Kids say the darnedest things—and a lot of the time, it’s the teachers who are the ones to catch the unforgettable stuff that slips out. From unintentionally hilarious misunderstandings of words to accidental revelations of just how disturbing things are at home, these teachers caught their students at their most open and honest. Just another piece of proof that kids have ZERO filter…
1. A Fair To Remember
I was discussing homophones with 3rd graders and we were considering the words fare/fair, what they mean, and how they’re spelled. I was sure we had exhausted all the meanings: fair weather, playing fair, bus or taxi fare, etc. I thought we had it covered, but no, Heather knew one more—and she accidentally shared her family’s darkest secret. She said, “You know, ‘fair?’ When your mom has a ‘fair’ and your dad finds out and gets really mad about it?” I’m not often speechless, but that left me floundering for a moment!
One day while I was teaching multi-step equations to seventh graders, a girl asked to speak to me outside. She had these huge brown eyes that were brimming with tears. I walked outside and she just started spilling her guts. She began telling me that her mother wasn’t in the country legally. Her older sister’s substance problem was jeopardizing her mother’s security as she was worried about her sister being in trouble, etc.
In addition to all this, her sister would threaten her mom if she didn’t give her money for keeping up her substance use. There was a myriad of family drama she kept running through. After a few minutes, she looked at me and said, “Ms. (my last name), do you want to hear the worst part of it all?” I said that I did. So, she went on.
“I’m still in love with Tristan. And you sat me next to him in our new seating chart and I can’t sit that close to someone I’m in love with when I know he hates me now.” Yes, I moved her seat away from Tristan. That was a few years ago and I am still in close contact with her. She and Tristan did fall out of love. They have luckily both been able to find others.
3. Words To Live By
The student that I will never forget is Big Mike. I’m a high school science teacher in an affluent suburb. We get this transfer kid in, who is about 6’8”, 350 pounds, with a long, thin Hulk Hogan-style mullet and big glasses. Mike hailed from the hills of Kentucky. He had a thick Southern accent, and was the most quotable kid I ever met.
He used to say things like: “I hate books Mr. Teacher!” One time, he said: “My grandma made me sleep on the porch because she cooked some veggies and I told her dang it woman! Where’s the meat?!” Another time, he said: “I ain’t never seen a pencil like this. Can I keep this and show my dad?” He was talking about a regular mechanical pencil.
But those pale in comparison to my favorite quote of all time: “They threw me out of Golden Corral because I ate eight of them steaks they had. I was so mad, next time I’m trying for nine!” One time, we were supposed to have a fire drill at precisely 1:55 PM. When the bell didn’t go off, he went ahead and pulled the alarm. He honestly thought he was helping out whoever had forgotten.
4. Three Magic Words
I had a student who was only sixteen years old but already deeply hooked on controlled substances. He had a really rough childhood. He started smoking with his dad at the age of thirteen. Then, his stepdad took his own life right in front of him when he was fourteen. A whole bunch of other unimaginable things also happened in between.
He’d often come to school under the influence and we would send him home. Nice kid, always respectful, and just had “a good soul.” One day, he was all sorts of messed up and I pulled him out of class. I told him that I loved him and that I was worried about him. I also said that if he kept this up he would more than likely not make it past the age of thirty.
He freaked out and ran to the principal’s office to complain that I just told him that I loved him and cared about him. The principal said, “Well, maybe he loves you and cares about you.” We kicked him out of school after a while. We had to. He eventually got sober and came back to track me down. He grabbed me and started sobbing.
He told me that when I said I loved him, it was the first time an adult had ever said that to him. And he believed it. He has stayed sober for years, went to college, and is doing really well as a nurse now.
5. Just Laugh It Off
I had a student who had just moved to our school, third-grader. His first day he had this huge gash over his nose. I don’t know why but I just didn’t think much of it. A couple days later I asked him what had happened, and his answer was horrifying. He said that his mom’s boyfriend’s dad pinned him against a wall and whipped him with his belt. Then showed me marks on his back as well.
He kind of laughed it off and said, yeah, he’s mean. It took every ounce of me not to cry right then and there. I immediately went next door to get an adult to take over my class and ran to the principal. She called law enforcement and they had some kind of excuse why they wouldn’t be able to come right away. She demanded they be there today because she was NOT sending that boy home.
They did show up, they walked him home, and they watched as the boyfriend’s dad packed up and left. The boy was in third grade, had the dirtiest mouth, and was probably one of the funniest and sweetest kids I’d ever met. He did tell me that the man moved back to Samoa later that year (mom stayed with boyfriend so knew stuff about the man). He moved schools the next year though, so I don’t know how he’s doing now.
6. No Show
During virtual learning, at a time of day where we would just give the kids a little time to talk to each other after lunch, one boy was telling another boy how his dad had hooked up his iPad to the TV so he could watch videos or something like that. These kids are kindergarteners. He said to the other boy, “Has your dad ever done that?”
That’s when the second boy spilled all the tea: “No. My dad definitely can’t do that. My dad never comes to pick me up. He never even watches me.” Now obviously this was terrible and such a heartbreaking thing to hear, but what was so amusing was just his innocence and candidness as a five-year-old kid. He just came right out and aired it all out.
And again, this was virtual learning, so this kid’s poor mother was in the background yelling “J*****!!! STOP IT!! DON’T SAY THAT!” She was horrified. It was sad to hear, but also so funny to hear him just be so straight up with it in front of a class of 25 kids and 2 teachers.
7. That Animal Instinct
I used to have a small farm with the usual farm animals. I also went to schools and brought along animals and educated the various classes on animal care, etc. I always invited elementary school classes to come and take a tour of the farm. This would entertain the children. Every year the teachers took me up on the offer. At the time, I also had several animals up in the house, including a few squirrel monkeys.
One of them was really, really old and she had no teeth. A young boy in the second grade was laughing and playing with that older monkey while I talked to the class that surrounded the monkey cages. The old monkey was ‘gumming’ his finger and he couldn’t stop laughing. Finally, the little boy said, “Hey, Jacob, come here and let her bite you….it feels just like grandma!”
And, while showing them the possum I was bottle feeding back to health, a little boy said he had a bunch of them in his bedroom closet.
8. My Way Or The Highway
I had a student who was an absolute terror. He bullied the other students and constantly disrupted lessons. His mother was just as bad. She would routinely stop by to “visit” my classroom and would sit there and give me the stank eye. Then she would go to the principal with made-up stories of my inability to teach and/or my bias against her son.
She would call meetings with district-level administrators and rail against me for hours. One day, I was asking my students if they could write down their addresses for a class project we were doing. “The Terror” gave me an address that is different from the one we had on record. In fact, the address was in the next town 15 miles away.
What he didn’t know was, he’d just revealed his mother’s secret. He and his mother had moved nine months earlier but had neglected to register in their new school district (as is required). I notified my principal and the next day “The Terror” was gone. The icing on the cake was that Terror Mom was sued by our school district for the loss of funds during that 9-month period.
9. Sensitive Stomachs
I’m a full-time nanny to two girls who are seven and ten. One day, I arrived at work and the ten-year-old answered the door and let me in. The first thing she says to me when she sees me is, “Mom is upstairs in the bathroom. She’s been in the bathroom all night and all morning! She ate something that really messed her up!”
I laughed and pretty much expressed myself as “oh no.” All the while, I couldn’t help thinking that I was glad her mom was upstairs and didn’t hear her tell me that information! Things came full circle though. This happened recently when I had a bathroom emergency after I got back to their house from picking them up from school.
I couldn’t help thinking about how they were probably going to tell their parents all about it. Both girls have a serious tattling problem.
10. Coming To His Aid
I taught math to middle schoolers. I once had a student who did very well. He was always pleasant, and liked to help others. I began to think about him more when I noticed a pattern in the clothes he wore. The clothes were nice, basic, and clean, so I really just shrugged it off. It had just turned into the holiday season that year, about a week or so before Thanksgiving.
One evening, I had to run back to the school to pick up my car, as I had gone out with some fellow instructors. As I was preparing to leave, I noticed activity near the dumpsters. I headed over and saw this student digging through them and pulling out food scraps from the cafeteria’s leftovers. My heart sank about a thousand feet in an instant.
I didn’t know what to do. If I were to go up to him, he’d know I knew and I just didn’t know how he would react. I talked with a colleague of mine who knew a social worker. The family had suffered the loss of his dad about two years ago, and now his mom was battling cancer. To say they were hanging on by a thread would be an understatement. But the kid hid this from everyone as far as we knew.
Finally, we knew we had to do something. So we all waited one evening and, sure enough, he returned. He was scared, ashamed, crying, and angry. Every emotion you can think of. I do not blame him. We took him to his home and his mom was emotional too. We ordered hot food and a colleague went out and got it for them. We all spent many hours that evening talking and reassuring them that we were there to help.
Working with local resources, we got them the help they needed. We arranged for food, medical assistance, and even local volunteers to come and help with some chores around their house. The mom got better, thankfully, and the bright young man continued to do well in school. He eventually got a scholarship for college when he graduated a few years later.
This was twenty years ago. Today, that bright young man works as a mechanical engineer and is still as generous and considerate as ever. His mother, sadly, passed around ten years ago. All three of his “former teachers” from that night went to the funeral. I am very proud of him and the man he has become. We still keep in touch, and visit often.
11. That Famous Relative Story
I worked at a summer camp one year where campers were continuously coming in and out. I had this cute girl as one of my campers one day. She was very peppy and talkative. She told me all about how she got VERY expensive presents for her past birthdays from her uncle. Of course, I smiled and said, “Oh, that’s nice of your uncle.”
She then said, “Yep. He made a lot of money.” I went ahead and politely asked, “Oh? And what does he do for work?” She replied, “He’s a teacher… no, wait, that was just pretend. He acted as a teacher in a movie. You’ve probably seen him before.” I laughed a little and smiled at her and asked, “Oh yeah? What movie is he in?” I absolutely was not prepared for her answer:
She looked at me point blank and said “Harry Potter. My uncle is Professor Snape…or, he used to be before he passed…The cast was at the funeral. Emma Watson is really nice.” That day was such a haze, I barely remembered anything until I got home and remembered that interaction again and thought, “What in the world?”
I still can’t remember WHO I interacted with. Her dad picked her up but to this day I’m not sure who I met. I’m not sure if it was one of Alan Rickman’s brothers or a sibling of his wife, but it’s the closest I’ve come to meeting a celebrity.
12. Wendy, What Went Wrong?
Let’s call her Wendy. I taught school in Detroit Public Schools, special ed. I had a small class, self-contained for students with visual impairments. Wendy came to us in overly small shoes, a worn-out coat, and a huge hat covering her face. In its infinite wisdom, the district put us in a magnet school that had never had special ed before.
The first day, the principal said to me, and I quote, “You know we don’t want you here.” The principal was serious on dress code. She took one look at Wendy, and tried to send her home. I fought back and the principal, deciding she had bigger fish to fry, backed down. But that bonded Wendy to me instantly. And that feeling never changed.
She was a shy, quiet sixth-grader who was behind in math, reading, and everything. She also had low vision that even magnifiers and glasses couldn’t help. Since the class was so small, everyone got super intense teaching. Thanks to this, Wendy started to blossom. Even though most of the other teachers refused to let our kids come to their classes, I did manage to get them into art and music.
We discovered that Wendy was some sort of musical natural. She could play piano by ear, sing on note, and even played the flute! She made friends and started pulling up on her academics. Then, in February, it all ended. The secretary called me to the office to say that CPS wanted to talk to me. The lady said that there was an investigation into Wendy’s homelife.
Apparently, her mom had taken off and was on the run. Wendy disappeared. At some point, her mom landed back at the house and our truant officer found out and went over there. The mom said, “I’m homeschooling my children,” and slammed the door in his face. And that was that. Wendy was gone. But then, eighteen months later, we had another surprise.
I’m in another school with some of the same amazing kids, when one of them says to me out of the blue, “Hey, Ms. Teacher! Wendy’s with her dad now. She’s coming back to school tomorrow.” I was stunned. I peppered this poor kid with at least a hundred questions, until he just started laughing and said, “Wait until tomorrow!” or something like that.
Sure enough, Wendy rolls in with her father the very next day. Wendy and her five siblings had been locked in a house for the past year and a half with no medical care or proper nutrition. Nothing. Someone got word to a cousin, who got word to the dad, who found them and alerted the authorities. CPS busted in to save them all. Wendy was back.
To tell you how incredible this kid was, she jumped right back into school. We put her in seventh grade instead of eighth to get her caught up. Within a month, she had friends all over the school, every teacher loved her, and she wanted to learn Braille even though she didn’t need it. She worked her butt off and succeeded in this endeavor.
I had her for her two years in a row, and what years they were! Those were the most amazing years of my teaching life. We made so much progress. On her last day of eighth grade, Wendy clung to me and cried and said she couldn’t make it in high school. I told her that of course she would. And she did. She came back during her ninth grade year and gave me a letter that I still have.
She didn’t talk much about those eighteen months, but she thanked me for helping to make her into her own person. Three years later, I got a notice from her that she was graduating high school. I will never forget any of those kids, especially Wendy. Whenever I think about giving up or that I can’t do something, I think of her. I will never forget you, my dear, sweet, love.
13. Under The Skin
When I was teaching college-level introductory biology in grad school, the main lecturer told an anecdote. They said that one time one of his students came up to him after his heredity lecture and showed a simple Punnett square that she had doodled of her and her boyfriend’s blood phenotypes. She wanted to make sure she had done it right.
She wanted to be sure because if so, then it meant that her boyfriend wasn’t the father of her baby. The lecturer checked her work and awkwardly confirmed that she had, indeed, created the Punnett square right. She, apparently, stared at her notes quite sadly and murmured something about brief relationships during the period.
Supposedly the reason we don’t test blood types in class anymore, besides the obvious sanitary reasons, is that it wasn’t uncommon for kids to do Punnett squares on themselves and their parents and realize that something didn’t add up.
14. Sending A Smile
I was a preschool photographer a few years ago. There was this one boy who came onto my set. He couldn’t have been more than four at the time. He said he “wanted to smile real good for Daddy, who crashed his motorcycle and went to Heaven.” I looked at the teacher and she said that it had happened a month or so prior to the day.
I had to fight so hard not to cry. He didn’t understand his dad wasn’t coming back because he was no more. I liked to use words other than “cheese” to get the kids to smile. For instance, I use words like bunny, puppy, kitty, etc. When it came time for this boy’s picture he said, “No, I wanna say Daddy!” This sweet boy gave the best smiles that day and was so full of silly, joyful energy.
Later, while waiting for his classmates to finish getting their pictures, I overheard him ask his teacher, “When is Daddy coming home? I miss him. When can I see Daddy?” It was a rough day after that.
15. Home For Christmas
I work with disabled kids. One of my kids comes from a family whose culture/religion does not celebrate disability. Whenever I ask her what she did at the weekend or over the holidays she always says, “I watched TV.” When I go and ask her siblings what they did they’ve been to the park, or the cinema, or visited grandparents.
The family doesn’t want her to participate in Christmas due to their religion which is fair enough so I take her to do other things when the class is doing Christmas stuff. But she can’t even tell me what religion they are at home. They aren’t allowing her to participate in her own culture and they’ve given her nothing to replace it with.
The past two weeks she’s been telling me how much she loves the Christmas decorations and how much she’s looking forward to Christmas and Santa, it breaks my heart. Despite all this, she’s honestly the happiest person I know. I report all the concerning stuff she says but it’s not deemed serious enough for any action. It won’t happen but if it ever became an option I’d adopt her in a heartbeat.
16. So Sad
I will never forget a wonderful young student of mine who lost his life in a car accident back in June 2020. He was in his junior year. I took him under my wing in Grade 9. We worked on his impulsive behavior, colorful language, anger management, and questionable life choices. By Grade 10, he was a mentor to incoming freshmen that had similar issues as himself.
In Grade 11, he was a leader here in the school, volunteering even though he held down two after-school jobs. We shook hands every day. He’d bring me coffee. His last text to me said: “Life is beautiful, man.” He had recently told me that he wished that I was his dad. Sadly, he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt coming home from one of those jobs.
He died instantly after being ejected from a car he was a passenger in. My commute to and from work every day passes by the exact spot where it happened. Miss you, Edward.
17. Child Bride
I taught at a girls school overseas. We had girls from China, the Philippines, India, Nepal, Pakistan. One day I walked into my English class and I noticed one girl was missing. I asked if she was absent. Her fellow Pakistani friends had a plain look and said her dad came to get her. It was not uncommon for these kids to have a grandparent or relative pass away in the home country and they may be gone for a month.
Later in the day I had the same class again for a substitution. I asked about “X” and if her family moved back home. One of the girls told me, ‘”She’s getting married.” My eyes got big and I had to remain professional. I wanted to shout, “She’s only barely 13!” but couldn’t. I just said, “Ohhhhh ummmm we’ll miss her. She’s a good kid.” And I left it at that.
You could see the look in the eyes of the Pakistani, Indian and even Nepalese girls. Like this was normal for them even though they now lived in a very modern Chinese city and some were born there.
18. Hard Choices
I’m a professor and I had a student who was a big dude, much older than the typical college student. He was about forty, an ex-soldier, and very stoic. We did a simulation exercise during class where students had to make a decision about whether to race a car or withdraw from the race. Most students go forward with the race for a variety of reasons.
But what they don’t know is that this situation mirrors the decision that NASA made with the Challenger launch, which obviously exploded. After the exercise, the student came up to me and started crying and said it was the most impactful exercise he’s ever done and that whenever I have hard days I should remember that I made a difference for him.
I almost started crying myself. It was a great moment in my career.
19. Blame Game
I was student teaching so I was not actually a direct part of the proceedings, my mentor teacher handled the primary incident. My mentor had to call child services because of a concerning comment one of our little girls made regarding her living situation. At the time, she was living with mom, grandma, and a little brother. Mom was somewhat recently back in the picture after some issues (possibly she was incarcerated) during the previous school year; grandma had custody of the children.
I met the mother at a support services meeting during the beginning of my placement and things seemed typical then. Well, they ended up in family court, either directly resulting from that call my mentor made or not, I don’t know. The next day the little girl was in school, I overheard her telling one of her desk mates that “Mommy said it’s my fault she can’t stay with us no more.”
I don’t know what the circumstances were and I didn’t catch the first half of that girl’s story. But it broke my heart to think that her mother must have had her visitations taken away and instead of owning up to whatever her own problems were, she told her seven-year-old daughter that she was the cause of their troubles.
20. Here Comes The Sun
Joseph. I taught, or rather tried to teach Joseph science for two years. I wasn’t exactly blind to his, uh, limitations; but he really did surprise me when we began our unit on the Universe. We watched a short video about the life of a star and then I led a class discussion. We talked about our sun and how small our solar system is, and all of that other fun stuff.
At some point, it dawned on Joseph that the sun is a star and would go through a life cycle like any other star does. He started to lose his mind and suddenly had so many questions. Things like: “Wait, so we’re gonna get burned alive???? How much time do we have?!?! How come nobody has said anything about this before?!”
And this isn’t like when middle schoolers ask dumb questions for attention. This kid was literally grabbing his hair and squirming in his seat, totally scared. So I say: “No, Joseph. This isn’t going to happen for a very long time. We won’t be here by then.” Turns out that was the wrong thing to say. It did not help the situation.
All that poor kid was doing was minding his own business, and doing the least he possibly could academically up until now. And then, out of nowhere, I threw his entire existence and mortality in his face. Accidentally, of course. I’m not a monster! Anyway, it was so bad that he had to take a minute outside in the hall to figure everything out before returning to class
Joseph did not pass the eighth grade that year.
21. Cheaters Never Prosper
There were two teachers in the school who were married. While the husband was sitting in the classroom waiting for the class to start, a kid ran in and said, “Hey Mr. B, your wife is making out with Mr. H in his classroom.” Turns out they’d locked the door, but about a dozen kids were looking through the skinny door window watching them.
The guy didn’t even say anything. He just looked crushed. He walked out of the class and never came back…I mean never. It turned out his wife and the other teacher had been having an affair and he’d suspected, but having it confirmed by one of his students in front of the whole class was too much. The school didn’t discipline the two cheaters, but the students definitely did.
Both of them had to listen to “cheating” puns and jokes every day. “Hey Ms. S, I’m going to copy off Joe’s test, cheating is cool with you right?” kind of stuff.
22. Lesson Learned
I taught sculpture and mask making at an arts summer camp, many years back. One of the projects was drawing a creature and then carving a 3D version of it out of a block of foam, to later paint and decorate. All the students nailed it, except one. This nine-year-old boy didn’t get it. I sat with him and went over it, many times.
He simply didn’t understand the concept of three dimensions, like “What would this side view look like as a top view?”-type thinking. After a long while, my assistant, a woman in her late 30s, took me aside and pointed out all the indicators that the kid had a certain condition that I had no idea existed. I’ll never forget his confused, blank face.
And my frustration at how someone couldn’t think in 3D. I try to be more understanding, sympathetic, and patient now.
23. Beautiful Woodpeckers
I teach K5 at a private, Christian school. One of our poems we’ve been learning is about a woodpecker. In an effort to help the poem make more sense, I taught the kids about woodpeckers, which are common in my state, and looked up pictures and videos of them doing their thing. The kids loved it. We were going outside on the playground that day, so I told the kids to listen close and they might hear one up in the trees.
So, during PE, I’m sitting in the sun watching my kids, minding my own business, when one of my kids comes up and says, “Hey Mrs. PaperThin, I’ve been looking for them peckers.” It took me a second to register what this blonde, chubby-cheeked angel had just said to me. Then I realized he meant woodpeckers…I gently corrected him, “Oh, you’ve been looking for the woodpeckers?”
“Yeah, them peckers.” I was terrified he was going to go home and tell his parents I had taught him about “peckers”, but thankfully he did not.
24. Seeing The Resemblance
I was getting my middle school certification in my state. This was maybe three or four years ago, and my college would place us in local schools in the area to partner with an accomplished teacher and get our observation hours in. The college had a reputation for putting male teacher candidates in the roughest schools in the area.
My first morning there, in a very rough all boys middle school in the worst part of the city, a little boy maybe ten year old walks into class, looks at me, and immediately says “What are you looking at, you Ryan Gosling-lookin’ monster??” I was utterly speechless. I can only assume that was his catch-all term for strangers.
I’ll definitely never forget him!
25. Rocking The Boat
I was a watersports instructor teaching people kayaking and canoeing a couple of years back. There was a group of refugees, all minors between the ages of eleven and seventeen, who came to us through a charity that was supporting them as they worked on getting their asylum status completed here in my country, the United Kingdom.
All of them had crossed the channel on a raft or dinghy literally two days before, yet for some unknown reason, the charity had decided that it was a good time to take them canoeing! Can’t make this stuff up! Anyway, there was this one kid from South Sudan. He was fifteen years old and an absolute behemoth. We’re talking taller than six feet, and pushing fifteen stone in weight.
He was covered in scars, some of them from ritualistic scarification. He was also missing teeth and generally just looking like he’d been through many hard times. He was terrified of the water. I took him in my boat, nice and easy. Then, once he got comfortable, I just stuck a stern rudder in and let him power us through the water.
He and the other kids loved it! We had some tears at the beginning, as I imagine there was a lot of PTSD involved judging by the state of some of these poor kids. But by the end of the session, this giant monster of a child walked up to me with a huge jagged grin, and said in broken English: “Thank you, leader!” before giving me a giant bear hug that I’ll never forget.
To this day, four years later, I still remember that thank you.
26. Thank You For Your Disservice
I have lots of good stories, but my most memorable one was a bad one which, while unfortunate, had an outcome I am most relieved by. There was a student in the school that was really smart, but also one of the most hateful pieces of garbage I had ever seen. One look at his home life showed where he got this from, but that was still no excuse for his behavior.
He was bigoted against every group you can imagine, and at times just downright cruel. He even made fun of other kids’ deceased relatives. Now, this student really wanted to be in the army, going so far as claiming he worked with special forces over the summer break one year when he was a minor. The school would try and ask him what else he wanted to do, but he didn’t want any backup plan.
The day came and he officially applied to the armed forces of our country. He went around to a bunch of teachers and asked to put us down as references. We said yes, and then proceeded to give fully accurate accounts of what he was like to the people that called us. We spared no detail, and even warned that he could be a danger to the people around him.
After a long conversation with the recruiter, he called some of his other references who confirmed that this kid was cruel and evil. As a result, the student was rejected from the forces. He then went on to be charged with uttering threats and brandishing a weapon against people in a workplace. It may not be a happy story, but I truly think we did the right thing.
27. Marching To His Own Drum
I found out one of our marching band students was habitually late to after-school practice of home games for a disturbing reason: His younger sister was constantly running away. He never told any of us and played it off like he was a big jerk. He took a lot of yelling from the marching instructor and various teachers for skipping class or being tardy.
It wasn’t until the principal called the parents about his “behavior” that we found out he was helping to look for his sister or prevent her from attempting to harm herself again. He wanted to be treated like every other student and not receive special treatment from us, so we kept up the charade of yelling at him for lateness, etc.
I was a student teacher during this time and would sit with him and just chat, which is where I found this out the first time. He cared about his sister dearly and would start to tear up talking about her. He wanted her “well.” The family had been working with the local law enforcement and working with family counseling to try and get the daughter well and safe.
This was taking a toll on the brother, who cared deeply about his sister, and he kind of got “forgotten” as all the attention was on ensuring she was safe and alive. The teachers in the school were very worried about him and did what they could to let him know he was welcome and safe and cared for at school, but they were still limited.
Most of these kids drove better cars than the teachers. I had a six-year-old Dodge Neon, and BMW and Audis lined the student parking lots. Most of the kids came from neighborhoods where the houses started at $600k. It was very middle-middle to upper-middle class kids and families. Basically, it was considered “scandalous” in this type of neighborhood for this thing to be happening, and this was mostly why it was kept “hush hush.”
28. Taking A Chill Pill
I taught sixth grade English and had this student who was way too smart and funny for his age. He lived right by the school and he’d stay after school some days and just chill out while I was grading papers. I liked him a lot. I kept things pretty light in the classroom. I tried to make the kids laugh whenever I could. One day, I started on this joke rant about the word “chillax.”
I was like: “Can I just say something about the word ‘chillax,’ guys? It’s a ridiculous word. I like slang. I’m all for language changing over time. But chillax doesn’t solve a problem! It’s the word ‘chill,’ which means relax, combined with ‘relax,’ which means relax, to make ‘chillax,’ which also means relax! It’s completely and utterly pointless!”
This kid stands up and interrupts me with the perfect response: “Whoa whoa whoa, just chillax, Mr. X!” I laughed pretty hard. It might not be that funny to you, but his timing and tone were just perfect. Especially for a kid his age. I hope he’s doing well.
29. The Battle of the Bulge
I tutor high school students in AP classes, and one of my students is definitely pregnant. Meanwhile, her mom is either completely oblivious or trying to keep it totally quiet. Like, this happened when her mom dropped her off one day: Knowing I’m in the process of losing a pretty significant amount of weight, she asked me a chilling question.
She asked me to talk to her daughter about cutting down on carbs so the girl can get rid of her “paunchy belly.” First of all, no, that’s not even remotely my job as your kid’s private tutor. Second, she’s very obviously pregnant and at this point, you’d have to be blind not to notice. I mean she’s at least 8 months along and isn’t doing all that much to hide it.
Then, my student had a “mystery illness” for a few weeks and she wasn’t coming to tutoring sessions or going to school. She came back about a week ago and had miraculously gotten better and also seemed to have lost about 25-30 pounds. Her mom also miraculously had a baby, despite not being pregnant at all before.
So for everyone who was concerned, the end result was that she had the baby and her parents took over caring for it. I don’t know if everyone will agree with me, but knowing the girl and her family, this is the most positive outcome that could have happened.
30. Never Forget
I won’t forget the seventeen-year-old student who walked in during my prep period and saw me crying because I had a bad day. He just sat there, didn’t say anything, and let me cry. He told me things would be okay and that we all have our bad days. I’ll never forget the student who broke down in tears during a break in school because his mom was being placed behind bars and he had nowhere to go.
He was almost 18 and wound up couch surfing, showering at gyms, and walking to work and school. He now owns his own car, has his own apartment, and is doing very well. I’ll never forget the students who came to me and told me they were pregnant before telling anyone else. All of these happened over the course of a couple of years.
They were scared and didn’t know what to do or how to tell their parents. They’re all great moms now who are working and going to college. I’ll never forget the student who told me about his experience crossing the border with a ‘coyote’ as a child. Or the student who told me he didn’t want to grow up to be like his family who were heavily involved in gangs.
He told me how he didn’t want that life, but that life wanted him. Unfortunately, he did follow down their path in the end. And then there’s all of the students who call me mom because I am more of a parent to them than their own biological parents. There’s just so many of them that I won’t ever forget. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
31. Poetic Justice
In year 10, my students get to go to camp for a week, but it costs $300 per kid. I had one student who seemed really, really excited to go until the permission slips got handed out. The next day, she returned it to me unsigned and said that she didn’t want to go anymore. I did some digging and some math and found out that her family couldn’t afford it.
She doesn’t know, but my school has fundraised enough money to send about 7 kids to camp if money is an issue, but I could tell she/her family didn’t want a handout. I’m her English teacher, so I organised a “writing competition” with a “mystery prize” and she won. I pulled her out of class and told her the good news. Her reaction was incredible.
I said “Hey, your poem was absolutely beautiful [it was] and won the competition. I know you didn’t want to go to camp, but the prize is the best bunk at camp, no charge! And I know we’d all love to have you there.” She cried, and the next day she had a signed slip. I think it’s going to be a great time for her.
32. The Power Of Hugs
I was still in high school myself when I joined a program to be a teacher’s assistant at a nearby kindergarten. The kids were all so lovely and loving, and I enjoyed getting to know each of them as individuals. One day, midway through the year, we got a new little girl in the class. Serena was a quiet kid, but bright and attentive.
She always ran up to hug me around the waist when I came into the classroom. At some point, the classroom teacher mentioned to me that the reason she was new to class was that she and her mom were living in the women’s shelter in town. But that was all the information I had. A little over a month later, I came in one day and Serena didn’t hug me.
She was withdrawn, by herself in a corner, and the teacher advised me that it was a “bad day,” so we weren’t pressuring Serena to do any school work. At one point, I did go to check on her, and Serena started crying and clinging to me, telling me that she wanted to go home to her mommy. I gave her a hug and let her cry, but I felt totally helpless.
I didn’t really know what was going on, and I was only 17 years old myself. There wasn’t anything I could do, and it broke my heart. The next time I came in to teach, Serena was gone. And I never saw her again. She’d be about 21 or 22 years old now.
33. My “Gift” to You
I’ve been volunteering with gifted kids and teenagers for nearly a decade, so the signs for “gifted” kids are pretty hard to miss for me by now. Contrary to popular belief, giftedness is not only about intelligence, but it brings behavioral and emotional peculiarities as well. Anyway, a 12-year-old student had already caught my attention as he was not only incredibly smart, but curious and witty as well.
One day, he casually mentioned how he liked my classes because he felt like I was the only teacher who really got him, as others tended to find him disruptive. This is another very common trait amongst gifted youngsters—they may be smart, but they are still kids, so they finish things super quick, get bored, and start doing whatever it is that kids and teenagers do.
That only solidified my beliefs, so I called his parents and asked them to come to school later that week after briefly explaining the situation, since I didn’t want to get the kid in trouble. They accepted my advice and took him to a research center that specialized in gifted people, and the kid was properly diagnosed and has been in a gifted program ever since.
34. Stairing The Problem Down
The student that I’ll never forget is the one that pushed me down a flight of stairs, then was back in my class the next day and stabbed me a month later. It was not fun. It was only my third or fourth day as a teacher. I was still shadowing my teaching mentor, and this girl who was known to be a ‘handful’ stormed out of the classroom, so I followed. It was the biggest mistake of my life.
The young girl took umbrage with this and, as I got to the top of a small flight of stairs, she turned and shoved me down. I filed an incident report. But she faced no punishment. Around a month later, I was on lunch duty and got the kids ready to go back to class. The same girl refused and then decided to bull rush me. I leaped out of the way, and she picked up a knife.
She literally chased me across the campus with said knife. Unfortunately, I ran into one of the doors that only opened from the outside, and she caught up and shoved it into my arm. She was back in my classroom within the week. No consequences from the school. They said, “Well you should have expected this considering her history.”
I continued working at that school for a year after that happened.
35. Don’t You Forget About Me
I’m not a teacher, but a sleep-away camp counselor. I feel like my two cents will fit here nicely. Last year, there was this 11-year-old who was crying on my shoulder for about 30 minutes because he was homesick. After holding him and calming him down to the point where he could talk to me, he finally confessed it all to me.
As he did, he expressed his fear and anxiety about going home and finding that his parents didn’t love him anymore. He was also worried that his sister wouldn’t love him anymore and intrinsically that his family wouldn’t care about him anymore. He told me that he was totally unsure of his life and didn’t feel secure at all.
I was able to convince him of the truth: That lots of people care about him (including myself, which I said to him), that he’s part of an amazing program (Boy Scouts of America), and that he had value to many people. But most of all, that his family would still love him just as much when he went home.
36. To B Or Not To B
I was teaching in a low socioeconomic area, at a school that was notorious for rough students and misbehavior. In that school, I taught the students that nobody else wanted to teach due to their behavior. I had special ed students who needed extra support but didn’t receive any. Students who were involved in gangs along with the rest of their families.
Several had just come out of juvenile detention when they landed in my class. Then there was “B.” Among his group of friends, he was the boss and liked taking charge. He would try to impress his friends by disrupting the class, showing that he was in charge instead of the teachers. B would throw pencils and papers around, chase people in the classroom, and make huge messes that he refused to clean up.
Obviously, this annoyed and angered several teachers. I can’t remember a single teacher who spoke about him without using expletives. I would constantly pull him aside to talk to him and try to figure out why he was acting out. During our talks, I reminded him that just because he was the biggest fish in the classroom didn’t mean there were no bigger fish out there.
If he kept up his behavior, one day he would irk the wrong person and bite more than he could chew. I wished that wouldn’t happen, but he shouldn’t try his luck. Of course, B didn’t believe me. B said he would simply beat them up since no one could beat him. B stopped coming to class one day. Even though I asked, no one told me what happened to him—but I found out soon enough.
It was typical for my students to get in trouble and wind up in juvenile detention for a few months. I figured that was what happened. But several months later, I see B walking to my class with a limp. Before I say anything, he tells me, “Remember when you warned me about the bigger fish? I ran into one and wound up losing.” B had provoked some stranger at a store.
Turns out that stranger was a high-ranking member of a Mexican cartel. So said stranger sent some of his underlings to kidnap B. B was one of the lucky few to survive, since most cartels don’t let you out alive after such an incident. Obviously, this had a great impact on him. But what made it worse was that his parents didn’t even care.
They didn’t look for him when he was kidnapped, nor did they tell the authorities. B was the one who reported what happened to him after he was let go. They started an investigation and contacted CPS. But knowing how things work out in my hometown, that would likely lead nowhere. B was rather quiet and calm for a few weeks, but he soon started slipping back into his old habits.
So I decided to just spend the first few minutes of class sitting next to him and listening to him. B told me about how he wished for someone to show him some boundaries since he wanted to know someone cared about him. But the adults he knew either didn’t care or enforced unfair rules. Several times, he told me about how much he loves cars.
So I asked him: “Why don’t you ask at a local mechanic shop if you can help out, so you can learn?” He seemed utterly perplexed but curious at the same time. It had never occurred to him, but he liked the idea. The following week, he told me a local auto shop took him in as an apprentice. He was overjoyed at having the apprenticeship.
The next several weeks, he eagerly showed me pictures of what he worked on. B’s demeanor would brighten up whenever he talked about it. That’s when his behavior changed. First thing I noticed was how he helped clean up a mess someone else made. That was something he never did before. He stopped running around and would use his ‘bossiness’ to call out others for their misbehavior.
He started respecting others. Now, the counselors and admin wanted B to go to college, but B didn’t want to. B didn’t want to leave a job he loved so much. They would have arguments and send B to suspension after provoking him. It hurt me to see admin so adamant about destroying B’s opportunities simply to push college on everyone.
Considering that B had planned on dropping out of school without any kind of job, his current situation was a major improvement. Fortunately, he didn’t pay attention to them and focused on his apprenticeship. Now, several years later, he didn’t go to college despite graduating high school. According to the school administration, that makes him a disappointment.
But B is now the lead mechanic at the auto shop. The owner considers him one of the best employees he has, and is even considering having B take over at some point when he retires soon. But best of all, B is still alive. He didn’t fall down the dark path he was heading towards. All because I chose to listen to him. Those were my toughest years in teaching, but knowing that I had such an impact on students like him made it all worth it.
It convinced me to stay as a teacher and love what I do.
37. To Tattle or Not to Tattle
I’m not a teacher, but I did confide a secret to my own teacher. Before I tell this story, I’d like to say that everyone—literally everyone—said I did the right thing by coming forward with this information. Still, at the end of it all I didn’t really feel like I actually did the right thing at all, and I still don’t. In any case, here it all goes.
When I was in 11th grade, I had just come off of being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and my best friend at the time was in my math class. For his part, he had epilepsy and severe seizures, so we both missed a lot of school. I had also heard a rumor that his father wasn’t very responsible and another reason he didn’t show up was because his dad couldn’t get him out of bed in the morning for the bus.
Anyway, one day this friend invited me to go bowling. When his dad picked me up, his car smelled of cigarettes and it had junk stacked high in it. After we went bowling, I went to his house and saw that there was junk everywhere, literally everywhere. The whole house also had an overwhelming odor of cat urine and cigarettes.
After my mom and I left, we both had never wanted to take showers so bad in our lives. My mom even contemplated calling CPS. Pretty soon afterward, I told my teacher all about what I saw and he got my friend moved in with his grandparents. For a bit, it really did seem like it might have been the right decision, but that didn’t last long.
The reason I feel like I didn’t do the right thing here is that 2 years later, I reached back out to him and we started hanging out again. This time, I met his grandparents. At the beginning, we were like family, and I even had a good friendship with my friend’s dad. Then later, the grandparents had a change of heart. They never let me see my friend again, or his dad for that matter. Then it got worse.
Turns out, the grandparents were really neglecting my friend. He almost died because his grandparents refused to take care of his epilepsy or take care of him in general. He’s okay now because local child services intervened, but when I found all this out, I had instant regret for telling on his dad. All this because I complained about a bad smell. I feel like I ruined my friend’s life, and it still haunts me to this day.
38. The Internet Is Forever
I teach professional writing classes in college, and I always give a talk about how important it is to Google your name periodically so you know what shows up in your search results. That way, you can deal with anything that you don’t want people seeing, because it’s common practice for potential employers to Google your name.
After class one day, a girl came up to me and asked if it’s really true that employers will Google you as part of the job search process. I assured her it was and her eyes went really wide and she said, “Okay, thank you” and left. So naturally after she left, I Googled her name. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.
The first thing that came up was her arrest record for trying to break into a warehouse while drunk.
39. A Love Letter to Lucas
Dear “Lucas,” You will never read this. I was your teacher’s assistant in kindergarten. I was the one you told when your dad beat you. Sorry about all the CPS stuff. I know they didn’t do anything. I know your Mom lied. I know you got in trouble. I know with your family background, poverty level, and race, you are all prepped to be a terrible statistic.
On volcano science day, you cried on my shoulder and told me you will never be smart enough to be a scientist. You could be, but I know that it’s a long shot. I know I did everything I could to make school feel like a safe, loving space. So that when you’re older, and you want to run from your situation, maybe you will run to school.
I know that you are such a sweet boy, and I would adopt you in a heartbeat. Some days, I pray you get put in the foster system, because I’d have you in my family so fast. I know your life is going to be a struggle. I want you to know you’re loved.
40. When The Kids Are Asleep
A second or third-grade student was always tired and falling asleep in the class. The teacher asked her what the problem was, and the kid said that her parents were really noisy with each other after she went to bed, and it kept her up. She had to explain to the child gently and patiently, “Your parents are busy looking after you when you’re awake, so if they want to play or have fun they have to wait until after you go to bed.”
The kid must have told her parents what she had learned, because the teacher said that in the next parent-teacher interview, the mother was beet-red from embarrassment in the meeting.
41. Those Pesky Family Members
I did a placement once as a student in a reception class. The teacher asked the class a question about phonics and one little girl put her hand up eagerly. The conversation between the teacher and the said student went something like the following. It was quite enlightening, indeed, as the student talked on guilelessly.
The teacher asked, “Child’s name, can you tell your friends the answer?” The child promptly replied, “My mummy and daddy sleep in different beds. And, my mummy got cross at my brother because he was doing doughnuts in his car and had to pay money for being a silly sausage. And, then we went on holiday, and mummy said daddy is silly.”
42. That Hurts!
I used to do science programming for kids. In the middle of a library summer reading program, I picked a little girl, probably about 4-5 years old, to come up and be my volunteer for a magic trick, which then you explained the science of after it was done. I asked what her name was. She said it into the mic with zero shyness in front of approximately 200 kids and adults.
I asked if she had ever heard of the “trick” we were going to do and she said, “Nope! My favorite dinosaur is a triceratops! And I like your shoes! My dad is back there. HI, DAD! But, my mom couldn’t come tonight because she got a shot in her bottom and can’t sit on the hard chairs this place has.” The audience couldn’t stop laughing.
43. Sipping Away
Not a teacher, but I once had a kid say that their mommy and daddy drink every night. I was suspicious, but later next week I was having a dinner time session with them. Dad was having an IPA. Mom had about two glasses of red wine. It was the same thing during the next couple of dinners. They don’t drink too much, but they do have a drink or two for every dinner.
Definitely not enough to get tipsy at all. However, the kid just knew that they “drank.”
44. Family Planning
Zoom school has made some of our classroom parents all too aware of what their kindergarteners are telling us. One child said she was going to have a baby brother, then another volunteered that she wanted a baby brother but would probably never get one because her mom said she didn’t want to have another kid ever again.
Her dad was in the background doing something else but turned toward the camera when he heard that and locked eyes with me all red-faced and wide-eyed.
45. Supportive Parents
I had a student who told me that her mom wanted her to drop out of college. This poor kid was one of the brightest, and most inquisitive students I had ever met. She was so smart, so kind, and so warm. She said she wanted to be a teacher, because it would be a quick and easy degree, but I pushed her to do what she actually wanted, which was nursing, and she got into a very selective nursing program because she was just so crazy smart.
But in her second year, her mom told her they needed her to work to support the family. Her education was free, I and other teachers and counselors had worked to get her scholarships and need-based grants, but that apparently wasn’t good enough for her mom. We convinced her to stay on for the rest of the year, but I left that school a while ago and I have no idea what happened to her. I hope she kept with it, it makes me tear up to think if she didn’t.
46. Hear The Music
I had a girl stay for some help after school one day. At the time I was teaching geometry to the 10th grade in a mostly Hispanic school. She told me about growing up in Peru until about the age of 10 or so. She was telling me that she worked with her uncle sometimes on the weekend. I asked what kind of work they did—many of our kids worked construction with their families.
“He’s a clown…I’m his DJ.” That really gave me a smile.
47. I’m Just A Kid And Life Is A Nightmare
Oh so many. A kid came in upset and we finally got out what the problem was—this mom told him that he caused her to miscarry. Another kid came to school acting off. By lunchtime, he finally told someone what happened the night before. The dad made him take off his clothes and tried to chase him with an electrical cord. The kid ran outside into the streets of Detroit, naked.
Thank God a nice older man found him, put a blanket on him, and took him to the authorities. Of course, CPS intervened. CPS was looking for a placement, the kid assumed he would stay with his aunt (dad’s sister) but learned that wasn’t possible because…that guy wasn’t his dad. The kid said something like, “My whole life is over.”
48. Daddy’s Coming Home
When my son was in kindergarten, he told the teacher that he was thankful that Thanksgiving that his dad was coming home from the Marines. So, his teacher contacted my wife and asked if she wanted to set up some kind of a surprise where I would show up to their class. My wife was like, “Um, who do think has been picking him up from school every day?”
Now, mind you I was in the Army not the Marines and I had gotten out a few years before he was even born. So, why did he say this? When we asked him why, he told the teacher that he said he forgot.
49. It’s Always The Quiet Ones
There was a pond near our classroom. When I was in 6th grade my classmate pushed my teacher’s son who’s about three years younger than us into the pond, then said classmate jumped into the pond and kept holding the kid’s head underwater. The janitor jumped in and helped the kid, and called our teacher. My classmate straight up said to our teacher that he just wanted to check if dead bodies really float.
I don’t know what punishment my classmate got but he continued being my classmate until graduation. Kinda shocking to be honest, since he was nice to everyone.
50. That One Cousin
I was walking a new student to IT and they happily shared the story of his plump cousin who was wanted by the sheriff because he’s behind in his child support. The plump cousin is plump because he drinks energy drinks and not water. He also doesn’t pay child support because he doesn’t like kids. Said cousin also smells a bit like cheese and his feet have long toenails.
The student kept going along this line and saying things so on and so forth until we arrived at the IT office.
At a graduation ceremony, I witnessed one of the boys going up to a teacher he’d always been unpleasant with (and she had a reputation as a harsh teacher, but I’m not sure if I’d think that now 10 years later), and open his arms and ask her for a hug. After all, it was his graduation day. I swear the teacher was nearly in tears because the moment was so sweet—or so it seemed.
When she went in for the hug he just goes “Sike!! You really thought so!” The look on her face was heartbreaking.
52. Santa’s In The House
A kid in one of my classes told me that they learned that Santa isn’t real, and in fact, it’s actually their parents eating the milk and cookies. But, as they said, “It’s not right they have to make the milk and cookies and eat it. They cook for me and I eat what they cook. So, I learned how to make cookies and also pour milk now!” So wholesome!
They told me they have a younger sibling, and they’re going to keep making milk and cookies for “Santa” until their sibling gets older, and then they’ll teach them how to do it too!
I had a student who came to school one day. She told a story in class that one of her friends was being mean on social media so she burned her house down. Later that day found out another girl was absent because her house caught on fire last night. Turns out, she did burn the house down, the principal called her to the office after lunch and admitted it.
She burned a nice suburban two-story house to the ground around midnight. She was nice enough to ring the doorbell to wake the family before running off. Yeah, so she is in juvie now.
54. The (Almost) First Words
I worked in an inclusive preschool for a bit, and many of our students were either nonverbal or limited verbal. We brought in green limeade with snack one day, and one of the little boys, who could barely speak twenty words, shouted “IT’S A MARGARITA!” at the top of his lungs. It was the first full sentence he had ever said.
It was amazing, and we laughed so hard, and he loved it. His verbal abilities started rapidly increasing afterward. But we all knew what mommy did at home. If your limited verbal child can name a margarita, that means they’re seeing a LOT of margaritas.
55. Painful To Hear And To Bear
I used to teach. I had one kid who would tell me every month when her mom was on her period. She would say something along the lines of, “Mrs. A, my mom is bleeding from her butt again.” At least, I hope that is what was going on or that poor lady had some severe hemorrhoids. That would have been painful.
56. Cuffing It Up
This kid was, at the time, probably around only 9 years old. Her parents had their own bathroom and she had been poking around in there. Because, of course, kids do that kind of stuff. As she poked around, she found a pair of handcuffs. Because she was a child, she just assumed that it had to have something to do with her dad’s job.
When she thought back on this memory as a teenager, it immediately occurred to her that her father was not a cop, and he did not work security either.
57. Breathing In
When we were in the ninth grade, learning about substance use in the health class, my friend raised his hand and said, “My dad does not smoke the usual stuff anymore.” The teacher said, “That’s amazing. I’m so happy for him.” The said friend then went on to complete the fact. He continued by saying, “Yeah, he smokes other things now.”
58. Stepdaughter’s New Clothes
My stepdaughter is a pretty difficult child. She is diagnosed with ADHD and ODD and my significant other and I think she is probably FASD as well. Me and her butt heads like no other! Well, it got to the point where she refused to wear any other clothing than what seemed like just three shirts and I was getting sick of arguing with her.
So, when her teachers noticed that there was some dirt on one of the shirts (because I am not doing her laundry every three days), they asked her about it, and she told them we didn’t own a washing machine. She had been going to this school for almost four years by this point. The teachers called me to ask if everything was ok financially and so I informed them that we did indeed have a washing machine.
59. Casual Dress
My daughter informed her entire daycare that “Daddy doesn’t ever wear pants at home.” She’s technically right, I wear shorts. She just never finished the whole sentence. A couple of her teachers have taken to making light of it any time they see me. I can only imagine the things she’s told them that they haven’t told me about.
60. It Happened One Night
Once a super quiet tenth grader, whom I probably heard speaking only twice in the entire year, proclaimed that she was the product of a one-night stand. I was shocked that she spoke out in class and with what she said too. So, of course, I said, “What?” She went on to explain that her mom was under the influence at a bar and got impregnated in some guy’s car.
After she stopped sharing all the family secrets, the entire class looked at me and I just said, “Thank you for sharing.” Education programs do not prepare you for those moments.
61. Dressing Up
My husband has a student whose mom has a massive crush on him. She tells him all the time about how her mom primps before they do anything online, so she can lean in and say hi to him.
62. Sleeping Tight
I work with preschool and elementary-aged kids, so I hear a lot of things. The one that comes to mind: I was meeting with a preschool child and her parent. The child was drawing a picture with crayons while I talked with the mother. Out of nowhere, the kid looked up from her drawing and loudly declared, “Mommy sleeps naked in her bed!”
I expected the mother to be embarrassed. Instead, without missing a beat, she looked at her daughter and firmly said, “What did I tell you? Don’t tell other people about my business!”
63. Flexing It
One day the visiting yoga teacher came to a third-grade class I was covering. Once there, she then introduced herself to the class and went on to ask if anyone knew what yoga was. A little boy, innocent as can be, said, “Yes! I have seen my parents do it and I have to knock from now on because they like to do it naked!”
64. Cooler Than Thou
My dad is a law enforcement officer and in first grade during a “my dad is cooler than your dad” argument, I told a few kids in class that my dad had been shot. We had so many bouquets and casseroles and letters of condolences delivered to our door that night. My dad thought it was hilarious and was stoked that my mom’s best friend brought over his favorite lasagna.
However, my mom wrote a big letter to my teacher the next morning saying that he was, in fact, very much alive.
65. An Almost Cliffhanger
In first grade, we had to make daily journal entries. I related a gem to my teacher through one such entry. I wrote, “We went to Orlando for a week. My mom was trying to light her smoke and almost drove our car over a cliff.” My teacher was pleased with my writing and wrote A++. My mom, however, was not as pleased.
66. Smashing It!
My youngest son had just started school and the teacher was asking what their parents did for work. My son said, “My dad breaks into houses and smashes them up.” The teacher then rang my wife to ask if everything at home was ok. They, then, told my wife about my son’s comment. I had to clarify that, “No, son, your dad works in demolition. That’s all.”
One year on and it still feels awkward going to his school.
67. A Wet Blanket
I was an elementary librarian, and I was telling the kids how they mustn’t get the books wet or take them in the bath, as the pages would get wrinkly and destroyed. One kid stood up and said, very sweetly, “My mom says she finally found a good lotion for wrinkles, maybe we could put that on the books?”
68. Skimming It
I had an eighth-grade student whose father ran for—and won—the local political office. It was either the city council or something like that, I don’t remember exactly. We were talking about elections in the class, and she raised her hand and mentioned that her dad won his recent election. The problem was, she kept going—and said too much.
She added the gem “and he was accused of something called embezzlement, but he didn’t do that, he only used campaign money to pay for stuff for our family.” I wanted to tell her that uh, that’s what embezzlement is, but I didn’t say that. I just gave her a generic “very interesting thanks for sharing” and quickly moved on.
69. Uncle’s Extended Stay
My sister works in a primary school in Wishaw, which is a pretty rough part of Scotland. Once, as usual after a weekend, she said to the children, “Good morning, children! How was everyone’s weekend?” A kid piped up, “Ma Uncle is staying wi us.” The teacher, of course, responded with something like, “Aw, that’s nice!” The kid wasn’t finished and completed their tidbit by saying, “Aye, he’s hidin fae the Polis!”
70. Wash It All Down
This kid in my class told everyone in the class that his dad dips his bacon in a glass of water during breakfast and calls it bacon water, and drinks it on most of the mornings. The kid was just talking up a storm even before he said this, and no one was really listening until then. However, then the whole class turned their heads and was like what?!!
This kid had NO idea that bacon water was not a staple of most people’s breakfasts. It was hands down the funniest moment of my teaching career.
71. What’s Mine Is Yours
My daughter’s kindergarten teacher told me about how one child entertained them at Show and Tell by being extra generous and welcoming. When it was their turn, they regaled the whole class with a complete report on the new alarm system in their house. This was a report, of course, including the code and where the keypad was located behind the curtains!
72. Striking Gold
A family friend of mine is a CEO of a fairly large company. His daughter was in the fake stock trading club at her school, and she bought a bunch of stock in his company. The teacher, not knowing that her dad owned the said company asked why she had bought those shares. So, she revealed to the teacher that they had plans to be bought out by a much bigger company in the field.
The Dad had to talk with the teacher after class and warned her that it would be insider trading if she acted on the words the daughter had said. Enough said.
73. Swings Galore
I had a child once playing on the tire swing. He was a very serious kid and he looked me straight in the eye and said how much he liked the swing at daycare. He went on to say how, when he grew up, he wanted to have a swing just like his mummy and daddy did in their bedroom. Looking his parents in the eye that day, telling them he had a good day, and keeping silent was difficult.
74. Excuse My Manners (Or Not)
I was in the eighth-grade science class. My teacher knew my mom as she was a teacher in the district too and was also in leadership roles throughout the years. My mom, being from the south, is quite proper when outside of our home. Anyway, one day I burped really loudly in class by accident and my teacher said, “What would your mother say?”
I replied, “Oh, it’s ok. We have burping contests at the dinner table.” My teacher laughed out loud, and must have told my mom at some point, because she later came to me and said she couldn’t believe I said that to her. Still a story we tell today, some thirty years later.
75. What’s For Dinner?
I had a student who would only eat fish and was bullied for it. It was not just fish. It was, in fact, the same type of fish made in different ways for three months. Then it was steak. Then it was pasta. It turns out that his dad worked security for a food distribution warehouse and was setting the trucks up to get robbed so he didn’t have to feed his kids.
76. Say Cheese!
I was the mom on a field trip to the police station with my adopted son. I was friends with the wife of the officer giving the tour. The kids were doing mugshots, and officer Bob was telling them about how he tried to get suspects to relax a bit when he took the photos so that they looked more natural. Kids, of course, ask questions.
My son asked, “Have you ever taken _________’s photo?” Officer Bob replied, “Yes, I’ve seen her a lot of times.” My son responded, “She’s my birth mom!” Officer Bob stammered a bit but managed to say that she was a very pleasant person to deal with.
77. Indoor Sunbathing
My partner worked in a kindergarten and a four-year-old boy told her one day that he had woken up late last night. Upon waking up, he went into the Television Room and he found that his mummy and daddy were laughing because he walked in when they had no clothes on and they were sunbathing in front of the fire.
78. Heavenly Delights
I teach culinary at the local vocational school—to both high school and adult groups—and we were talking about how tradition plays into food especially around the holidays. I asked for examples from my students and one of my high school girls proudly raised her hand and said, “Well, most people put angels or stars on top of their trees. We always use a Bud Light can.”
Not really what I was going for when I asked the students for examples, but good information.
79. No Sealed Lips
I texted a mom asking for a grade-card signature to be returned. She said to me that her daughter did not give it to her. I asked the student where her grade-card signature was, and she said that her mom said that she wasn’t going to sign it. Children rat their parents out unexpectedly all the time. Parents blame their kids a LOT!
80. Skeleton In The Cupboard
Once, an eighth-grader told me excitedly, “Mrs. Teacher, guess what I found out? My grandpa was a Nazi!” This may have been brand new information for the student going by her excitement. So, I asked her, “Do you know what a Nazi is?” She instantly replied that she did not, in fact, know what it meant.
So, I suggested to her, “Maybe you should go talk to your mom about that.” She must have taken my suggestion to her heart for she came in the next day and went, “Yeah, my mom told me I can’t tell people about my grandpa anymore.”
81. Massaging The Troubles Away
I had a seven-year-old student whose mother was a massage therapist. The student was happy to refer me to her. He, thus, gave me his mom’s business card and said, “She’s a massage therapist and could give you a nice massage. But she overcharges. Like she charges way too much because she likes to buy expensive things.”
82. Flying News
I was a kindergarten room mom and during the “what did you do over the summer” sharing, a little girl told the class the most horrifying story I’ve ever heard. She talked about how on her trip to Hawaii, her dad had ridden a motorcycle and lost control, and it went over a cliff and he didn’t make it. At pick-up time the teacher quietly said to the mom, “I’m so sorry about your husband.”
The mom simply rolled her eyes up to the heavens and said, “Oh geesh. What has she been saying?” It turns out that her husband was perfectly fine, and they hadn’t even left the town over the summer.
83. Unexpectedly Real Role Models
When I was in fourth grade, we each had a role model come into the class. I brought in a friend of my dad’s. When my teacher asked how we knew each other, I happily stated, “My dad and him met in AA!”
84. Spelling Bee
I teach preschool. One day my kids were pretending to have a restaurant and were ‘writing,’ aka scribbling, each other’s orders. One older kid was actually learning to write and would ask me how to spell food items. He came up to me and said, “How do you spell whiskey?” I asked him why he wanted to spell that. He told me, “That’s my dad’s favorite drink!”
I told his mom because I thought it was funny, but unfortunately, this fact was related to why she and dad weren’t together anymore.
85. Getting Warmer
I once had a student who explained to me that all his neighbors were mad at his dad. I asked him why this was the case. The kid went on to clarify the cause by telling me that his dad had started a fire for insurance money and, thus, lit the whole carport on fire. Many cars were lit on fire that night. No wonder, his neighbors were feeling fiery.
I had a little girl tell me every day for like a month that her mommy had a baby in her tummy. I knew that her mom didn’t want more kids for the time being, so we laughed about it all the time. Then, one day, the little girl’s mom comes to pick her up and I’m like oh man, your daughter was talking about the ‘new baby’ again!
That’s when the mom tells me that she actually took a test the day before and it was positive!
87. Free Jollies
The kids in class were talking about how expensive the local theme park was to get into. One of the kids said that his dad had shown him how to go through the stormwater drains to get in for free. He then said that it’s OK, because his dad said it wasn’t wrong to do so. So, the whole class should go there for free some time.
88. Wise Beyond Her Years
I am a bus driver and E started riding my bus in January. She noticed that I was knitting a glove on my dashboard and asked who it was for. I told her it was for my daughter, Lucy. She asked if Lucy had any brothers or sisters. So, I told E that Lucy was going to have a little brother, but he didn’t make it. What E said next surprised me with her maturity.
Having heard me, E went on to tell me, “That happened to my mom too. It was really hard on her.” That was maybe the most mature conversation I’ve had with anyone in 2021. I came to find out later that E is a mere nine years old. On a seemingly completely unrelated note, she went on to tell me how mac and cheese is her favorite food.
89. Bigger Things On The Mind
I worked at a summer daycare when I was 18. I asked a 7-year-old child why her mom didn’t pack her lunch like she did every day. I thought that maybe the mom was out of town and the dad had forgotten. She replied, “My mom had surgery on her breasts to make them bigger and she forgets a lot of things.” She even pointed at the area in question in case I didn’t know what she was talking about. I was speechless.
90. Picturing It
During my sophomore year of high school, I spent my study hall in the first-grade classroom to help out. And, one day for show and tell, a kid brought in a picture of her mom and uncle. This picture was a very…romantic picture and but was also wrinkled so it looked like it was, at least somewhat, hidden away. Now, this picture was also somewhat recent.
It turns out that the kid had found a picture of her mom’s affair. Her mom was wearing lingerie while her uncle was in his underwear. The teacher realized this and kept the picture hidden from the dad until the mom could pick it up.
91. A Doughy Story
I was teaching the first grade in Central America and in the lunch line, one of the boys saw me pay with what looked like a lot of cash. He looked up at me and said, “My dad has a lot of cash too. He keeps it in boxes in his closet.” I actually had a decent relationship with his dad and told him about the comment. He just looked at me with a smile and called it go money.
92. Same Romance, A Different Box
As a room mom for school parties one of my favorites was a Valentine’s party of second graders. They all made a Valentine box at their homes for the other kids to drop their valentines into. One kid’s was obviously a repurposed case of drinks. She was happy to point this out when it was her turn to describe it. Two kids later, the girl mentions that her box isn’t a drink box.
It is, in fact, the box from her mom’s “massager.” I still crack up thinking of that moment.
93. Playing With Fire
On a class field trip to the fire department, I once had a chronic blurter patiently raise her hand as the fireman went around and answered questions. While pointing at the fire pole, she shared with the entire group, including several parent volunteers, that her “Mommy and daddy have one of those in their bedroom.” She followed it up with the reassurance that she “isn’t allowed to play on it.”
94. Instant Fame
I was 21. I had just finished my teaching degree a few months earlier and I was relief teaching for the first time. A kid in the class that I was teaching told me that his brother had been on TV the night before. I was really impressed and asked him which TV show his brother was in and he said that he was in Police 10/7.
His brother had been trying to escape the authorities and had been in a car chase.
95. Feeling Bubbly
I taught the son of a 2nd-grade teacher. He came in one weekend talking about drinking lots of “kid beer” over the weekend at his dad’s house. I had to mention it to his mother, of course. So, when his mom stopped by later and I mentioned the story to her. She simply shook her head and said, “It’s apple juice, I keep telling his dad to stop calling it kid beer!”
96. Moving Houses
Last year, I had a quiet girl do a free write about moving to our school in which she described her parents and their best friends living nearby, then building houses in the same neighborhood. Bear in mind that my school is in a constantly growing suburb. Then she described how her mom moved into the best friend’s house next door and the wife moved in with her dad.
Yep, they swapped spouses, in neighboring houses.
We were talking about calling for help and what a real emergency is. This is tricky with 10-year-olds because you want to use real emergency examples but not freak them out either. One kid came up with a good question when she asked, “So, if your mom gives birth in the kitchen, that’s an emergency, right?” Sure enough, mom picked him up with his baby brother who was born last week in their kitchen.
98. Middle School Stalker
I had two students approach me after school. I was outside monitoring the kids leaving the building to walk home, and these two boys walked up and started telling me how cute I was as a baby. Being middle schoolers, I didn’t take it super seriously at first, but asked what they were talking about. One of them showed me one of my baby pictures on his phone and proceeded to tell me my address and (at the time) fiancé’s name. It scared the living daylights out of me.
The assistant principal was nearby, so I called him over and had them repeat what they’d said. The information they had was not readily available with a quick Google search and I still don’t know how they got it. One of the boys’ fathers was a known higher up in a local gang, so I was totally freaked out. The school took the stance of “kids will be curious” and “it isn’t a big deal.”
I learned that I was well within my rights to press charges, but within 30 minutes of the conversation, the assistant superintendent was at my classroom door, informing me of how “bad” it would look on my evaluation and for potential future jobs if I pursued anything. I no longer work there, but I have never been more disturbed or scared.
99. Finding Family
An 11th grader was talking about how he moved back with his grandparents when his mom passed away. He mentioned that his mom had also attended this school and so had his dad, but he had never met him. He only knew his dad’s first name. So, he said the name in my “get to know other students first-day icebreaker.” This is where it gets crazy. A freshman girl asked a few pointed questions, pulled out her phone, and called her dad.
The dad was there within 15 minutes. It turned out that the late mom’s family moved mom out of the city to hide the pregnancy and the dad only knew the child’s first name. The mom and dad had only been high school students at the time. Mom moved from a downtown major northern city to Alabama or Louisiana to be with her grandfather. The baby boy got the maternal grandfather’s name.
The dad did not have the money or the resources to track down the mom’s movement. This would be in the pager/cassette days and not during the years of cell phones and Facebook. The dad spent years trying unsuccessfully to track his kid and the kid’s mom down. He, later, settled down, became an EMT, got married, and had three daughters.
Among the three daughters, the oldest daughter was the previously mentioned freshman. There was a GD family reunion in my icebreaker on the first day of school.
100. Silly Rabbit, Tricks Are For Kids
I was 15 or 16 and teaching the 2- and 3-year-olds at church. It was Easter, and one little boy comes in crying up a storm. Nothing that my friend and I do can console him. About halfway through he stops and just sniffles. At the end when the parents come and pick them up, he sees his dad and starts crying again, telling his dad that he doesn’t want anything to do with him.
His mom comes and gets him, and my friend and I tell her about her son. She was trying SO HARD not to laugh and told us why. The boy’s dad hit a rabbit on the way to church this morning, and the boy started to cry, thinking it was the Easter Bunny.
101. When Toys Aren’t For Kids
We were talking about the difference between men and women, men have penises and women don’t, blah blah blah. That one boy goes “My mum has a boy part too,” and we are going “Oh no sweetie she doesn’t,” but he insists, and it starts becoming uncomfortable. After a while he says, “My mum HAS one, only it is not attached to her body, she keeps it in the drawer by the bed.” Kid-logic is so precious.