No one ever said being a teacher was easy. It can be a trying experience dealing with 20 or so kids who are intent on breaking you down—but it's not all bad. From harsh insults and getting physical to surprise parties, visits, and gifts, these are the stories from the troublemakers, observers, and teachers themselves of the catalysts that turned on a teacher’s waterworks.
1. Good Riddance
Our class tutor was a kindly middle-aged Welsh gal, pure as anything, just happy to be doing her job. But teenagers being who they are made her a joke to many. She announced to the class she would be leaving at the end of the term, and everybody cheered and whooped. She left the classroom in tears. Kids can be hurtful.
2. Sending a Message
In high school, we had this terrible Religious Education teacher, and one of the activities she made us do was Chinese Whispers. One time, she told us to get in a circle and gave us a phrase to pass around for another Chinese Whispers “exercise.” When it was the last kid, he just turned and looked her right in the eye.
He said, “Religious Education is a stupid joke and so are you.” She burst into tears and ran out of the classroom. Ten minutes later, her husband, also a teacher at the school, showed up and went to town screaming at us all.
3. For Your Loss
My teacher posted pictures of her old Cocker Spaniel everywhere. Eventually, it got sick and passed. She took a few days off and was devastated. The class worked with the school and each other to collect some funds for a new Cocker Spaniel puppy. We presented it to her when she returned, and she was so happy she cried.
4. Learned Our Lesson
Everyone in class was out of control, and the teacher had a nervous breakdown. She just collapsed to the ground in tears. Some students started comforting her while everyone just stared in awe. She was shouting that she was going to quit her job, which we didn’t want because she was an awesome teacher. We stayed quiet.
We didn’t mean to make her cry, and we all felt really, really bad. We waited there like that until she was feeling better. When she’d calm down and was ready to talk to us again, everyone immediately apologized to her, and it was fine. The class then tried to be on their best behavior more so it wouldn’t happen again.
5. Change Your Tune
The sixth-grade homeroom teacher was also the music teacher, and for some reason during music class, all chaos would break loose. She went on vacation for a week and came back with a bad sunburn around the eyes, so we would only call her Mrs. Raccoon. It caused her to get more tanning done. One class, a fight happened.
The teacher really had to go to the washroom and left for about four seconds when a girl took a boy’s head and threw it through a snare drum. He got stuck in there. She got back and thought he was seriously hurt. She had a mental breakdown mid-class and went to the hallway crying. The 7th-grade teacher saw this happen.
Instead of consoling her, he came in and just let. Us. Have. It. I’ll never forget it; he screamed we were spoiled punks for treating a teacher who only ever wanted to help us like trash and that if he had a teacher like her when he was a kid, he’d do everything he could to keep her. He told us we were disappointments.
He said that we were in for a life of disappointment brought on by our own rampant incompetence if we kept acting this way. It worked. Some of us cried, but everyone felt horrible, and we were all nice to her for the rest of the year.
6. Take Your Seat
I remember in high school getting a teacher fresh out of university. He was the best and very passionate about teaching and would often incorporate music and comedy into his teaching to make it more interesting. Almost everyone in the class loved him because of it. There were three jocks who would always disrupt class.
The teacher spent extra attention on them trying to get them as excited about learning as the rest of the class, but they were simply "too cool" to pay attention in class. One time, they took one of their "jokes" too far. I only remember that one of the jocks threw a chair "as a joke" either at another student or at the teacher himself.
It just broke the poor dude. He lost it at the unruly students, and you could see the pure frustration in his face. He just wanted to teach, but these few students were bent on ruining class for everyone. He just left the classroom in tears, and everyone in the class quickly turned against the kids who threw the chair.
7. Can’t Look
I was witness to the loss of one of my former students. A car hit her right outside my apartment. This was pretty common knowledge to my students, and during a Kahoot game, one of them put her name as their nickname. I couldn't help tearing up, and I let the waterworks start during my prep period.
8. Never Had a Chance
I had a teacher at my high school that everyone hated—even all the teachers. They disliked him so much that they sent him to a portable to teach and cut the PA system connection to the office. Naturally, he would always get the students that misbehaved, and he tried his best to wrangle them, but it made things worse.
I can't say he was ever a really great teacher probably because he never taught anything pivotal that I can recall, but he definitely wasn't stupid. He had the unfortunate luck to have facial hair that resembled hair from another region and had some kind of skin condition on his face. Of course, he was teased about it.
He got the name "Bobcat," but the kids somehow found out that he used to go to the high school where he was teaching and people made fun of him back in the day too. They found out through one of their awful parents that his nickname was "Zero." He didn't seem to mind being called Bobcat, but he hated being called Zero. One day, some kids teased him so relentlessly that he just broke down in tears.
I didn't like him myself at the time for something stupid, but I realized that many school trips, extracurricular activities, and sports activities wouldn’t have happened if not for him. He volunteered to chaperone every chance he got. A guy who was ostracized by everybody cared enough to ensure the programs continued.
He was finally kicked out of the school after I had left. He’d gotten into trucking when he left, and someone who still wanted to bring pain to his life had gotten him fired. I saw a news article about how his body was found burned in his car. Everyone who knew him thinks it was murder, but the case was ruled a suicide.
9. Cruel Immaturity
We had a substitute once, and one of the football jocks went behind her and pretended to hump her. She glared back at him and began bawling. Poor lady.
10. Rewording Lesson
When I was eight, I adored writing poetry more than anything else in school, but I could not tell my mom. She treated me terribly and didn’t want me to do things that she saw as weak, so I hid all of my poems. I was the teacher’s pet for the first time, and she appreciated every unconventional detail of my writing.
She always encouraged me to get even weirder and think outside the box. I don’t think I’d like writing nearly as much if it weren’t for her. On the last day of school, she handed back all of our poetry journals, and I was crying because I was scared to bring it home where my mom could find it. I couldn’t tell her that.
When she asked why I was crying, I said I just couldn’t bring the book with me. So, she said she’d hold on to it if I promised to come back and get it one day. Ten years later, as a grown adult, I’d just packed up all my belongings and mailed them thousands of miles away from my family, my hometown, and everyone in it.
The day before I left on the bus to follow suit, I visited my elementary school for the first time in years to get my little sister. My teacher still worked there. I walked into her classroom, and I said to her, “You probably don’t remember me. It’s been a whole decade.” She held up a finger and reached under her desk.
She pulled out my journal from all those years before and told me that, “We’re about to start our poetry unit next week. I’ve used your poetry as an example every year.” That’s when we both started crying. She understood how important it was because it was just as important to her. I was very grateful for that teacher.
11. Impossible Equation
Someone made the math teacher cry by saying, "Math is the devil." Her license plate was "MATHFUN," so you know she was serious about it.
12. Try Us
My 5th-grade class was always very nasty to every substitute teacher who was responsible for us. They would act out by doing and saying stupid stuff. We never actually saw any of them cry, but our teacher told us on multiple occasions that we'd left the substitute in tears after class ended. I hated substitutes.
In middle school, we had a teacher who started out extremely chill. She said she didn't believe in yelling at students. But a lot of the same punk kids from my 5th-grade class were in this class too, plus new ones. Once, she just snapped and screamed at us for ten minutes. She believed in yelling at students after that.
13. Losing It
I had a French teacher, and we were her first class since becoming a teacher. She was a lovely woman, but many of us suspected that she probably had mental health problems since she was always very quiet and mousey. She also always came in looking a bit messy like with her hair not brushed and her makeup a bit smudged.
There were these two girls who existed just to torment her—and they were utterly brutal. They hid pickled mussels around the classroom and were these loud obnoxious brats. The teacher had lost her mom and then had to deal with horrible students. She had a nervous breakdown and never came back. Two years later, I spotted her begging on the streets.
14. Change in Behavior
I wasn’t myself one morning, and one student asked me during recess if I was okay. I usually don’t discuss my personal life, but I told them I’d lost my grandma that morning. At the end of the day before I dismissed the class, my class committee handed me a sympathy card with really sweet condolence messages. I bawled.
15. Spoonful of Sugar
In middle school science, I had a teacher who was always very sweet. She was an older woman, and she always made sure we had materials for her class often at her own expense. I remember she went out and bought 20 plastic pencil cases and filled them with pencils, rulers, erasers. Everything we would need for the class. She was amazing—but some kids came up with a cruel plan to break her heart.
One day, some of the kids decided to throw a few of the pencil cases across the room. They snapped some of the rulers and generally broke a lot of the things she provided for us while she stepped out for 5 minutes to talk to another teacher. When she came back, she started crying, and I remember feeling so bad for her.
She gave the class little pieces of candy after apologizing for losing control and getting emotional. We were the ones who should have been apologetic. She was so sweet to us even though the class was full of demon children.
16. Celebratory Wave
My class knew our teacher loved us lots. On her birthday, we decided to surprise her when she entered the classroom after the flag ceremony. We divided into two groups. Some of us were with the teacher during the ceremony, and some were waiting for it to end and trying to hide in the classroom. The teacher had no clue.
When she arrived with our classmates, we started singing happy birthday to her. She was so shocked that you could clearly see her trying to hold back her tears. It was the class's most successful birthday surprise.
17. That Wasn’t the Point
When I was in high school, we were misbehaving as a big group just making noise, not listening, messing around, and finding just about anything that was happening far too funny; nothing too major. A few of us got sent out to stand in the corridor until she got a handle on things. She came out to the hall to talk to us.
Upon realizing we couldn’t contain our laughter at that point, she decided to leave us there and stormed back to the class, slamming the door. One guy was leaning against the doorframe with his hand, and that’s when he yelled with the force of a thousand suns. I’ve never heard anything like it before or since. The teacher came out.
She had steam billowing out of her ears ready to completely destroy our childhoods. She turned to the kid. The end of his finger was hanging from his hand. Realizing she’d done it, her mood switched fast. She crumpled in tears. I would’ve felt bad, but it was one of the things I shouldn’t have been laughing at already.
18. Think of Your Mother
It was the end of the day, and a whole bunch of us 9-year-olds were getting ready to go home. Then the kid who was always trying to make trouble started arguing with the teacher about the next day’s homework. She said something about his mom and then he made a rude comment about the teacher’s mom. She burst into tears.
She screamed her mom was already gone. Then we sat in silence for 5 minutes while the teacher cried.
19. Effortlessly Uncaring
I had a class that was really lazy and never did any work. They got an abysmal result back one lesson with the average mark at 30%. I said something in passing, and a student made a comment about how I shouldn't guilt-trip them. I explained how I felt like I was working harder than they were and felt like I cared more.
Even though it was their results and they’d would be going to university, they still didn’t care. At the time, I was going through a breakup and was living in my car for a few days, and I cried then in front of that class. It was an awful moment, professionally speaking.
20. No Lid in Sight
In 5th grade, we had a crazy substitute teacher in his late 50s. At the beginning, everyone was goofing off, and he immediately shut us down by screaming "SHUT UP!" at us shaking furiously. We all stayed silent after that because he’d freaked us out, but we came to the conclusion that he was hearing voices in his head.
20 minutes into class, he stopped talking abruptly and screamed at us again at the top of his lungs that we would regret being so loud, but no one had uttered a single word. He then stomped over to the desk, shoved everything off muttering to himself, then went to the back of the room, and turned all of the lights off.
We were all terrified at this point—but it didn't end there. He silently paced around the back of the room for a while and then went back to the front and slapped the chalkboard. He was shaking intensely as he shouted, "I'm going to tell your teacher how horrible of a class you all are when she gets back, and I'll make sure she burns you up!"
He threw himself back into the teacher's chair and started sobbing. One of my classmates had managed to sneak out and get the principal. He was escorted from the classroom a few minutes later, and we all had to go one by one into the principal's office and tell him what happened. He’d just gotten a divorce and lost it.
21. Flight or Fight
We had this pretty cool teacher take over our class because our regular teacher was out doing something. One time, we would not shut up, and I was just doodling and looked up to see the teacher just run out the class in floods of tears. I realized how little attention the class was giving her and how little they cared.
It took several minutes for everyone to notice that she was even gone, but then everyone went right back to talking. I felt really bad for that teacher because she was the only teacher in our year who would get respect from the students.
22. Poor Preposition
Our 7th grade English teacher was trying extra hard to be positive and engage with us. She asked one of the troublemaker kids for a sentence to break down as a class. He waited until the room was silent, looked straight at her, and said, “Mrs. T is a bad teacher.” She wrote it on the board and, in tears, broke it down.
23. Giving the Teacher Space
In Germany, we have a day where we go to some destination for a day of "fun." The class wanted to go to the zoo, but the teacher was really invested in a trip to museum that had a meteorite exhibition. When we told her that we didn't want to go to the museum, she started crying, so then we went there to make her happy.
24. Emotional Investment
I taught an 18-year-old university student who came to my office and threw a complete tantrum about how I was ruining her college experience and life because she was used to being number one. She said that I wasn’t calling on her enough taking away opportunities to shine, and she didn’t understand my negative feedback.
She was clearly angry, frustrated, and lost because she’d always been the star pupil. We discussed why I needed to pick on others, why it’s normal to not be the best at university, and then a few specifics about mistakes she had made to justify her less than perfect scores to which she’d been accustomed in high school.
My officemate was shocked that I not only let her to speak to me in that way but also that I talked her through it all so she’d leave calmly. I was angry, but I also understood her frustration. My anger mixed with sadness. She lived for academic success and was a hard-working student. Sometimes, I scream into a pillow.
Tears come out, and it happened when I got home. Seven weeks later at the end of term, I found a heart-shaped box with scarves, flowers, a mug, and a profuse and warm apology on my desk once all students had left the building. My student visited my office regularly for advice and encouragement until I left the country.
25. Dreadful Dealings
In grade 7, my brother and I went to public school. It was full of delinquents, but his class was especially bad. A substitute teacher taught for a month, and one student thought it would be hilarious if he pretended to be severely intellectually disabled. In hindsight, it was horrible, but back then, it was hilarious.
He’d moan words, throw books, water, spit on the floor, and dribble. The class played along with him, but everybody would all howl with laughter at him. The substitute kept saying things like he couldn’t control it and to stop being mean to him. There was a point where he was being especially bad with his “disability.”
Everybody in class just kept laughing. She ended up crying in the middle of class and later quit after she found out that he had been pretending the entire time.
26. Big Problem
In a class full of rowdy, obnoxious kids that wouldn't listen, the teacher wasn't slender, and the class would always make snide underlying comments about it. She reached her breaking point one day and started slamming a book on one rowdy student’s desk screaming, “GET OUT OF MY CLASS,” over and over. It was upsetting.
27. Adding a Little More
There was a 9th grade history teacher that never taught me, but a bunch of friends were in his class. He was a good guy, but his wife had given birth to triplets over summer break, and his stress level and sleep deprivation was obvious even to us kids. Once, a group of awful popular girls called the school pretending to be his wife. It was genuinely the cruelest prank I've ever seen.
They said that there had been a car accident involving his newborns. His classroom was next to mine at the time, so he came in in a panic to ask my teacher to watch his class before literally sprinting down the hall. I don’t know what happened, but he never came back. Those kids broke him.
28. Right in the Feels
My high school class made my algebra teacher cry out of frustration because we treated her with such little respect and refused to listen when she told us to be quiet and pay attention to the lesson. My French class was full of seniors, and there was only one French teacher at the school, so she’d taught us every year.
On our last day, we gave her a book containing memories from our 4 years of French together; we did this outside of class, so it was a complete surprise, and she read it and cried on the spot. That's a nice story from high school—but they're not all nice. My junior year English teacher was obsessed with the book The Great Gatsby, and she gushed over how good it is to her students.
I’d just dropped down from the AP English class because I didn’t want to fail and was feeling pretty sour about the book I had to crawl through at a snail’s pace. In my essay on my thoughts on the book, I trashed it in every way I could imagine, staying within the rubric, of course. It brought my teacher to tears.
29. Loud and Clear
When I was in middle school, we had an older teacher with a larger body and very thin legs, so she somewhat resembled a hen. It did not help that she had a sagging under chin, shorter hair that looked like the top of a chicken’s head, and a pronounced nose. There was a new kid in class who’d been held back a few times.
He’d landed in our class. The guy was a punk in general, but we had no idea how mean he was until that day. When he called her a chicken and mimicked a clucking chicken, it made me realize that she may have dealt with people joking about it before. She started crying and fled the room. The vice-principals took over and used the time to admonish us about being rude.
In college, I had a professor who had a very thick accent, but was still very much understandable. She was discussing dialects and the concept of texts and how they can lead to miscommunication among regions. One student yelled from the back, "Oh, so it's hard when you can't understand what the heck someone is saying?"
The professor was quiet for a moment before muttering, "I have no words. Class is dismissed." She gathered her stuff and left. I felt very bad for her. Her higher up came to the next lecture and addressed how that level of disrespect was absurd at an institution of higher learning. The guy may not even have been there.
30. Have Our Challenges
On three separate incidents, we managed to make the teacher quit and never return to the school. The students would be general troublemakers not listening throwing things around the class. The teachers would try to calm us down, and we would get worse to the point they ran out crying. We never saw those teachers again.
31. Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em
I've actually seen teachers cry on several occasions: My English teacher was talking to a kid from the class before mine. The kid was a punk. They were still talking when the class started, and my class was sitting there waiting. When the teacher came in, they were glassy-eyed. They tried to start class but couldn't. They excused themselves, and we had a sub for two days.
One kid in my grade had an unknown heart condition, and we tragically lost him during a basketball game. There were many tears that night and the day after. I still tear up when I think of my Latin teacher talking about how, "Parents shouldn't bury their kids. Kids bury their parents," while failing to hold back tears.
There was a dedication to somebody before a homecoming game, and somebody came to sing the national anthem. The singer was rather good and brought the teacher sitting close to me to tears. It wasn't a teacher that I had, but they were really nice. I assumed that it was for a past student they had who they were fond of.
I lost a friend of mine after a drinking and driving accident sophomore year. My Latin teacher had been so angry and disappointed that my friend wasted so much potential that he shouted at the whole class when we found out about it. He then proceeded to apologize for the outburst and sat there, talked to us, and cried.
32. Talk It Out
It was our teacher’s first year of teaching, and she got our class with all the clowns and idiots. Once, she cried and said she was going to stop going to school. We had a counsellor at my school who they said we could talk to about anything. So, 6-year-old me made an appointment for my teacher because I liked her and didn't want her to leave.
33. Not as Bad as It Seems
I had just graduated high school and went to visit my school to see my favorite teacher the following fall—but I wasn’t just there because I was home on break from college. I was home because I had gotten diagnosed with cancer when the semester was about to start. So, when I went to visit, I was bald and lost a bunch of weight.
When I stepped in the doorway of his classroom, he was teaching a class, but it was the end of the period, so he was just wrapping things up. When he saw me there, he took a second to register that it was me. He stopped teaching and started tearing up. He stopped his lesson, excused himself, and then he walked outside.
He took a minute to gather himself. I had no idea I would impact someone like that. My heart dropped. He could hardly look at me, not in a disgusted way or anything, just in pure shock and grief. Eventually, I talked to him and explained how everything was going well, and I was going to be okay, but he kept tearing up.
A couple days later, he emailed me saying he was so happy to see me and that he was sorry he was so shaken and that he wanted to hear updates from me.
34. Drawing from the Past
At the start of eighth grade, we got a new librarian who was an elderly German lady. Over the course of the first half of the year, my classmates wreaked havoc with practical jokes, ignoring her, and doing stuff you'd expect from 13-year-olds. Last day before the winter break, we learned she was moving back to Germany.
Some of the less than polite boys in class brought her a farewell card. On the front cover, it had an offensive symbol. Their comments inside related in some way or another to the catastrophic global event that started in Europe. At the end of our final class, they brought out the card and gave it to her. She screamed—I'll never forget that scream.
There was a mix of screaming and crying before several other teachers came in to break everything up. All of the boys involved received detention. The teacher left, and we never heard from her. And the entire school was gathered for a fun, long lecture the next semester about culture, respecting teachers, and behavior.
35. Part of My Special Day
For some reason, my teacher brought the spoons she had for her wedding reception and then passed them around to us. When someone bent their spoon, she immediately had a breakdown.
36. Rough and Tumble
When we were 13, the school “bad girl” started a full-on hair pulling, rolling around on the floor brawl with a substitute teacher who we had never met before. The girl and teacher had to be dragged out crying. We never saw either in school again. Shame on you, Deborah, for probably ruining that young teacher’s career!
37. Made It Too Easy
My middle school teacher in his second year of teaching was dealing with our class that was being unruly. He had no command of the class, so it just spiraled out of control. The more he tried to take control, the more it became obvious that he had none. He sat there on his desk at the front of the class waiting it out.
But it kept coming—more mocking, more senseless chaos, more laughing. You could see him questioning his life choices that got him to this point. Looking down and forlorn with tears, he kept wiping them away quickly. Eventually, everyone just ran out of material because it wasn’t fun insulting someone who didn’t react.
38. Singing Like a Bird
My friend and I flew to London from Germany for a couple of days to see our favorite band in concert. Since we were at the top of our English class, our teacher usually let it slide if we weren't on our best best behavior. But, sure enough, the next week, she called us out after class to ask why we'd mysteriously missed two days.
I went, “We were...uh...sick [insert very bad fake cough].” Except we had sent her an “anonymous” postcard from London. The poor woman was fighting to keep a straight face so hard, she had literal tears in her eyes.
39. Passionate Prose
I was a very disruptive special ed student who gave my teacher a hard time every day, and she would just give up on me, unsurprisingly. One day, she gave us a project to recite lyrics from our favorite song as poetry in the class, and she gave us a week to prepare. I loved the idea. It was the mid 90’s with no internet.
I chose a Tupac song called "Keep your Head Up" and wrote the lyrics word for word. It was on cassette tape, so I had to pause every second and rewind. The day came, and I was last to present my project out loud in class. By the time I was done, my teacher had tears coming down her face, and the class was applauding me.
40. Giving a Duck about You
In my junior year of high school, there was this algebra teacher who no one liked. It was not because she was mean or anything. She just had a thick accent because she moved from Vietnam to America when she was in her teens. She liked me for some reason, and we would talk, and she would always help me when I needed it.
Well, being the person that I am, I bought some ducklings. For a few days, I’d show her pictures and whatnot. One day, she mentioned how she’d always wanted a barn but never got to have one. She’d talk about how she wanted to sleep in the hay and have a rooster wake her. I couldn’t take her to one, but I had ducklings.
I hatched a plan and brought three ducks to school with me. I went early to her classroom and slowly pulled them out one by one. I’ve never seen someone’s face light up the way hers did. Her eyes got watery, and she asked if she could hold them. She let out a few tears before class started and held one the whole class.
She looked up pictures of grown ducks and told them, “That’s what you’re going to be when you grow up!” She couldn’t thank me enough. After years of people jokingly asking if she could do their nails instead of teach or being made fun of for the way she talks, three ducklings were exactly what she needed at our school.
41. Going to Brain Wave Lengths
I had a teacher who used to pick on me. One time, I stayed after class and confronted him because it was making me feel awful. He said that he only did it because he thought we were on the same page and thought I could take it well. He cried because he was really sorry to have upset me and felt that he had let me down.
42. Seasick with Grief
When I was six, my math teacher’s parents had been swept out to sea during a series of bad storms by the coastline during a day with unexpected inclement weather conditions. Her mother was eventually recovered by the rescue services, but even with their quick response, they lost her father due to shock and hypothermia.
We did not see her for two to three weeks in class after that, and a letter from the school went around to all the parents informing them of what had happened and basically urging them to be receptive to our teacher’s absence. Then my parents told me roughly what happened, and I understood it as best as I could at six.
When my teacher eventually returned, I said something along the lines of, “Miss, is your daddy really gone in the sea?” which seemed quite heartless, but I had always thought the sea was somewhere for fun trips and a swim because my family would travel to the seaside during the holidays and didn’t quite understand how.
The question had completely taken her by surprise, and I remember the shocked expression on her face before she cried. She ended up leaving class for the remainder of the day, and I’ll never forget the sounds of her sobbing. I wish I could meet her again just to apologize and express my remorse for the loss of her dad.
43. Ruthless Outing
A pair of girls from my high school found the Instagram account of one of their teachers who wasn’t out. There were photos of him and his boyfriend that they shared everywhere. The teacher didn't take this very well. He told their class one day that he would be back in a second and went out. He actually went and cried.
While he was crying, another teacher was comforting him. After that all happened, the teacher went and filed a complaint against the families of both girls for violating his personal property at his place of work. It won’t undo what they did, and they probably won’t get what they deserve, but I hope they feel terrible.
44. The Bigger Lesson
In the fifth grade, some of the students in my class got a hold of my diary and started to read through it. They ended up telling my teacher who I had an amazing bond with. I guess she couldn’t help but read it either, and she then flicked through all of my previous self-harm notes and all about how much I hated my life.
She ended up having a good cry with me and sorted out a plan for seeing a therapist. Three years passed, and we still end up sending each other occasional emails.
45. Just the Sound
A group of students in my year in secondary school took a teacher’s doorbell in the middle of the night. She cried if you made doorbell noises.
46. All in a Row
My class made our teacher cry because we weren’t listening and just giving her a hard time. She was trying so hard, but we just didn’t seem to understand or care about our exams and she was there to help us. We also made the same teacher cry when we graduated because she was sad to see us go. We were never that awful.
We worked together and tried our best. It was only sometimes that we were too much to handle. In other classes, we made three teachers cry. The first time, the teacher had just started working at the school, and she was really soft, so we took advantage of that. We never listened to her or anything that she’d teach us.
Everyone would always talk when she was explaining something. It got to a point where she walked out of the classroom and started to cry. Another teacher had been teaching for decades, and my class never listened to her because they’d thought the subject that she was teaching wasn’t important and would never benefit them.
So, we’d never care to pay attention in class and always talk over her. She ended up giving us a lecture and was crying. She was so close to calling the principal on us. Another new teacher arrived, and again, no one had any interest in the subject she taught because they didn’t see any use for it. We made her cry too.
47. Just a Dumb Kid
My jerk teenage self told my math teacher that I was sure she was actually a Russian mail order bride. She ran out of the room crying. She was from Russia and spoke with a heavy accent, and in general, we didn’t get along. Now that I’m older, I realize that was a terrible and mean thing to say. I’m sorry Mrs. Kanatyev!
48. Kitty-Shaped Hole
My homeroom teacher had just broken up with his girlfriend, and she took their cat when she left. He absolutely loved him and would talk about him in class every now and then, so he was understandably very upset. So, our class did the legwork to find someone who had kittens for adoption and then prepared a small party.
We had it in the classroom for the surprise reveal. We even had a banner with the two possible names he had wanted for a hypothetical new cat with a question mark, which we displayed as he came into the room. He was speechless and broke down as he held his small fur baby. I’m not sure how we even got the cat inside.
49. Taking a Torment
Our 9th grade English class was the sole reason a first-year teacher quit. We made fun of her appearance and “chastity” and wrote derogatory names on the board. Class would usually end with her sniffling at her desk. I often think about her and how she’s doing. I wish I could apologize for my class after all this time.
50. Top Secret Stuff
I had kind of a crazy teacher in high school. She would go off about aliens and government stuff. One day, she said the FBI was looking for her. The next morning, I had my brother and another full-grown friend dress up in all black suits, dark glasses, just the entire FBI outfit from the movie and stand behind her desk.
They waited in the dark until she came in. She turned on the lights, started screaming and crying, and ran out of the school. It took three days for her to come back.
51. Somewhere to Stay
Our middle school teacher sold her house and had to be out before she could live in her new one. She joked about having to live in a box by the river. So, a few of us got together over a few days and threw together a box fort for her to "live in." We got her outside. When she saw it, she was laughing so hard she cried.
52. Fear the Anarchists
We had a substitute, and, for some reason, the class flipped out. It was absolute chaos. They were TPing the room, cutting speaker and mouse wires with scissors, and calling the sub derogatory names. She just put her head down and cried the rest of class while they dumped trash cans and basically ransacked the room. I didn’t take part in it.
In 8th grade, my buddies had this inside joke how some kid said my name over and over, so they kept calling me over and over again. I turned to my buddy, and said, "Oh my god, I hate that kid!" And then the teacher broke down sobbing. She confronted me, through her tears, and told me that, "Hate is such a strong word."
53. The Unknown
I was in first grade when a teacher was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I found out years later that the doctor said she only had maybe 2 months left. My teacher took our class over to hers to see her before she left. We, being six, couldn’t really understand. Somebody asked when we’d see her again. She just broke down.
54. By the Look of It
I went to a wealthy private and bilingual high school in Peru where we had a recurring substitute teacher who had a severe lazy eye. She was a really sweet lady and spoke broken English, so she would mainly substitute Spanish classes where most of the new privileged American students, just like myself, would be placed.
This lovely Peruvian lady of modest upbringing was surrounded by wealthy foreign students all the time while she was subbing. Once, when she was trying to help a student with his assignment, the student just interrupted her mid-sentence and blurted out, “Miss, I can’t tell if you’re looking at me or him in the corner!”
Everyone erupted with laughter, and more jokes came up during the commotion. I’ll admit I laughed as well but the mood quickly shifted when we noticed her tearing up and she ran out of the classroom with her face in her hands. When it was calm, I left the classroom and saw her leaning against a pillar a few doors away. What I saw broke my heart.
She was sobbing. I went and apologized for the other stupid American students and I laughing at her expense. She said thank you, and I hugged her. I barely knew this lady before this, but it was obvious that her condition tormented her and she had few friends in our tightly knit school culture, even among the teachers.
After that, I got to know her a little. She was working the substitute job in order to make tuition for her two young girls in kindergarten more affordable for her because she wanted the best education possible for them. Her goal was to become a full-time teacher at the school, which was a prestigious position locally.
She put herself through the daily guaranteed embarrassment and ridicule of being around a bunch of rich, elitist kids in order to give her daughters a better future. It broke my heart when I found out about all of this and realized that all our incessant snickering and jokes were the epitome of awful rich kid behavior.
55. Secret Sweethearts
I came into a class where my English teacher was already crying because the class she taught before us her made her cry. We could tell she had been trying hard to hold it in before we came into the room. I was pleasantly surprised that the “jerk” dudes in class were trying to cheer her up by making her smile and laugh.
Normally, they would goof off and give teachers a hard time. This happened when it was around Valentine's day, so the school was selling roses in the lobby. One of those jerk students left, bought her a rose, came back, and gave it to her. I’d never suspected or guessed that they would care about anyone but themselves.
56. Right, Mr. Butz? Mr. Seymour Butz?
We had a teacher who found what we would say funny even if it wasn’t meant to be. But to hold his no-nonsense authority, he would never laugh. One day, he’d reached saturation point and couldn't keep it in. He burst into tears. So, it became our mission to make him cry every day without letting on that it was on purpose.
57. No Joke
I had a college professor with a deformity in her leg who couldn't walk without crutches. She was a good teacher, but as it is with a lot of classes, jerks who sat in the back would rather throw chalk pieces at each other than listen to her. She asked us to be quiet, and when she’d turned around, the jerks would snort.
This time she turned around, though, a kid with chalk in his hand panicked and threw it. It hit her leg, and someone at the other end of the room tried to suppress an already loud laugh. Some more laughed at the poor kid who had turned white with fear and then more joined. Then the class went quiet when we noticed her.
Silent tears were rolling from the professor's eyes. I think she thought we were laughing at her disability or something, and man, did we feel bad. But the damage was done. We all got written up, lost all the marks in internals, and got a barely passing grade. Many of the rowdy kids in the back had to retake the class.
58. Fighting Dirty
My ninth-grade social studies teacher was a lazy jerk who couldn’t care less even if his life depended on it. He made learning more mundane than usual and made us all hate watching movies in class as that’s all he ever did. I know it seems impossible, but he accomplished it. My friend loves history. It’s his major now.
Frank is really smart and no longer the little punk he used to be. But even then, he was passionate about history. He loved doing projects and loved the work. But he hated the teacher, Mr. Sale. He’d rejected Frank’s idea for a history project. His idea was to discuss colonialism with museums that were at our disposal.
We’d go on our own and craft a handwritten paper in the style of colonials. It was creative and unique and would’ve intrigued everyone in the class. Frank tried getting the project off the ground many times, and each time, Mr. Sale would reject it and get more and more annoyed. He stopped asking after Mr. Sale snapped.
He sent Frank to detention for disrespecting a teacher. Frank didn't take this well as he had been to detention in the past for other non-reasons. But this time was different. This time he was sent for just trying to make school more fun and interesting for him. Somehow, he learned a powerful secret while in detention.
It was a secret that no one else in at school knew, and we’d be shocked. Frank came back to class acting as per usual. He sat in his seat and was calm. Mr. Sale came in ten minutes late. He took attendance and put on Driving Ms. Daisy. Frank told me later he didn't want to do what he did and looked for a reason not to.
But he believed what Mr. Sale did to him went a bit too far. In the middle of class, Frank went up to Mr. Sale and politely asked him if they could talk about the project idea he had. He was calm and as polite as could be. Mr. Sale snapped harder than before and started berating Frank for being a disrespectful student.
Frank took it and seemed entirely emotionless. He was just waiting for the right moment to say something. Once Mr. Sale was done ranting, he told Frank to prepare for an in-school suspension. Frank told him to make it an expulsion. When Mr. Sale asked why, Frank stood there with a plain face and looked at him directly.
He said, “Because I hope the next time something tragic happens to your daughter, she’ll end everything properly." Then, he picked up his stuff and left. Things didn't go well after that. Mr. Sale had a complete meltdown in class, sobbing, and eventually drinking on the job. Frank was expelled and repeated ninth grade.
It got out that Mr. Sale's eleven-year-old daughter’s babysitter took advantage of her. She attempted to seriously hurt herself and was eventually successful with it at the end of the year, and he lost her. Frank refuses to tell me how he knew this information to this day and openly admits to regretting what he’d said.
And last I heard, Mr. Sale and his wife got a divorce. It was terrible, but where I grew up, making a teacher cry would take a lot of work and effort. They were thick-skinned, and breaking thick skin required some real digging. And sometimes that digging leads to really serious information that you wish you never knew.
59. Mean Spirited
When I was 14, my school had an awesome young science teacher who was fresh from university, eager to do well in his first job, passionate about his subject, and always staying late to help out students who needed the extra time. Unfortunately, he was super timid and shy and not very good at handling behavioral issues.
Naturally, the unruly students and even the nicer ones found it fun to completely take advantage of this, and it soon became a regular “game” to see who could do their best at making his life awful. I never saw him cry myself, but I did see him get pushed to his limits. One awful day, I heard they finally broke him.
He fled a classroom on the verge of tears, and some of the other teachers needed to step in to get the class back under control. But that's not the end of the story—this one has a tragic ending. We found out soon after that he'd passed from an undetected heart problem. His father found him. He went to the teacher's house that Sunday morning when he didn't get to their golf session.
The teacher's father found his body in his bed. He was 24. All of the kids who tormented him felt terrible about it. One girl confided in me personally about how horrible she felt. She knew he was a great teacher, but she joined in with the pack. Now, she had to live with knowing the young, kind teacher was gone, and she had made his life difficult.
60. Insult to Injury
I had a really good history teacher one year. He had had a teenage son who had taken his own life, and after he booked some time off, he came back to work. The standard class clown kid started acting up in class, and the teacher asked him to go into the hallway to speak with him privately. Their exchange got a bit heated.
This kid cranked it to 11. He insinuated the teacher’s kid made the right choice with a father like him. I heard that kid bounce off some lockers about a second after. The teacher came back with angry tears and told one of us to call the school resource officer. The teacher ended up suspended for the rest of that year.