULD, waive the right to read these evaluations. If you are afraid of what a professor will say about you, don’t ask them for a letter.
The student made sure to point out to the committee in a formal letter that because of the problems she had with ALL of the professors that would be writing letters, she wanted to make sure their letters were appropriate and of the correct tone before we sent them off. Therefore, she would be reviewing them before approving them for inclusion in her packet.
Nobody wanted to write a true letter for fear of getting sued. She would be seeing all of the letters, as would her counsel before we sent them. So our hands were tied. But one brave soul decided to rebel—he went around and solicited her letter-writers into creating sublime choruses of praise. These would be letters you would expect to read to the Nobel Committee about Hawking, Einstein, Newton, and Feynman.
Nobody would believe that a student with this background or MCAT score could get even one of these eulogy masterpieces, let alone such letters from a whole panel. I included a note from the committee stating that the student had previously filed academic complaints against every professor that wrote her a letter, therefore these letters may not reflect her true academic potential.
The student didn’t have the right to see THAT part unless they requested it later after the letters had been sent out. She sent out applications to every medical school that existed. Within her application packet came those beautiful letters, and those three explosive paragraphs explaining that this student filled academic complaints against every letter writer, and did not waive the right to keep their letters secret.
It doesn’t take a genius on the admissions committee of each of these schools to read between the lines and drop that application in the trash before granting an interview. She did not get one interview. With more than 30 applications, not one school invited her to continue her application process. That gets a professorial cheer!
12. Sounds Too Good To Be True
A girl who had been obnoxious all semester gave a presentation that was suspiciously articulate despite her usual behavior. I stopped her in the middle of it and I dropped the hammer: “Now you’re going to continue reading that essay, but I know you didn’t write it, because it was written by my friend. I expect you to make a new presentation for next week, but read us the rest of the essay please.” She was stunned.
13. The Strong Arm Of The School
There was this one little jerk who was always bothering another kid about his weight. I would always tell him to stop and he would for a bit, but the next day he would carry on. One day, I finally had enough and told him that he needed to go to the principal’s office. He responded with something along the lines of: “I don’t need to listen to you, I’m strong.”
I knew that I needed to do something. So I told him that since he is so “strong,” he would have to stand in the middle of the room with his arms stretched out. Let me just say that it is more difficult than it sounds. He took it as a challenge—he walked his smug face to the middle of the library and started holding his arms out.
It took him less than a minute for him to start lowering them, and I would turn to him and say, “Yeah, you must be really strong” sarcastically and he would lift them back up. About five minutes passed and my mom, who also worked at the school, walked into the library to see what was up. We chatted for a second, and then she noticed the kid standing in the middle of the room. She asked what he was doing.
The kid’s face went red immediately. I told my mom that he was bothering other students and was disrespectful. Turns out, that my mom was this kid’s favorite teacher and he had no idea that I was her daughter. He ran and started crying into my mom’s skirt and apologized, but my mom still took him to the principal. The rest of the year he was a little angel.
14. Real Life Lord Of The Flies
I used to teach high school English and theatre. My students weren’t terrible, they were just teenagers. I ended up getting a reputation of being able to work well with “problem students,” so I ended up getting a lot of problem students shoveled into my class. I rolled with it as best I could, not realizing this was the result of my being a newer teacher and at the bottom of the totem pole.
I was teaching Lord of the Flies and allowed the students to vote for one of their classmates to be in charge of the class. One of my classes voted for one of my “problem students.” I let the class crash and burn for a week. It was part of the lesson, and I was surprised at the results—I still remember the individual student who was voted leader saying he couldn’t take it anymore. He never realized how much of a pain he and other students were being. He ended up being one of my top students for the rest of the semester.
15. Doing The Kimchi Shuffle
I taught English at a ritzy private school. We weren’t allowed to discipline the kids for any reason, no matter what, because the school was making money from the tuition. For the most part, the kids were pretty good, but there was this one kid who was always disruptive, bullied the other kids, threw pencils, wrote swear words on the whiteboard before class, never listened, etc.
Eventually, I had enough of him—I started eating a lot of kimchi on the days I taught that specific class, which gave me wicked indigestion. When I walked by the kid I would let out horrible, silent, creeping, hot gas. No one ever blames the teacher and after a couple of weeks, he became known as the stinky kid. It made me feel better knowing that he was knocked down a few pegs.
16. Class Participation Matters
I had a terrible student who was obnoxious and disruptive. He had no respect for anyone, including his classmates. What I did next was exactly what he deserved—I gave him a class participation grade that was just low enough to have him fail the class. He tried to appeal it twice but to no avail. He changed majors and the professors in his new major hated him too.
17. Just When He Thought He Was In The Clear…
I had a twelfth grader take a bottle of water that wasn’t his, then deny it, demonstrably lying. He got super snotty and insulting when I called him out on it. I just sent him off to the office for the period, and he probably thought that was the end of the matter. Little did he know that it was far from over. A couple of months later, the school was going on a senior trip camping in the desert.
He was devastated to learn he wasn’t allowed to go. He would have to sit in an empty classroom and watch PBS videos while we were hiking, sitting around campfires, sleeping in tents, and making bacon and pancakes for breakfast. I wasn’t about to chaperone him and deal with whatever nonsense he was going to put forth.
18. Not A Righteous Rant
I had a student in my college composition class who was constantly making obnoxious, offensive comments. He thought he was the edgy class clown but mostly he was just annoying. He kept getting away with his appalling behavior until one day, he slipped up big time—he wrote an essay that was just an incoherent rant about how much he hates a certain ethnic group.
I reported him to the dean of students for hate speech. Other than the occasional comment about how he was being silenced for “standing up for America,” he finally stopped making obnoxious comments in class after that.
19. Going Once, Going Twice…Sold!
I had a very strict policy about passing notes in class. I had suspected a bunch of students had been passing notes to each other, but I could never catch them. That is until one day after all the students had gone home, I found a large stack of old notebook paper on the floor. It was a note more than10 pages long that had been stapled and taped together.
The girls in question had been passing this same note around and adding to it, presumably since the beginning of the school year. I would hand out a lot of extra credit from bonus questions on homework to extra credit assignments, and I kept track of how much each student had accumulated. At the end of each semester, I would have an auction.
The students could spend the extra credit they had accumulated on prizes, usually toys, and candy. I saw the perfect opportunity to serve them their karma—I saved the giant note that the girls had written until the end of the semester and then auctioned it off to a group of boys in the class. None of the girls in question passed notes after that.
20. Dishonourable Honour Students
I taught an AP Chemistry class. Our school’s rules allowed for unlimited skips in classes of honors-level or above. I had three students that would only show up for the exams and all three would pass with identical grades, despite never sitting within eyesight of each other. I spent the entire year trying to figure out how they could have possibly cheated. In the AP class, your grade was based solely on the final exam at the end of the year.
All other classwork, homework, and exams were to help you learn, and were the deciding factor for being allowed to take the AP Exam. I decided to throw them a curve ball—instead of a written exam we’d have a lab exam for a final, and it would include a chemical that stained your skin blue if you touched it. Since these three students never showed up for class, they never knew anything about lab procedures, and they ended up failing the class and having blue skin for the rest of the school year.
21. Don’t Try To Outsmart The Teacher
I was teaching film and I had this one student who slacked and was not that great in class. She always complained when I showed a black and white, classic, or subtitled film. She was also great at making others feel bad. For graded coursework, my students had to do a paper on their favorite director. She picked Tim Burton.
They were given strict instructions to use books from the recommended reading list and Wikipedia was not allowed. Within the four weeks of the assignment due date, I would see my students in the library, devouring the required books. All except for her. The due date came, but they had a few days to make corrections before it went to the external examiner.
Hers was the last to be handed in. Immediately I could tell it was from Wikipedia. As I glanced through it, it was all just a collection of titbit trivia from Tim Burton’s page, albeit just re-written slightly differently. She told me she read Burton on Burton and a few other film books, but forgot to put in the quotes.
I told her Wikipedia was forbidden as a source and marks would be deducted. She told me she hadn’t used Wikipedia, and called me a liar for having said I did. Clearly, she had no idea who she was talking to. I told her she had two days to hand in the proper paper. So that night I re-edited Tim Burton’s Wikipedia page, and I waited. Two days later she re-submitted her paper.
I read it and told her she had once again used Wikipedia. She denied it. I asked her if she could show me her research or evidence to back her writing that Tim Burton said his inspiration for making Mars Attacks was because he was abducted by aliens, or that Edward Scissorhands was based on a true story about a boy called Thomas Cleaverfingers.
She said it was in Burton on Burton. I asked which page, as she didn’t follow the bibliography rules. She told me it was on page 45. I took the book off the shelf behind me and began to flick through it, slowly. “You’ve got the wrong edition,” she said, “It’s in the new edition.” I just put the book back on the shelf and then told her how I re-edited the Wikipedia page with stupid quotes and made-up trivia. I had to submit her paper to the external examiner who would support my giving her an F.
22. ‘C’ You Later
I had a kid in my high school science class who used to say out loud that he believed that you could pass any multiple-choice test by always answering ‘C.’ So, on one test day, I walked up to him, handed him a multiple-choice test, and said, “I made this version of the test JUST FOR YOU!” The kid turned pale—he furiously filled the test out with everything EXCEPT a ‘C.’ On his version of the test, ‘C’ was the correct answer every single time.
23. I Reached My Limit
I had a kid one year who was just evil, so much so that within one day of meeting him, I was shocked by his sinister nature. I’ve had kids who were psychopathic before, but this kid was straight-up worse. He manipulated people to do his bidding, bullied, harassed, and teased other children and teachers, didn’t do his work, and took classroom materials.
At first, I was kind to the kid and did all the right things. I authentically praised his work and actions whenever I could and I never let him feel like I was out to get him. I always clearly stated the reasons why he was in trouble, involved his parents, and so forth. I was fair and kind…It didn’t work. One day, after he punched a kid repeatedly, then tried to get out of it and run away, I lost it on him.
I just shouted at him right to his face in the hallway. I don’t even remember what I said. It was so bad, I went back to my desk and took some deep breaths. I had never shouted like that at a kid before and was mortified that I let him see that weakness in me. When I looked over at him, he was writing an apology note to the child he had punched. After that, he still displayed some mean-spirited tendencies, mostly on the playground, but he could at least control himself in my classroom.
24. Game On
One time, I had a student who was really concerned about his grades. He suckered me into helping him right before progress reports were to be released, so he could play in the big game coming up. It’s something all teachers will fall for because we want all students to achieve, so I helped him. I kept him updated on his grades.
Up until the day of his big game, he was barely passing at a D-. On the day of the game, he came into class and did absolutely nothing. He just shut down and was obnoxious because it was so close to progress reports. He figured the material from that day wouldn’t be submitted for the progress report because it was so close…but he was wrong.
He thought he was good to play the next football game. So, I decided to put in the extra effort and grade the work for that day and see what would happen to the overall class average if I recorded the grades and submitted them. He ended up with a 59.4%, a failing grade. So I hit ‘Submit Grades.’ There went his game.
25. Sorry, I Can’t Accommodate You
During midterm exams, I explained the rules to the class. Three times I was asked and turned down requests for calculators. Everyone was done except for my ADHD student. He was allowed double time to complete the exam. Then he pulled out a calculator. I watched and watched in disbelief as he solved problem after problem.
I pulled up his medical necessities form and waited. Once he was done, I took his test and he stood there waiting. I asked what he was waiting for, and he asked that I look it over. I then told him the brutal truth—he failed. He started crying and asked why. I explained that cheating was the worst offense he could do and that because he used a calculator, despite me saying none were allowed, he had cheated.
I threatened to report him. His first words were, “But, my accommodation!” I then pulled out and showed him where it said, “calculators must be allowed except where calculations and formulas are the tested content.” He bawled like a baby and never mentioned his accommodation again. I have ADHD myself. It never got me free A’s. I had to work twice as hard to get them in the regular time allotted.
26. What Is That Under My Desk?
I taught visual arts at a middle school for several years. To survive teaching this age group, an experienced teacher understands that most boys are sneaky as heck. They really can’t help it, as its age-appropriate behavior, slow frontal lobe development, etc. One special little ray of sunshine kept reaching under the table unscrewing the bolts attaching the table legs.
Any bump from an unsuspecting kid would send the table crashing. So, one morning before class, I gave him a taste of his own medicine. I globbed an entire jar of petroleum jelly all over the leg bolts under the table. Watching this kid’s face slack into horror after reaching under the table to grab the bolts was so satisfying. He couldn’t wipe it away, hide it, or deny it.
27. Booted Out
One of my first teaching jobs was at a particularly rough high school in the city. There was one student who was known to all of the teaching staff as a real piece of work. He was rude to everyone, inattentive, and always tried to pick fights with students, both verbal and physical. Those were all bad, but at one point, he went too far—he tried to light a fire in my home economics class by stuffing a bunch of dishrags into an oven.
I ended up keeping him after class, sat him down, and gave it an honest try talking to him. I tried to figure out why he was acting the way that he was. The kid just sat there and either wouldn’t pay attention to anything I was saying or would just lip off in response. Eventually, he said something along the lines of, “I don’t have to sit here and listen to this garbage,” and stood up to walk away.
That would’ve been the end of it, but fate wouldn’t have it that way. He dropped his pencil and as he bent to pick it up, I stood up and gave him a boot in the behind that would put the Spartan kick from the movie 300 to shame, sending this little piece of work sprawling out onto the floor. He gathered himself up and began ranting and raving.
He said that he was going to tell the principal and that I would get fired. I decided to call his bluff, and in a voice that would turn blood into ice, looked him square in the eye and said, “Go ahead. Who’s going to believe you?” It freaked him out real bad, and he took off running. Needless to say, nobody ever did believe him.
28. Easy Breezy
When I was a very new professor, I made sure to spell out the course requirements both verbally during class time, and on paper in the syllabus. For students who were taking the class pass/no pass, they had to take a midterm and final exam, as well as write a paper. It was made very clear that their passing grade in all of them had to be a C or better.
I had a smart-alec in class that came to me during my office hours and told me that he was not going to do the paper. His voice took a breezy, commanding, almost condescending tone, but he who he was messing with. I said, “Okay,” just as breezily. He got a C on the midterm, a C on the final, and an F on the non-existent paper. He didn’t pass the course that he thought would be a free ride.
29. Diary Of A Dippy Kid
I had a teacher who got me back in an epic way. It was back in the seventh grade—she made us write diary entries of the book we were reading. The book we were to read was our choice. I was a terrible writer, and had had enough of the diary entry stuff, and hated reading to boot. So, I wrote a long entry bashing her and her English class, in general.
When I came into class the next day, she had the projector out. We were going to edit the grammar and punctuation of a paragraph. When she turned it on, my face went white. It was my journal entry! I was mortified. The kids in the class were laughing at who could write something so stupid. Luckily, she had blacked out my name. Touché to her.
30. Foreign Language Freak Out
I was a foreign teacher working at a high school that split up homerooms by academic level. The lowest level homeroom was the one that always gave me trouble. They talked the whole way through class, didn’t respect me, and said offensive stuff to me in front of my face. That’s not the worst part though—as a result of their behavior, they basically didn’t learn a thing.
One day, I heard someone on Japanese TV say, “Hanasanakute ii yo,” which means “It’s okay if you don’t speak.” So one day, I said this in a loud voice to the worst kid in the class, addressing him by name. The dude actually shut up and listened. I had about 500 students between two schools at this point and I made sure to memorize not just his, but all of their names and called them out personally on their baloney.
31. Discarding Reality
I had a student tank an assignment. My policy was that students can redo any assignment but the highest possible grade I will give a redo is a B. He refused to believe that he actually failed the assignment, and went to my department chair. The chair supported me, so he went to the dean. The dean supported me, so he just kept moving higher up the chain of command only to be told that I was right.
He made all sorts of irrational demands, which ticked off the various administrators he pestered. Finally, he became so annoying that everyone put their foot down once and for all—he was told to accept the grade, work out the redo with me, or face some sort of sanction for wasting everybody’s time. After a month of this nonsense, I met with him and my chair.
I told him once again that he could redo the assignment for at most a B. He still tried fighting it, but the chair stepped in and said he had one minute to accept the deal or face the consequences. With no other option, he agreed to rewrite the paper. I gave him one week to get it done. On the day it was due, he showed up at my office and handed it to me.
Without even looking at it, I dropped it in my recycling container and said, “Thanks, I’ll change your grade on the assignment to a B.” It seems petty, and the rewrite could have been just as bad as the original. I’ll never know. But the satisfaction I got from watching him jump through all those hoops and rewrite the paper, only to have me discard it, was worth it.
32. The Final Countdown
When I was in my last year in engineering college, I took a job as a tech high-school teacher in a public school in my city to help me pay my tuition. One day an electronics teacher called in sick, so they asked me to cover for him a few hours. The content wasn’t a problem for me, but the kids were older than the ones I usually taught.
When I entered the room, there was an unusual silence. Since these kids were older, their attitude was different. I introduced myself, explained the situation, and started the class after they told me what their status in the subject was. A minute after I turned around to write on the board, one kid yelled a nickname they had been using for me (without me knowing) and every kid started laughing.
I didn’t know who it was, so I turned around and asked, “Who was it?” Of course, there was dead silence. So I said, “Guys, I understand your group commitment and how you’ll support each other. You know as well as I do that I can’t let this slip through. So you’ll all be asked to finish a very difficult assignment immediately after class unless the guy who called me names stands up like the man he thinks he is and takes the punishment for himself instead of having you all take it for him.”
A few seconds later, the guy stood up and said “It was me, sir.” I told him it was a noble choice to confess and I proceeded with the instructions of his epic punishment. I told him to go right outside the classroom and count all the tiles on the floor in the hallway, out loud, one by one. The hallway was about 30 ft x 8 ft, and the tiles were 2 in x 2 in.
His classmates were giggling. The guy went out and started counting out loud. “ONE!… TWO!… THREE!…” I continued with the lesson. When the kid outside was at around 20, he started to lower his voice, so I yelled out through the open door, “I CAN’T HEAR YA!!” Then he raised his voice and went “TWENTY-ONE!! TWENTY-TWO!!”
At that point, his classmates burst out laughing and I asked them for silence to continue the class. When the guy was at around 50 or 60 tiles, I asked him back in. I told him it was OK to pick on people, but he must know about the person first, so he knows what he is dealing with and is prepared for a comeback. Those kids never called me names afterward—at least not to my face.
33. Hungry For Attention
When I was teaching at a trade school, I had this one student who loudly announced, “Shoot, I’m hungry,” in the middle of my introduction and when I was going over the syllabus. I asked him his name and told him to go get a sandwich and bring me one too. He didn’t leave; he just sat lower in his chair and was quiet for the rest of that class.
The following week, sure enough, he had another loud outburst. I knew exactly how to deal with it by then—I just looked at him and asked, “Where is my sandwich?” He was quiet most of the time after that, and when he wasn’t, I would just ask about the sandwich and he’d shut right up.
34. Thank Goodness For Google
I had a student who copied off of his partner for every assignment for the whole semester. However, he was smart enough to always change the wording so that it wasn’t identical, thus, I would have no proof to take to academic integrity. He slipped up on the last take-home assignment when he couldn’t copy off his partner.
Instead, he used blatantly plagiarized information from Google. Finally, I had proof! He now is not getting credit for the course and has to retake it. He now also has a tainted academic record due to his offense and is potentially going to be on suspension until next fall. Gotcha!
35. The Workout That Worked Out
I had a kid in preschool who had mastered the whole “going limp” thing. He was a hefty boy and none of the teachers could pick him up when he did this, which meant it was a massive power move on his part. I happened to be on a fitness kick at the time and was going to the gym four mornings a week and working out with a trainer.
One day, I was complaining about this kid and my trainer had me start doing deadlifts. He said it was good exercise, but would also help me with this kid. It took about two months, but the day I was able to pick him up when he went dead was SO satisfying! The look on his face was of utter shock. No one, not even his parents had been able to pick him up for ages. He never did it again, at least, not at school. He’d lost his move.
36. The Long Shot
I was on the field on playground duty. To my left were a bunch of trees and behind them was all the play equipment, such as forts, bridges, and monkey bars. The monkey bars were closed at the time due to an incident that had happened earlier in the week. They were taped off with a big sign telling the kids not to use them. This one kid just wouldn’t listen.
I must have been over there 10 times, clearly explaining that they are out of bounds, but this kid couldn’t care less. He was showing off to his friends, and every time I would walk back over to keep an eye on the more than 50 other kids on the field, he was back on the monkey bars. There was a soccer game that was going on behind me.
I stood there looking at this kid still on the monkey bars when the ball rolled past me into the trees. One of the boys from the field took off after it, and for some reason kicked it back to me. I realized that I’d just been presented with an amazing opportunity, although one heck of a long shot. I instantly line up what looks like a pass back to the kid, but instead, I kicked it too high and deep.
The ball dipped and curled, dodged two trees, and cleared the fort by inches. It came out of nowhere and smacked this kid right-center on the side of the head, knocking him off the monkey bars and into the dirt where he promptly started crying. It looked like a total accident. In no way did it look even remotely deliberate, but it was. Nobody went near the monkey bars for the rest of the day.
37. Psychic Assessment
I was a sub for a few months in a history class where the teacher gave very little care about teaching. One of the students in the class was always loud and distracting to the other students. It always made the class very difficult, and he’d occasionally pick fights with other students. He wasn’t mean; he just didn’t know how to get along with the other kids.
One day, one of the students he was messing with asked out loud, “Why is he like that?” I answered with, “He probably has a pretty dysfunctional home life, where his parents don’t provide him with healthy types of attention. One of them is probably incarcerated. He was probably abused at various points in his life, and never received the foundation to connect with people on a healthy level.
“So, this type of behavior is the only thing that he knows.” A hush fell over the class. The loud kid looked at me astonished and said, “Mister, are you psychic or something?” He then started crying silently in the corner while I awkwardly tried to continue my instruction. He was pretty quiet for the rest of the semester.
38. What Happened To My Facebook Page?
I was teaching a technology course at a college. Through the reflection on the glass behind one student, I could see him browsing Facebook for the first hour of the class. I had root access to all the machines, so I did the pettiest thing—I remoted into his machine and updated his host file for Facebook to 127.0.0.1. Seeing the next page go white and him being completely puzzled as to why every webpage worked besides Facebook was extremely satisfying.
39. Sweet Stapled Revenge
I had students who would give me multi-page papers. They weren’t paperclipped or stapled, and they wouldn’t have names on them. That ticked me off, so I sought my revenge. When I would ultimately locate them all and figure out who they belonged to, I would write their grade in the middle of the last page, then staple them all together directly through the grade.
40. A Whole New Outlook
I taught a large Intro to Environmental Science lecture class, and there was a group of four-to-five girls who would sit clumped together and constantly talk throughout the entire class every time it met. One day, I started the class by saying, “Have you guys seen Community? I just saw the episode where they parodied Dead Poets Society.
“The students get a new outlook on education by standing up in their chairs. Well, today four lucky girls are going to get a new outlook on environmental science!” I then proceeded with my grand display—I walked each girl to a new seat on all corners of the lecture hall. This was probably in front of around 300 other students. Justice felt amazing.
41. Can’t Bend The Rules
I had a difficult freshman when I taught high school French. He was really smart, but he had a really bad attitude and hung out with the loser kids. He obviously wanted to maintain his loser rep. The test had a section where the students had to write a paragraph in said language about their favorite class. He wrote, “I don’t have a favorite class, but I will tell you about my least favorite class: French.
“I hate this class because the teacher doesn’t know what he is doing and a dog could teach me better than he does.” Here’s the thing, though—his paper was written in excellent form, I marked that entire section wrong because he didn’t follow directions. Deep down I wanted to let him pass, but the petty side of me won out and I marked it wrong anyway.
When I passed the papers back he announced very loudly, “HEY! I did this part! Why did you mark it wrong!?” I very matter of factly said, “Because you didn’t follow directions.” He sat very quietly at his desk for a couple of seconds and said, “I am so full of rage right now.” A single tear rolled down his cheek. I couldn’t help it. I broke into a fit of laughter right there in front of everyone. The class knew that he hated me and that I hated him, so there was no reason to hide it.
42. This Is Not Your Domain
We had one rather enterprising high school senior boot from USB on his Windows tablet, then unlock the local admin account, and use that to make himself a local admin account. but here’s the kicker—he was dumb enough to use his gamer tag as the account name. We had Computrace on those devices, and it phoned my home and alerted me about the user logging in as a non-domain account.
I remote-disabled it. It was confiscated and a very interesting parent-teacher-principal conference occurred. We threatened to expel him for breaking the user agreement that both he and his parents had signed TWICE, thus revoking his offer of a full scholarship to college. He would be forced to repeat his entire senior year. In the end, he was forced to be our unpaid intern for the rest of the year, even when he had dates and school events.
43. Science Slacker
I thought I was a pretty cool professor. I would allow for extra credit for writing a poem, or doing a drawing on the back of tests, writing my tests using basic pop culture references to get complex concepts across, all that good stuff. My students enjoyed it because I made sure there was always a little silly thing to help them remember names and facts they would need to know.
At the end of the semester, students have a group paper and PowerPoint presentation to do on a project they worked on the whole term. I hated doing group projects, but hey, get used to it, right? I made sure that they knew that participation was a major part of their grade, and if a single student in their group came to me to say someone wasn’t pulling their fair share, I’d do something about it.
I never had a problem with this because even though I was the “fun” professor I was serious when it came to business. I graded them hard and had high expectations, but I made it worth their while. Well, one semester, this guy is in a group with extraordinarily quiet and shy students. He did NOTHING all quarter long, but nobody said anything to me from his group.
I was so fed up with him by the end of the quarter, I decided to mess with him. Because group projects stink and in order to stick it to that guy for being a freeloader, I graded individual students based on their ability to answer my questions on their presentation topic. Well, guess who got EVERY SINGLE QUESTION from me that day? Yup, the lazy kid.
He got zero points for participation since he did not speak during the group’s PowerPoint, zero points for the questions I asked him (he had no idea what I was asking him about when it was the topic of their group project), and zero points for the corresponding group paper because he couldn’t name a single source he had contributed to the references.
His group of quiet, nice students was stunned that I went that hard on him, but they all thanked me for it later. He had made their group project impossible to do correctly by not doing jack and they were just too shy to do anything. He got a D in my course. He changed his major because he realized getting a science degree meant you had to understand science, write papers, and do work, not sit text your frat brothers during class.
44. Flighty Student
I was a flight instructor and had an underperforming student. He wasn’t dumb or unskilled, just lazy. When he realized that he wasn’t going to finish his course before summer kicked in, he asked me to start flying with him on weekends so he would finish in time. I was kind of mad at the idea of losing my weekend to work, but I needed the money, and wanted this guy out of my hair, so I agreed.
On the third Saturday night, he left me enraged. He was a no-show without a call. I had to dig into the computer system to find out that he marked himself as sick five minutes before the lesson. Now, I was angry because my friends had gone camping that weekend, and I had skipped out to help this student who couldn’t be bothered to call me about being sick.
As I was driving home, I stopped to get some food at a place next to our local movie theatre. While I was waiting for my food I saw my supposedly sick student walk into the theatre with his buddies. So, I decided to schedule the oral portion of his final exam at 5:30 am on Saturday, and the flying portion for 5:30 am on Sunday.
45. Wake Up Snoozer!
I had the same kid always falling asleep during my geometry class. I would regularly stand over the sleeping student’s desk and drop a textbook on the floor to wake him up. It didn’t stop him from sleeping, so I took it to the next level. One day, I told him to stand against the wall for the remainder of the class. He never slept in class again.
46. High School Mind Games
I taught a class right after lunch so I had a couple of kids who would come in late and obviously high. The class was pretty quiet before they got in, so every now and then, I would mess with them and ask them for the assignment I gave out; the one that everyone else had already handed in at the beginning of class. The look of panic was amazing—they would just start fumbling with words.
I told them it wasn’t a big deal and they could hand it in next time. They could never figure out that there wasn’t an assignment.
47. The Winning Kick
I was a primary school teacher in a rural central school. I had this one kid in my class of nine students who were constantly disruptive. He would jump up and down on the desks, throw objects at staff and students, and would swear constantly. Not much could be done, one of his parents worked at the school and the principal almost refused to suspend or expel him no matter how bad his behavior was.
One afternoon, I was out on playground duty and he was kicking a soccer ball around with some other kids. The ball came past me and I stopped it. He yelled out, “Kick it here,” while calling me a name and walking toward me. I took a few steps back, lined him up, and belted the life out of the ball. What happened next made everyone’s jaws drop. It hit him square in the nuts and stomach.
He fell down like a bag of bricks. All the kids in the playground were laughing and I ran over to “see if he was OK.” He got up and looked at me with tears welling in his eyes. I had a slight smirk on my face and said, “You wanted it, you got it.” Then his face turned back toward the ground again and he began throwing up.
He didn’t come back to school for four days after that, and when he eventually did come back, he was almost a model student for the remainder of the year. The next year I was put in a different class and his issues started arising again. He didn’t last till the end of the first term before his parents decided to home-school him.
48. Spoiler Alert
I was a physics teacher at a private all-boys high school. One of my students was always very rowdy, and normal threats or punishments weren’t working. I found out this kid loved Game of Thrones, and that worked brilliantly in my favor. One day, when I asked the kid to quiet down and he refused, I gave him a Game of Thrones spoiler. I then informed him that every time he misbehaved, I would spoil the show for him.
He didn’t believe me, so he tested it out a couple of times and was met with a new spoiler each time. He didn’t misbehave in class after that.
49. 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.
50. Bait And Switch
I taught a high school stats class. There was a group of very talkative and disruptive kids who were doing well. I sensed something was fishy. When I looked at their tests, I saw that they all had the same answers. So I looked at the seating chart and noticed that they could all look over each other’s shoulders of the smart, quiet girl. I knew what I had to do for the next time.
I decided to give her a different test; only her. When I handed back the tests, I told everyone who got under 50% to come and see me. These kids got around 10%. When I was alone with them, I said, “Well, this is your punishment for cheating. Don’t do it again.”