Teachers Get Schooled

March 29, 2023 | Kayla Sousa

Teachers Get Schooled

We all have those memories of a very brave—or perhaps less that astute—classmate who said something that gave us all a good belly laugh. But how often do those moments make educators howl? Well, these teachers took to Reddit to recall some of their most funny and shocking moments with their students over the years.

1. Justifiable Excuses

I once had a student who never brought in her homework. She always had a different excuse. But one day, she outdid herself. By far, my favorite was when she told me that the ghost that haunts her tore up her paper overnight, so she needed a new copy. At least it was way better than the tired old "dog ate my homework" line.


2. Hard Economic Lessons

One day, I was teaching a lesson on probability by having the class flip plastic coins. The coins often kept getting lost on the floor. At one point, a student found a plastic coin on the ground. They then held it up in the air and yelled out at me, "Hey! I found half your salary". It hurt, but I also couldn’t help but laugh.

Student CommentsPxhere

3. Home Sweet Home

I was working as an aide in an elementary school classroom. Our sixth graders did a monthly news broadcast for the school, which consisted of segments covering current events and announcements. While they were working on it one afternoon, the subject of Las Vegas came up. I couldn't believe what one student accidentally confessed.

One of the kids spoke up and said, "I've been there! Well, not since I was born. That's where I was made".

Student CommentsPexels

4. Family Ties

I teach high school drama and have kids do this little introduction at the start of a new semester where they bring in objects that represent different aspects of their lives. This past year, one student brought in a tiny urn. During show and tell, she explained, "This is my grandma, and she was really important to me".

I can't remember her full speech, but it was brilliant. She was still presenting when the principal walked in. For God knows what reason, he asked if he could hold the urn and "meet" grandma. The child replied, "I mean sure. She's gone so it's not like she's going to bite you".

Student CommentsPxhere

5. A Very Direct Watchman

I teach seventh and eighth grades. One day, we took a field trip on the city streetcar and one girl kept hopping on and off for a second in between stops. I told her to stop, and she replied by telling me that it was just a trend going around on TikTok. Then—with no remorse—this very anxious student chimed in just to say, "So is your mom…now stay on the streetcar so we don’t leave you behind". I openly just started cackling.

Student CommentsWikimedia Commons

6. Strong Sense Of Smell

I used to tutor some third graders in New Orleans. One time, we were reading a book about reptiles, and how one particular reptile can smell its food from miles away. I asked a student if he could smell his food from miles away and he said, "I can smell Popeyes all the way from Los Angeles".

Student CommentsWikimedia Commons

7. Prehistoric Friendships

During my time working as a kindergarten teacher, I tried really hard to connect with this young girl who would barely speak to me. One day, I asked her what she liked to do in her spare time. I got no answer, so I told her that when I was a child around her age, I really liked dinosaurs.

"Of course you did", she said. In return, I asked why she said that. And then she replied, "You're as big as a dinosaur". In her defense, I am quite a big guy.

Student CommentsPexels

8. Two Can Play That Game

One of the kids I was teaching got in trouble for putting his hands on another student. As a punishment, I had him sit next to me afterward since he couldn't play nice with others. While talking to him about his behavior, I was also putting lotion on one of the girls in the class with really bad eczema.

At the end of our chat, he told me that he wanted to go apologize to the student he was touching. But this is where I got owned. Before I could send him over to that student, the girl I was putting lotion on interjected, "Now say sorry to me" in the same "teacher voice" that I was using to talk to the boy.

Student CommentsPexels

9. Easy Safety Plan

I don’t work as a teacher, but I am a tutor at an after-school program. One day, out of nowhere, a girl of about seven years old said in the happiest voice ever, "You know how they say if someone is trying to kidnap you, they’ll say that they’re your dad’s friend or something? Well, joke is on them; I don’t have a dad!" At least she saw a silver lining.

Student CommentsPexels

10. Different Perspectives

While teaching basic algebra, a student was really struggling to follow the basic steps and kept getting all his answers wrong. After some talking and arguing, he said, "You know, why don't you keep your answer—and I'll keep my answer and we can agree to disagree? Then we are both right". I appreciated his optimism, but math doesn't work like that.

Student CommentsWikimedia Commons

11. A Paying Customer

Adjunct professor, here. I have a running gag I took from a friend. Whenever a student would ask: "Can I ask a question?" I'd respond jokingly with a "five-dollar charge". I then crack jokes about how it goes to a good cause—either spinners for my wheelchair or a backup camera for the chair to protect toes and backpacks left on the floor. One day, this kid catches me totally off guard.

Faster than I can stop him, he whips out his wallet, slams a $20 down, and with the most serious expression says, "I've got a lot of questions".

Student CommentsPexels

12. Honesty Is The Best Policy

About four years ago, we had a fire drill at school to practice our safety measures. Once we went back inside the school, a student raised his hand in class and asked, "If lying is bad, then why are you lying?" I responded by asking him what he meant by his question. He replied, "The fire alarm is fake—that’s lying".

Student CommentsWikimedia Commons

13. Superfood Gains

I work in a preschool, and I asked this little boy if he’s stronger than his favorite superhero, Captain America. He said yes and showed me his muscles. "Wow", I said. "It’s from all that exercising and playing with your friends". And he says, "Yes, and I like pickles". Then he just ran away.

Student CommentsPexels

14. Easy Mistake

I was returning tests of the state capitals to my fourth graders. Only one student—known for doing perfect work—had gotten all of the answers correct. As a reward, I put a little sticker that said "stupendous" on his paper. It didn't go the way I wanted it: Another student saw the sticker and announced very loudly to the whole class that it said "stupidest". But it wasn't over yet.

The perfect student retorted, "You really need to learn to read, Karen".

Student CommentsPexels

15. Superhuman

I was talking about the carbon cycle and mentioned that maybe some of the carbon atoms in them might have been in a dinosaur. One of my students was in utter shock about this. We then spent the better part of 20 minutes figuring out what kind of "dinosaur energy" we all collectively had.

This was a tenth-grade honors biology class towards the end of the year…safe to say, all of our brains were definitely melting.

Student CommentsWikimedia Commons

16. Like A Wind-Up Doll

I’m currently working as a preschool practitioner. At the moment, I'm completing voluntary work until I can get permanent work in a school. The children are aware that adults have homes and leave the school. Nonetheless, one day I was getting ready to go home after the day had ended.

A child with a parent on their way looked up at me and said, "Where are you going? You can't leave". Yes, this particular child thought I should sleep in the preschool because that's where they saw me the most.

Student CommentsPexels

17. Express Yourself

I showed my students a science clip with Great White sharks jumping out of the water; they were the ones off the coast of South Africa. During the clip, a kid sitting next to the principal—who was evaluating me—cursed loudly while commenting on the sharks’ ability to jump.

The principal said that he was correct but reminded him that we don't use that language at school. So, the kid came up with a bizarre solution. He repeated everything he just said in Spanish, curse word included. We didn't have the heart to give him a consequence for weirdly misunderstanding the principal's directive.

Student CommentsPxhere

18. Sounds Like Drama

I once had a very quirky nine-year-old student. On one particularly interesting day, I saw him in the corner just talking to himself. I went over to him and asked, "Hey… are you talking by yourself?" He told me he was not. Then I asked, "Is it an imaginary friend then?" To which he replied, "He's not my friend".

Student CommentsPexels

19. True Pals

During my teacher training program, I had to teach a basic gym lesson. It was my responsibility to play a short game to end the class with, as a way of keeping the kids happy. So, for the game I prepared, I asked every student to pair up with a friend. I put different objects down and I would yell an object out, and whoever would get to it first would win and compete with the other winners—and so on until there was only one player left.

The last two kids were these two young boys that were apparently really close friends. When I told them to grab the tennis ball, they literally just looked at each other and then one of them said: "You should win because you are probably not going to pass this semester, and I want you to feel good at the end of the year because you sucked all year round".

Student CommentsWikimedia Commons

20. Everyone Loves The Smurfs

I asked my class to make lava lamps by layering food coloring, water, and oil, and then dropping in an alka seltzer tablet to watch the bubbles. I told them to only use half a tablet at a time because the liquid would bubble out of the flasks otherwise. Yet, a very smart and curious group of girls decided to use a couple of whole tablets instead.

I immediately reached over and grabbed the flask, covering the top with my hand so it wouldn’t explode all over them. In any case, it seeped out around my hand and onto the floor. Needless to say, my hand was totally stained blue because of the food coloring.

The next class then came in and while trying to explain why my hand was blue, a young boy asked if I had been intimate with a smurf. We all had a good laugh, and he accepted my detention form proudly. He told me it was well worth it.

Student CommentsPxhere

21. The Best Things In Life Are Free

This one girl in my pre-school program always bragged about having everything at home. We were painting? She had paints at home. We were writing? She had pencils and paper at home. Playing with her friends? She had all of the best toys at home. Granted, her parents were indeed pretty affluent, and it was likely that she actually had all these things at home, but her bragging started to get old pretty quickly.

One day, we were all listening to music, and I jokingly asked the students if they could hear that guitar. I encouraged them to "make an air guitar", and I showed them what I meant by demonstrating. They all enjoyed it and were having a really fun time. It also led to one of the most hilarious moment of my life.

Suddenly from the back of the room, I hear this little girl go: "Miss! I have an air guitar at home".

Student CommentsPexels

22. Inquiring Minds Want To Know

I teach students between grades six to nine, and I am currently very pregnant. When I was just finishing up my second trimester, one of my eighth-grade students asked me what would happen if I were to "eat another baby". I explained to her that her question didn't make any sense.

I told her that I didn't eat THIS baby, let alone have plans to eat ANOTHER one. She looked a little confused and said that she knew that, but still insisted on knowing what would happen if I ate a baby. From there, I tactfully explained the basics of reproduction.

Student CommentsPexels

23. An Ensemble Act

My brother-in-law relayed this one to me. He was part of a group of teachers talking to an assembly of high schoolers about school safety. During his talk, he told a tale about how he had once found a student who had come to school with a gun. Apparently, the student’s friend had seen it and told that teacher about it; afterward, the teacher confronted him.

Recalling the story, my brother-in-law said, "I asked him for the gun, and he nodded and opened the bag and reached in and it was loaded and ready". He sort of mimed pulling out the thing with his finger and then pretended to move it in his front waistband.

"And I put the safety on and stuck it in my waistband and…" A kid in the back then timed it perfectly. "BAM! UGH! I shot one off". According to my brother-in-law, nobody could keep a straight face after that, and it all devolved into laughter from both students and teachers.

Student CommentsFlickr, ESA_events

24. Silence Is Golden

Earlier this year, during Morning Meeting—an activity where students greet each other, share things, and talk—I was looking to my direct left at the student who was talking. When he was done, I looked up and at least half of my first graders were being "mimes in a box". I just totally lost it then and there.

I was laughing so hard that I snorted, and my face got all red. The kids also lost it; it was really hard to get them back to focusing on anything else that day.

Student CommentsWikimedia Commons

25. Everyone Needs A Matchmaker

I had been a student teacher for one day. I walked into my second-grade class and was greeted by my mentor teacher; we'll call her "Miss Jones". As it just so happens, Miss Jones is pretty young. No more than a couple of years older than me. She's pretty and a really nice person.

Anyway, this cute little girl came up to me, shook my hand and went, "Hi. My name is Jackie. I'm seven years old. What's your name?" I told her my name, and she said with the utmost confidence, "Nice to meet you! You're pretty. Miss Jones is also pretty—and she's lonely".

She then looked right over at Miss Jones and pointed at her. I busted up laughing and looked over at Miss Jones, too. She was all red in the face with her hand on her forehead. We both had a good laugh at that one after class.

Student CommentsPexels

26. A Formal Request

I teach English in Japan and make my students ask in English when they need a bathroom break from class. One girl broke the rule and asked me in Japanese. So, I politely reminded her that she should try to ask in English. She goes: "I want to go to the bathroom", which was fine, but I was hoping she would use "I would like" or even "can I", so I tell her in Japanese to try and be a bit more formal. This ended up backfiring one me.

She thought for a moment and said, "Shall we go the bathroom?" The whole thing took about 30 seconds, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Then I explained to her that I love my job and was hoping to keep it a bit longer. Obviously, I let her go to the bathroom—alone.

Student CommentsPexels

27. Hydration Patrol

One day—while I was running on basically caffeine and dreams—a kid came up to me and started asking about all of my travel cups. He asked me first about what I was currently drinking. I told him I was having some coffee with hazelnut creamer. Then he asked, "What’s in that other one?"

I told him that it was empty, but it’s what I drank my morning coffee out of on the drive in here. Then he asked me about the tall cup. I proceeded to tell him that was for my home-made iced coffee for staff meetings after the students leave. From there, he asked me what the blue cup was for.

I told him that it was for my sweet tea. His reply was perfect. Finally, he yelled out, "WOMAN, DRINK SOME WATER!"

Student CommentsPexels

28. Fame Starts Early

I'm currently teaching fourth graders and one of them—let’s call him Jim—needs a little more help with his reading. Thankfully, there is an elderly woman who visits our school and practices reading with struggling students. This is part of a bigger program at the school, and a local newspaper once wrote an article about this initiative.

This newspaper article was cut out and pinned on our blackboard in the foyer. So, one day I went to start my lesson and after noticing Jim’s absence, asked the class where Jim was. Another child—we’ll call him Michael—calls out from the last row, "I don’t know. But the last time I saw him, he was in the newspaper".

Student CommentsPexels

29. Not How That Works

I work as a music teacher and last week, I taught a lesson on our instrument families’ unit. One of my third graders told me that his dad said wind instruments are bad for your health because they take away all of your oxygen. Usually, I'm very diplomatic when I hear a student repeat something wrong a parent said to them, but this time I said, "Your dad is very wrong and doesn't know how instruments work". I just couldn’t hold back.

Student CommentsFlickr, Alliance for Excellent Education

30. Just A Hypothesis

Once, a fellow teacher was telling my class about communicable diseases and began talking about ringworm. My colleague asked the class to guess how they wound up contracting it. With absolutely zero hesitation, one kiddo in the room guessed: "Because you don’t take care of yourself?"

Student CommentsPexels

31. It’s A Math Mystery

I am a primary school teacher and on one of my math tests, there was a question that prompted students to "write a subtraction story problem". One child's response made my blood run cold: "I have 14 people in my hunting club. When we went hunting, six got mauled by a bear. How many are still left in my club?"

Student CommentsPxhere

32. Big Dreams

I teach special education in an inner-city school, and one of my students had to respond to the question: "What would you do if you had a million dollars?" His reply was, "I would buy a crimson mansion and a crimson Cadillac, and I would drive down the street going ‘heeeeyyyy ladies, wanna ride’?" Yes, and he actually spelled out "heeeeyyyy" like that.

Student CommentsFlickr, cultivar413

33. In This Together

During my very first year of teaching, I taught first grade. It was around the holidays, so we made Christmas oobleck, which is made from corn starch and water with red food coloring. I didn’t realize it would dye our hands red though, so off to the bathroom we all went.

One of my girls beckoned me over and, looking at my hands, asked, "Teacher…have you ever killed anyone?" before I could say anything, she goes, "It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone", and gives me a conspiratorial smile. Thanks for keeping my lack of secrets, kiddo!

Student CommentsPexels

34. So Close

I taught at a small community college and one student just looked like a Travis to me. His real name was not Travis, nor did I have a Travis in ANY of my classes that I could possibly mistake him for. Despite this, I kept calling him Travis.

He was a good-natured student and after obviously struggling for a good three weeks to call him by his actual name, I called on him—confident that I finally got his name right.  He didn't respond, so I called on him again. There was a long pause. Then oh boy, he got me.

Finally, he said, "Don't you mean Travis?" The class busted up and I couldn't stop laughing because it was on the tip of my tongue.

Student CommentsPexels

35. Seeing Double

When I was a preschool teacher, my sister also came to work at the very same preschool. We look quite similar and one three-year-old told me that the new teacher took my face. I was in hysterics after that.

Student CommentsPexels

36. Like A Cat

While teaching in a preschool setting, I asked the children to talk about their grandparents over lunch. One girl told me with a smiling face, "my grandma died once". There was just one problem. Her grandmother, who was very much alive, worked in the kindergarten. And as I far as I knew, that was her only grandmother.

After my colleague called her out on this, she clarified: "She died once in the past but now she’s not doing it anymore". Makes perfect sense.

Student CommentsFlickr, Global Partnership for Education

37. Self-Reflection Matters

Over the last two days of school, I was helping out at lunch. Mostly, I had to keep an eye on the crazy middle school kids. While supervising, I saw one of my kids sitting by the office door looking a bit sad. I asked the student if everything was okay. She told me that she was in trouble.

Naturally, I said I was sorry to hear that and asked her what happened. She then said, "I yelled at Cassie". I asked her why and she just looked very puzzled and said, "I don't know, I’m trying to figure it out". She paused as she continued to look serious while pondering and then said, "Sometimes I just need some quiet".

Student CommentsPexels

38. Insider Information

During circle time, I had all my little ones answering questions about their parents. I ask these as an exercise for public safety to make sure they know their parents’ names, where they work, etc. Still, the kids just think it’s a fun activity. Anyway, I asked the kids what their parents did for work.

One child tells me their parent is a "fireman", another says "police officer", the next says "engineer", some have no idea…then I get to one of the last little ones and he says in the most innocent, excited voice you can ever imagine, "My dad is in jail".

Unfortunately, the shock factor still got the best of me, and my co-worker had to take over the rest of circle time.

Student CommentsFlickr, Joe Shlabotnik

39. That’s Not Right

A few years ago, when I was teaching high school, I plugged in my laptop into a projector and the login screen popped up. Without thinking twice about it, I typed in my password and hit the enter button. This was a rookie mistake. One of the students yelled out from the back of the room, "Ha! Now I know your password!"

Student CommentsWikimedia Commons

40. Making Lance Armstrong Proud

Not a teacher, but I remember this very funny moment back when I was in high school. We were starting the topic of the French Revolution and as an introduction—without yet having revealed the topic—our history teacher asked us what historical events we knew about that have happened in France. This one girl confidently raised her hand and said, "the tour de France".

I still think about that a lot and chuckle to myself.

Student CommentsFlickr, Alliance for Excellent Education

41. Future Planning

Context is important here: I'm a male high school teacher. One day, I was sitting at the front of the class while the kids were working on a worksheet, and I was just kind of chatting with them. These three girls were talking among themselves. One of the girls turned to me very excitedly and said, "Oh my God! You can have our kids".

Everyone turned their heads and got wide-eyed. I sat there quietly not knowing how to respond. It got so much worse. She immediately got red and followed with, "nN, I mean...when we get older, you can have our kids". At this point everyone was still very weirded out.

Then her friend gets involved and explains that when they grow up and have kids, I might have their children as my students one day. They were talking about older teachers at the school that their own parents had and now they had, too. I was very relieved. The first girl apologized and stayed pretty quiet the rest of class.

Student CommentsPexels

42. Getting Defensive

I was telling my high school students about a movie I liked when I was their age. A student asked me if the movie was from back the 1900s. I had to catch my breath and then explain that yes, it was—but it wasn’t black and white or anything. I have never felt so old.

Student CommentsFlickr, Asian Development Bank

43. Missing The Mark

I was teaching business English in Germany to East Germans after the fall of the Berlin wall. After the class had concluded, I was invited to the conference my students had been preparing for. It was then I realized I had failed my students. One of my students walked up to a keynote speaker after his presentation and said, "Hi, I'm interesting".

He meant to say that he was interested in hearing more. But yeah, that is definitely not what he said.

Student CommentsFlickr, American Institute in Taiwan

44. Understanding Hazard Pay

Once, a seventh grader asked me if I ever watched Jurassic Park. I told him yes. He went on, "I know actors get paid a lot of money, but aren't they afraid of getting eaten?" Then, I had to explain what special effects were to him. I appreciated that the wheels were spinning after that, but what struck me as funny was that I had been taking special effects completely for granted my whole life. Won’t be doing that again!

Student CommentsFlickr, Michael Garnett

45. Off-Topic

I’m a student teacher and the first time I taught a lesson in my class, I asked if anyone had any questions about me being in college and what that was like. One student raised his hand and asked if I happened to be related to his teacher, and if me being here was nepotism. No relationship to what I asked; he was just suspicious.

Student CommentsPexels

46. Ya Got Played, Son

There was this grade nine student during a math quiz. She wasn’t exactly interested in doing the quiz, but she was a brilliant artist. Anyway, it was about three-quarters through the period, and she hadn’t done much—enough for me to accept the quiz and mark it, but not much else.

She had her sketch pad out and was drawing her usual creative images. We had discussed them in-depth, where she got her inspiration from, why she enjoyed it, and what she did with the artwork when she was finished. Feeling defeated and wanting to connect, I sat across from her desk and asked her to do a portrait of me.

She agreed. She spent the next 10 minutes adjusting the page, making light impressions, turning my face different angles, erasing and redrawing. She finally finished with, "Okay, I’m done". I was excited to see the results, something I could frame and be proud of. I figured I would have a real nice story to tell future generations. I was very, very wrong.

She turned the page over and had drawn the most basic stick figure you could ever imagine. She did all of this with a straight face, and only cracked a small smile afterward.

Student CommentsPexels

47. Clowns Strike Early

I was tutoring one student and we were reading a story about a little boy taking pictures of birds. At the end of the story, the boy goes to school to start his day there. My student immediately got super confused and asked, "Wait... how did he take pictures BEFORE school?"

I said, "Well, I guess he got up extra early!" That response just seemed to upset my student more. I soon realized the bizarre truth. She got this panicked look on her face and said, "But…but...at that time of day, every house is haunted by a scary clown, and he could get eaten".

I just stared at her for a second and said, "maybe it was a half day". She accepted that answer and seemed satisfied; but I still have questions that are lingering.

Student CommentsFlickr, Spider.Dog

48. A Case Of The Blues

I substitute teach middle schoolers. I’m there a lot and have gotten to know the kids pretty well. One student asked me pretty much out of the blue, "Are you on anti-depressants?" After thinking about it for a moment, I decided I should be honest and I told her that I was indeed.  She replied simply with "Yeah, you seem sad". Great roast.

Student CommentsFlickr, Africa Renewal

49. Literally Clueless

My dad once had a student who he was sure was cheating. More than that, he also knew who he was cheating off, too. So, the day before a test, my dad told the smart kid that he would get an "A" on the test, but he had to first write down whatever random answers he felt like so that my father could catch the cheater.

The test day came and the smart kid decided to write "I don’t know" for one of the answers. The results were glorious. The kid cheating off him then wrote down: "I don’t know either". The mystery was solved.

Student CommentsPexels

50. Life Isn’t Fair

I once told a pretty distractable student that I wanted her to listen carefully to the instructions for an upcoming assignment. To this day, her reply haunts me. She simply replied, "Well, we don’t always get what we want". That was cold.

Student CommentsPexels

Sources: Reddit,

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