Teachers Share Stories of Students Who Are So Dumb It’s Scary

October 17, 2023 | Phillip Hamilton

Teachers Share Stories of Students Who Are So Dumb It’s Scary

It’s hard to learn, but it’s probably just as hard to teach. We all have stories of crazy or straight-up bad teachers we’ve had to suffer through, but on the other hand, all teachers have stories of students that are just, well, dumb. These teachers vented about some of the dumbest students they’ve ever had, and the stories are equally hilarious and painful to read. If you’ve ever thought you were a bad student, you might find solace in comparing yourself to these poor individuals. Here are 43 stores of students who are so dumb, it’s scary.

1. Photo-Copying You

I'm not a professor, but I did grade exams, homework (mainly worksheets), and some papers for a few professors back in college. Hands down, the dumbest student I ever saw was one who turned in a photocopy of his friend's homework. Yes, a straight-up, minimally edited Xerox. He had made the tiiiiiiiniest effort to trace over the first few answers in pen but had stopped well before the end of the first page. Of a five-plus page worksheet.

The best part was that his friend's name was still clearly visible on the first page of the worksheet. This guy hadn't even bothered to obscure it. He just put a SINGLE LINE through it and wrote his own name next to it.

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2. Just Mermaiding

I worked as a substitute for a while. The first question the kids always asked me was why their teacher wasn't there. They never tell the substitutes this, but they expected that I would know. So, I'd just start making stuff up and the kids would totally fall for about anything. I had a high school class get very upset that their English teacher didn't tell them she was going to space camp.

I also had a habit of telling the elementary kids that their teacher had to go to the ocean because they were really a mermaid and needed to go to the ocean regularly or they wouldn’t be able to change back. They always thought that was a good reason to be absent.

Worst Teachers factsShutterstock

3. The Government Incinerator

In my senior year of high school, I was in a personal finances class. The teacher explained that not paying your taxes could get you incarcerated. Student: "So if you don't pay your taxes, the government will light you on fire?!" Teacher: "No, incarcerated means to imprison. You're thinking of incinerated." Student: "Oh. Wait, then what's taxidermy?"

Booing Me FactsShutterstock

4. I Don’t Do Lines

I teach fifth grade. I had to explain walking in line to a student. He would never walk in line correctly. Finally, after correcting him for the 1,000th time, he snapped. "What do you mean? What do you mean get in line? What's the line? Why do teachers always say that?" It never occurred to me he didn't understand after being in school for years. He was the best though. One of my favorites.

Dumb Students FactsShutterstock

5. The Mystery of Africa

A student in my economics class started his final essay with this: “We are all familiar with the country, Africa. Yet at the same time we know little about them. All we know is that it is hot there, African Americans live there, and they are really poor. This begs the question, why is Africa that poor?” It was just so jam-packed with stupid I had to stop grading for 24 hours.

For the record, this was indeed a college student.

Dumb Students FactsShutterstock

6. Lego Buffalo

My wife is a teacher, and this is my favorite story of hers. They were discussing how native Americans relied on hunting buffalo and used all parts of it for food, clothing, shelter, etc. In reference to how they used the buffalo for shelter, one student asked the dumbest question I have ever heart. He said, "So do they stack the buffalo on top of each other?"

Scariest Moments factsPixabay

7. Explosively Hot

I had a classmate put a thermometer into the middle of a Bunsen burner to "see how hot the fire was." As glass and mercury promptly exploded everywhere, I'm pretty sure that I saw the teacher’s soul leave her body. I literally never saw her look so horrified or angry before. For the record, the classmate and I were 12, so he definitely should have known better.

Lillian Gish FactsShutterstock

8. Never Admit Defeat

When I was teaching, I had one student who was JUST on the verge of passing (thanks to the incredible mercy of the primary teacher). All he needed to do was turn in a worksheet that he finished in class. I know that he finished it because I watched him and helped him do it. All he had to do was give it to the teacher. But, in his mind, that would mean that she had won.

So he refused to turn it in. I left the school before the end of the semester, but I would bet money that he failed the class.

Bad Guy factsShutterstock

9. Cheat Better

As a GA teaching freshman English, I had a couple of instances of cheating that left me speechless. First, my university uses an online plagiarism checker and the students know this. With one student, over half of his essay was copied from a website. He looked genuinely shocked when I called him out on it, and then told me that his mother wrote the paper for him.

I explained that his mother writing his paper was also cheating. Then he asked me something that made my jaw drop. He wanted to get credit for the half that wasn't from a website. Another time, the students had to analyze a movie showing how it used the Hero's Journey as plot structure. This was an easy assignment seeing as how nearly every modern movie uses this structure.

The student copied the Wikipedia summary of Aladdin word for word, and he denied doing it. He argued it was a coincidence that his entire essay was the exact same as Wikipedia.

Aphra Behn factsShutterstock

10. 14 Is Everything

I had a little boy (first grade) who always got 14 as his answer to every problem no matter what. On the second day of school, I sat down to do 3+2 with him using counters. We set out a pile of three and a pile of two. I told him to count and watched in horror as he pushed the counters into a line and then counted back and forth and back and forth re-counting them until he got to 14. That was the biggest number he knew, otherwise he would have just kept going on.

Dumb Students FactsPublic Domain Pictures

11. I’ll Sue!

A student once threatened to sue me over the definition of the terms necessary and sufficient that he had mixed up in an exam. No biggie to mix them up (actually, for a math major it might be), but loudly threatening to sue me over an age-old textbook definition in an exam review session was kind of stupid. It did entertain all other students who were present.

Another student once requested letters of recommendation for five of the top 10 master’s programs in Europe while being the second-worst in his class of several hundred graduates.

Dumb Students FactsShutterstock

12. On the Left-Hand Side

Taught English/Literature in a Juvenile Justice long term treatment facility. I have many great stories.

Me: This is a map of the United States. Here is the Mid-West, where your math teacher is from.

Student: Oh snap. We're in conflict with them.

Me: Are you thinking about the Middle East?

Student: Oh yeah, is that a different place?

But there's more:

Me: (Playing a trivia game with students) Johannes Gutenberg invented what?

Student: (Shoots his hand up in the air quickly before I even finished the question and very sure of his answer) Cheese!

And my personal favorite:

Student: (Reading the three little pigs out loud) And the big bad wolf huffed, and he puffed...and he passed it around.

Me: I've never heard of that version of the story before, Mr. Student.

Student: You wouldn't, it's the hood version.

Dumb Students FactsShutterstock

13. Clear for Landing

I’m a flight instructor. Had a student who really wasn’t cut out for flying. Before each lesson his job was to do a preflight on the airplane and make sure everything was working. One of the items you check during the preflight are the flaps. Basically, they are a flap of metal that extends from the aft section of the wing and drops down into the airstream during landings.

Well, we fly a Cessna 172 where the wings are on top of the cockpit (above the pilot) and the flaps are situated just behind the door. Without fail, this guy opens the door, moves the switch to deploy the flaps, and turns around to run face-first into the flaps he just lowered. It’s funny the first, concerning the second time, and expected after the tenth time.

Every. Single. Lesson.

Pilot Mistakes FactsShutterstock

14. Two Birthdays

One of my students told me she was going to be 21 when she graduated high school. I asked him why. She explained that he ages TWO YEARS every year. She is 15 turning 16 so that is two years. She is probably right that he will not graduate HS til age 21, but not for the reason she mentioned.

Dumb Students FactsShutterstock

15. A Hard Poke

I don't usually wear glasses when I teach. Except for one day. And it was subsequently a big deal among all my fifth graders. The next day, at the start of class, I noticed a boy in the front row wearing glasses for the first time. Something seemed a little off, so I finally decided to chime in. I asked her what the deal with his glasses was. His answer astounded me, and not in a good way.

Him: "These? I need them to see."

Me: "But they don't have any lenses."

He appeared befuddled and said, "They don't?" before lifting her finger up to one of the eye frames and poking himself in the eye.

Dumb Students FactsShutterstock

16. Do You Even Know What My Dad Does?

Had lots of students from Saudi Arabia. They typically pushed boundaries, so I learned quickly to set boundaries and be firm/fair with everyone in the class. One guy didn't see the need to come to class much or do homework and his grade suffered greatly. He came in one day and said, "I want a better grade, my family is the XXXX's" (I don't remember the name).

But apparently they were wealthy and well respected. I didn't care and I reminded him of his lack of effort. He was mad and he made some generic threats, but nothing specific I could call anyone about. I found out from the other Saudi students, most of which hated the guy, that he said screw it during the last week and went home without taking any finals.

Maybe he was more arrogant, but I'd say he was also a dummy.

Dumb Students FactsShutterstock

17. Just Looking

I was a former college recruiter who used to set up a booth at low-income schools to help guide first-generation students into college. A high school student approached me and expressed her desire to become a gynecologist. So I start talking about which schools have good pre-med programs, the kind of classes she would need to take, broaching the idea of med school.

She says hold up, a gynecologist is a doctor? I say yes. She says, “Well I do NOT want to go to medical school. "I just desire a job where I can constantly examine women's anatomical structures." We ended up talking about possibly cosmetology school or esthetician programs. Also, she was not kidding. I got many, many dumb questions like this. When you don’t know, you don't know.

Dumb Students FactsShutterstock

18. Just Smile and Scream Internally

In my statistics class a girl asked if changing the minus to a plus would change the answer. Not a negative to a positive, like she wasn't questioning how negatives worked. She sincerely wanted to know if changing from subtraction to addition would change the answer. To the professor’s credit she answered with a kind yes and only a slight pause.

Dumb Students FactsPixabay

19. Good Luck Out There, David

I was a camp counselor who had to “teach” kids in a supplemental capacity with the director of whatever activity our group might be doing on any given day. I will never forget a very special student named David. David came from a religious family. David’s father was not religious, but David’s mother (who had custody) was “born again". His father made the compromise that he can be homeschooled but has to go to a non-religious camp during the summer.

I met his mother on the first day with other parents and she was so happy that I, a “good white catholic boy”, would be his counselor. What she didn’t know was I was really just a polite atheist that put on an act in front of her so she wouldn’t be a pain like she was to other counselors before coming into my group (7th-8th grade ages) and let her kid have some fun.

David was dumb. I blame the mother, but here are some gems:

  • David thought goats were cows and tried to milk a male goat. Goat kicked David.
  • David believes that dinosaurs are not real. Like, they never existed. Not that humans walked alongside them but like dinosaurs were never a thing. Kids made fun of him and he punched the paleontologist guest. Said God wanted him to do it when we called his mom.
  • David ate rubber cement because he liked how it made him feel when he smelled the bottle and thought eating it would make him feel the same way but faster (?!).
  • David tried to “escape” camp in one of the foot pedal boats that were on the secluded lake but gave up after he didn’t know which way would get him to his house.
  • David knows how to swim but chooses to almost drown holding his breath to swim underwater because he doesn’t like “slapping” the water when above it. Also, when doing the above water swim, inhales water accidentally all the time which causes him to cry because “it burns”.
  • David seems to believe that somewhere in the camp is a tetherball setup that can A) support his weight and B) won’t slam him into the pole when he tries to swing on it causing him to hurt himself despite the camp having many rope swings.
  • David thinks all colorful plants are edible.
  • David believes that all the girls he likes are his girlfriend. He gets mad when they aren’t on his team for games. He will climb the backstop on the field and threaten to jump if the teams aren’t changed. We change the teams and he’s too scared to climb down. Kids play anyway while he cries on top of the backstop.
  • One day David discovered adult internet content. He tried to share this discovery with his many girlfriends.
  • David told a camper with dark skin that God left him in the oven longer. I tried to explain to him that the joke is insensitive but...this wasn't intended as a culturally derogatory jest. He really believed that we were all made of clay and put in some Heaven oven.
  • David can’t cut his own food. Initially, I assumed it was a matter of "won't," with his mother always doing the task. However, he unfortunately cut his fingers (indeed, more than one) using a piece of plastic cutlery.
  • David asked me if I had an extra “pee pee diaper". Okay, I know he’s toilet trained so I asked what that is. Apparently, he uses his mom’s pads to catch the extra drops so it doesn’t get on his underwear. (That one was somewhat not that unintelligent but it's still rather baffling.)
  • David makes up stories about how far he gets with his girlfriends who aren’t his girlfriend. To prove he “got some” he showed campers a pair of women’s underwear that was clearly his mom’s as she is a rather large woman and the girl he claimed to have gotten with could’ve used it as a blanket.
  • David tries to hit people with the ball when playing tennis. Nobody wants to play with him, so he plays tennis with the wall until we’re done and always hurts himself.
  • David built a “teepee” out of decent sized wood, but it collapsed on him when he hit a piece of the wood structure he built trying to make a fire in it by rubbing two sticks like he saw in a movie. Lots of scrapes but nothing broken but his pride.
  • David, as per his mom’s instructions, is not allowed to have rubber bands. She made me promise her and acted as serious as someone saying he’s not allowed to have a firearm.
  • David thinks if he throws a rock high and hard enough, God can catch it. Proof of this is if after throwing it you don’t hear or see it land, God caught it. He told me he does it all the time in his backyard.

He was dumb but not really mean. Just a jerk most of the time. I truly blame the parents.

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20. An Important Text Message

I had a student who didn't show up for class regularly, and her grade was going to be a C, maybe a D depending on her final exam. What made her dumb, however, was how she tried to cheat on the final exam. She reached down into her bag and took out her phone, put it on the desk, typed something into it, looked at the test, looked at her phone, looked back at her test, rechecked her phone, then answered whatever question she was looking up.

Just to make sure, I let her do it one more time. I was watching her THE WHOLE TIME, and she was completely oblivious. She got an F.

Die A Little Inside factsPixabay

21. The School for Flat Earthers

I thought I would be teaching about plate tectonics today. Ended up having to do a lesson on why the earth isn’t flat.

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22. These Questions Are Better

One of my husband's colleagues said a kid came up to him after an exam and said, "I didn't know the answers to the questions you asked on the test, so I made up my own questions and answered them." The professor had the perfect reply. He said: "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard, and when I go to lunch, I'm going to tell all of my friends."

Brightest Things Said By Dull Students factsShutterstock

23. Copy-Pasta Chef

I'm a professor grading papers now and I have a few contenders right here. This one student blatantly plagiarized in his first paper, I mean just cutting and pasting from random webpages. I was so surprised at how badly he plagiarized, that I gave him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he didn't understand what it really was.

I just gave him a zero along with an email describing the issue in detail with some additional links for whole sites that do the FAQs really well. We met, and I explained it to him. He was abjectly apologetic and explained that he had missed the nuances before. Grading the final paper, same problems all over again.

And I test this stuff using a free website I found just on Google and it takes like two minutes to check. What the heck is he thinking? In addition, the part that wasn't plagiarized was so poorly composed, it's hard to comprehend how he got admitted, let alone reached junior status at such a selective institution. It's even more baffling when you consider that he is also pre-med.

Guilty Confession FactsShutterstock

24. Join My Pirate Crew

Actually one of the smarter kids in my class. Ethics, awareness of social norms...not so much. He sent me an email after the semester ended, asking if I'd mind telling my next semester class that his digital textbook was available for sale. Oh, and that it's a PDF so if multiple people want it, he can sell them all copies.

I responded that I admire his entrepreneurial spirit, but it probably wasn't a good idea to solicit his professor's help in starting a piracy-based bookselling business.

Horrible Teachers FactsShutterstock

25. The Coinless Future Strikes

I volunteered to do the "book fair" for my old middle school (my mom was the assistant librarian). I had a 7th grader come up to purchase a poster of a car. The price was $3. He pulled out two $1 dollar bills and set it on the desk in front of me. He then pulled out a handful of change and set it on the table. He asked, "Is this enough?" I said, "Well, you need one more dollar." He then picked out two quarters and two dimes.

"Now?" he asked. I said, "That's 70 cents, you need 30 more." He picked out three nickels and added them to the pile. "There you go," he said. I then proceeded to ask him what he thought the denominations for each coin were, and he legit did not know. I had to give him a quick lesson in the value of each coin and helped him count out $1 in change.

To me, this situation is ridiculous. We will all have to deal with money throughout our lives. You have to learn to know the value of each coin and know how to add money.

Dumb Students FactsFlickr,Robert Couse-Baker

26. A Slippery Mistake

We were discussing the three most common phases of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. Using water as an example, I asked a student to tell me what we call the solid phase of water. He replied, "Oil!" I was dumbstruck, but mine was only temporary...

Horrible Teachers FactsShutterstock

27. Conquering Fear the Dumb Way

Not a schoolteacher, but I’ve taught swim lessons in the past. I was once teaching the adult learn-to-swim class and had an incredibly dumb dude (let’s call him Rusty) sign up. Rusty was a 100-pound guy with an absolute fear of water, he wouldn’t even shower, but he decided that swimming lessons were gonna cure him. Okay, buddy.

It was the first day, when we were just getting accustomed to the water and helping people with a phobia start to get over it. The first few people are puttering around in the shallow end and getting a feel for the water. Some of them were immigrants from someplace very dry and had never been in a pool before, so it was quite the experience for them, and things were getting loud.

All of a sudden, I hear the weirdest sound. It's Rusty, giving his best bald-eagle-screech attempt, sprint down the deck, and launch himself into the deep end. He immediately starts drowning (no fat, no float) and is going down fast. My assistant, the lifeguard, got in, got him holding on to the rescue tube, and pushed him to the shallow end, still screaming and flailing.

He hauled himself up the stairs and started sprinting for the deep end again and chucked himself back in. I went in after him since my assistant was still in the water and dragged him out again. He tried to do it a third time, but I was able to stop him until security showed up to hold him back for his own safety.

I never saw him again after that day, but I’ll never know why he, an aquaphobic non-swimmer, would think jumping in the deep end was a good idea.

Escaped Death factsPixabay

28. Craters Attract

I will never forget this girl. She raised her hand and asked why meteors always fall into craters. For context this was a journalism degree and we were talking about libel laws. This girl did not pass.

Students This Dumb FactsGetty Images

29. Kids Don’t Need Air

In my design class, I had this girl who had placed a garage beside the house, but couldn't, for the life of god, figure out why her 90cm by 200cm door was not appropriate for a car to enter through. Same girl planned a small space for children in a library. Said space was only 1.5 meters high, and no matter what the teacher said, she kept going back to, "but this space is for children, they are not tall!" "But they will suffocate!" "But it is a space FOR CHILDREN!"

Horrible Teachers FactsShutterstock

30. Dentists First

All she had to do to graduate was to show up to a seminar. I pointed out the importance of this as it was the last time this mandatory thing was being run, and the last chance for her (having missed earlier opportunities) and I wouldn't run the class next year. Got an email saying she had a dentist appointment and missed it.

She failed, couldn't get her degree and had to come back 18 months later for it.

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31. Money Machine

Dude asked me why poor countries couldn't just print a bunch of money and give it. Keep in mind this was Grade 12 economics.

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32. World Class Pouter

I wouldn't say dumb, but definitely baffling and annoying. She had somehow gotten all the way to college still believing that weirdly and creepily exaggerated coy-little-girl flirting would get her what she wanted, including with female faculty. It was cringey to see in actionliterally tilting her head to the side, playing with her hair, pivoting her leg back and forth mannerisms, combined with semi-childish speech patterns while glancing up through her eyelashes.

Definitely "I'm only talking to this one in front of witnesses" territory. She told me that she was reading and studying every night and still not making progress on tests and needed help. I explained how to make written study materials to help her absorb information better. She said she'd done that and reviewed the materials regularly, but still wasn't seeing results.

At this point, I was genuinely concerned and puzzled, so I asked her to bring me her materials next class period and we'd go over them to make sure they were accurate and useful. She agreed. Next class period rolls around. She announces, with even more exaggerated mannerisms, that wouldn't you know itshe was so frustrated with her score on her last test (returned before our earlier conversation) that she'd thrown her study materials into the trash in a fit of anger and they were all gone.

Almost as if they had never existed. I looked her in the eye and said, "I think you should consider, then, that self-discipline may be playing a role in your grades in my class." She huffed and pouted in outrage, and I never saw her again. What makes me sad is that clearly someone, almost certainly her family, had taught her that these behaviors worked.

No one sticks to a behavior that strongly unless she has had success with it.

Heartbreaking Things FactsShutterstock

33. Breathing Helium

I used to volunteer teaching at an after school program for 14-year-olds. We were doing a project that involved balloons. One boy had blown into his balloon but couldn't get it tied. I tied it and gave it back to him. He immediately tossed the balloon up. As it sank to the floor, his face fell. Obviously disappointed, he asked: "Aw, so they're not helium?"

Dumb Students FactsPiqsels

34. Not Touching That One

Had some students come up to me the other day to ask if they could go see a teacher during their lunch break. I asked why, and one of them said, "We're in trouble because we accidentally made fun of someone with optimism." I then asked her to repeat herself, hoping she would correct herself, but said, "optimism" instead of "autism" again.

I let them go see that teacher, because I did not have time to think about how to approach that conversation.

Stories Of Real-Life Heroes factsShutterstock

35. What Am I?

I worked at my university’s tutoring center while in college. Had one student who was a sports science major and would come in for tutoring for every single class. He had to do this because he was barely literate, as in reading MAYBE on a first-grade level. One of his assignments was to write about an important African American figure.

He asked me what African-American meant, and that's not even the worst part. The student was African-American. For the record, I don’t blame him for being dumb. I blame every single teacher he ever had whose responsibility it was to ensure that he was learning, and instead just passed him on so he would be someone else’s problem.

Secondhand Embarrassment FactsShutterstock

36. Just Not Cut Out

I worked as an "unofficial TA" in college and was in charge of a student publicationtaught it as a class because while it was open to all students, certain students had to work it as a practicum course. One of the students was very quiet, but very nice. Didn't participate in class, but their effort was supposed to go into their written works, so it was fine.

Deadline for their rough drafts arrived and he turned in two-pages, much shorter than the expected 800-word article. Whatever, I can work with him. But it looked... weird. There were no quotes. There was no attempt made to write from a neutral perspective. Suspicious, I copied and pasted the first two paragraphs into Google and... yep.

Every word taken from an online brochure. He had contacted no sources, done little-to-no researchjust pasted the text into Word and reformatted it. When we had our individual consultation, I gently asked him, "This doesn't seem to have any sources or quotes in it...?" Just trying to feel it out. He stared at me with a blank expression.

"I mean... it kind of feels like it's missing some research." He just looked at me. "E., who did you consult with for this article? Who did you interview?" Silence. He just kind of waited out the half-hour with silence. Did this work for him in high school? In his English comp courses in college? I have no idea how this worked for him.

Ultimately, I had to bring it to the attention of the professor on the course. She said what I couldn't, which is that he plagiarized the entire pieceand stupidly. He was withdrawn from the course. I felt bad. Really bad. But something the professor said stuck with me: "Some people aren't cut out for college. I hate to say this, but not everyone is academically smart enough to do this work."

People are smart in their own ways, I believe, but maybe the kind of work college requires doesn't compute with everyone. Unfortunately, he dropped out of college sometime later. I saw him a few years ago, working at the local movie theater as an assistant manager. He saw me and booked it into the office without talking to me.

Heartwarming Moments FactsShutterstock

37. Classroom Confusion

I had a student when I was a TA who took the first quiz in my class, but I realized he wasn’t on my roster. I told him this, but he insisted he was in my section. Soon, he stopped coming to section altogether but did insist on handing his exams and papers back to me in lecture. I eventually discovered the weird reason for his actions. 

He was supposed to be in my colleague’s class, but never attended that either. After the final exam (which he handed in to me!), he admitted to me that he had just realized he was in the other class, and had been confused because his roommate was in my class, but “I guess it doesn’t really matter since I didn’t really show up anyway!” :/

Best Pranks factsShutterstock

38. Is the Answer No Legs?

I was teaching my kids how to spot the difference in things. I started out with a group of boys with blue shirts and boys with white shirts and asked them if they could spot the difference. Cool. So I asked a girl to spot the difference between a whale, a dog, a cat, and a mouse. Like the genius she is, she said, "one doesn't have any legs." Awesome.

Now I ask this boy who just doesn't have "it" mentally to spot the difference between himself and the students who wore glasses. This boy said, "I don't got no legs." I was in SHAMBLES. I had to leave so I could laugh properly smh.

Students This Dumb FactsGetty Images

39. Weird Looking English

When my mom was a history teacher at a local high school, they went on a trip to Spain. One girl, let's call her Megan, was not quite a clever student. They went to a restaurant to eat and Megan was looking at the menu. She was frowning the whole time and made some "hmm, hmm" noises and looked like she was struggling with the language.

My mom told her there was an English menu on the other page, because she didn't understand Spanish. Three minutes later she still looked confused. My mom asked her what was wrong. Megan then ask my mom why the English language was so different than they learned at school. Megan didn't understand a word.

My mom looked at her menu, went quiet for a second and told Megan she was reading the German menu.

Dumb Students FactsPxfuel

40. Had It Coming

Teaching grade 10 history. I made a poor attempt at humor one day, suggesting the chill of winter reflected the Cold conflict that lasted approximately 50 years.  One of the test questions asked the students to enumerate eight to 10 substantial facts about the era of significant political and ideological conflict between Western and Eastern blocs following WWII. Guess what fact appeared in several students' responses to that question?

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1. You’re Just a Hater

Back when I was teaching high school, I was giving an exam to my first-year students and one of them managed to covertly acquire the key to the exam the second-year students were taking. He was not subtle about it, either. The whole "fake a sneeze, go get a tissue, pick up a large piece of paper and think your skinny teenage body can conceal it"-angle.

I should have said something, but the fact that I was so fed up with this sort of junk by that point is one of the reasons I quit teaching high school. Anyway, that's not what made it such a dumb decision. What made it ridiculous was when he performed poorly on the exam, he tried to claim that I had intentionally marked his exam wrongly because I detested him.

He even got his mother in on it for a parent conference, which means his own mother was front and center for me when I pointed out how his answer form was a perfect match for a test he didn't take. Mom was not happy with him, to say the least, though for the icing on the cake she did ask that I let him re-take the real test.

Since she honestly seemed to care a lot more than many of the parents I met, and since I did admittedly feel a little guilty for not trying to prevent it in the first place (not that I admitted to that part), as a compromise we let him come after school to re-try at a penalty. And in the end, he freaking aced the test. He was normally a C-student or so, and if he'd just done that the first time, the weight of the exam probably would've bumped him up to a low B.

Aesop couldn't have turned it into a better "cheaters never prosper" fable.

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2. Almost

Everyone in my sister's French class had a fairly lengthy piece of French homework. One student put the entire thing in Google translate, but then made a hilariously dumb mistake: he translated it to Spanish.

Fake It Til You Make It factsShutterstock

43. We Need To Talk About Kevin

It's not uncommon as a teacher to have students who are a bit behind the curve in certain areas, but 99.99999% of the time they are at least keen on something else to make up for it. They might not understand how to identify a noun or what a theme is, but they somehow know how to make a mean plate of nachos. You learn pretty quickly not to judge the fish for their tree climbing ability, ya know?

I thought this was the rule when I was teaching...until I met Kevin. Kevin isn't his real name, but it doesn't matter because he can't spell it anyway. Kevin was a student of mine during my last year of teaching. He came to my classroom with very little to show for his academic past. He had moved a few times and thus was missing a lot of typical test scores that we use to try and ballpark their ability.

Don't worry, it was just a ballpark. We didn't make major decisions until we actually had a chance to talk and work with a student for a bit. I thought "That's fine. I'll just do some one-on-one with Kevin and see what's up." One-on-one with Kevin was like conversing with someone who had forgotten everything in a freak, if not impossible, amnesia incident.

There was no evidence that he had learned anything past the second grade, despite the fact that he was now in the ninth grade. Flabbergasted, I figured that we needed to get more serious with this. If he was going to be in my class, I needed to know why and how. I decided to meet with him, his guidance counselor, his parents, and another teacher to see what was really going on.

This is where it all became clear. It was by some incredible fluke that his family hadn't been wiped off the face of the Earth years ago. Odds are that his entire heritage was based on blind luck and some type of sick divine intervention that miraculously saves his family every time a threat presents itself. Kevin was the genetic pinnacle of all this null achievement.

Even my instructional lead, a woman who could find a redeeming trait in absolutely any person, failed to see any explanation of how this kid or his family could be alive today. So, here's a list of events that made it abundantly clear that God must exist and be looking down and laughing uncontrollably from the heavens:

Kevin frequently forgot when and where his classes were. On more than one occasion, I had to go over and retrieve him from other classrooms. Kevin once ate an entire 24 pack of crayons, puked, and then did it again the next day. This is ninth grade. I have no idea where he even got the crayons from. Kevin's dad wrote tuition checks and mailed them to me...his English teacher.

This was a public school. When I gave the check back to Kevin, voided, and asked him to give it to his dad with a brief note explaining that this is a public school, Kevin got in trouble for trying to spend it at a 7-11 after school. Kevin was removed from the culinary arts program at our school after leaving a cutting board on the gas stove and starting a fire...on two separate occasions.

Kevin once threw his lunch at the School Resource Officer and tried to run away. He ran straight into a door and then insisted that it wasn't him who had thrown the lunch. Kevin once took my phone during class without my permission. I called it. It rang. He denied that it was ringing. Not that it was his, not that he had taken it...no, he denied that the phone was actually ringing.

He tried this again another three times before the end of the year. Kevin called the basketball coach an inappropriate name during gym class. Basketball tryouts were that same afternoon. Kevin tried out. It didn't go well for him. Kevin's mom could never remember which school he went to. She missed several meetings because she drove to other schools by mistake—none of which he had ever gone to.

Kevin once tazed himself in the neck before a football game as a joke. Kevin kept a bottle of orange Kool-Aid in his backpack for over 4 months. He believed it would transform into a spirit. He drank it during class one day and threw up on the floor. Kevin took another student's phone without permission, then attempted to sell it back to them.

Kevin didn't understand that his grade was dependent on tests, quizzes, homework, classwork, and participation. Kevin finished his first semester with a 3% average. He attempted to sway me with $11. Kevin discharged saliva on a girl and said, "You should get out of those wet clothes." The girl was the Spanish student teacher. Kevin didn't know that dogs and cats were different species.

Kevin almost always had gum in his hair. Practically every single day. Kevin regularly tried to cheat on assignments by knocking the pile over, grabbing one before I had picked them all up, and then writing his name on it wherever there was room. Kevin had several allergies, but neither his parents nor he could remember what they were exactly.

They were very concerned that "the holiday party" (it's high school, we don't have those) would have peanuts. When they finally got a doctor's note, we realized that it was amoxicillin that he was allergic to and not peanuts. That seems like something they should have known. All in all, Kevin just never failed to make me shake my head and wonder how it was possible that he had even made it this far.

Students This Dumb FactsGetty Images

Sources:  Reddit, ,

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