Kids and their parents place a great amount of trust in their teachers, hoping that they will steer their students in the right direction. Unfortunately, some teachers are complete idiots. These Redditors had no shortage of stories that will make you lose all hope in the education system.
I had a primary school teacher ask the class how many hours were in a day. I proudly put up my hand and said 24. She said no. So someone else said 12. She said no. Her answer was eight. There are eight hours in a day.
I still don't know whether she was trying to ask about a work/school day, but asking eight-year-olds this doesn't really make sense, especially when she said, “in a day”.
I had a teacher try to tell the class that Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus were the only planets known to have rings. I raised my hand and added that Jupiter had rings too, but that they were so faint they were hard to see. She vehemently denied it.
When I politely (yes, really) told her that I had just seen it in a book, she gave me detention for trying to correct her in front of the class. The next day, before class began, she took me by surprise. She approached me with an encyclopedia opened to a page about Jupiter, and apologized.
She told the class I was indeed right, and that it's important to listen and learn from people even when we think we are 100% right. It was one of the more wholesome moments I can remember from school in my youth.
I had a teacher in sixth grade (elementary school where I attended) take our class to the library to see the new human skeleton they had just received. Our teacher, along with another sixth-grade teacher and the librarian, then spent a ridiculous amount of time counting the skeleton's ribs over and over and over. Why?
Because the skeleton came with a note card stating it was a male, but they knew for a fact that it couldn't be because men have an uneven number of ribs due to God taking one from Adam to make Eve. Our skeleton had an even number of ribs, though, so the people who sent it MUST have written the notes wrong.
These three college-educated women genuinely thought that one side of the rib cage should have one less rib than the other side on a man. Yep, could have been an educational moment. Instead, we watched three adults grow increasingly upset that the skeleton's informational card was all wrong.
When I told my mother about this on the way home that afternoon, she visibly flinched and said she wished there was another school I could go to. Then she asked, "Couldn't they just look and see that the ribs were symmetrical? Why did they need to keep counting them?"
I don’t know, mom, our educators are stubborn idiots.
A student in my class asked why we call it the twentieth century when the year was 19xx. The teacher explained that most likely a long time ago, probably in the dark ages, they made a mistake in printing a calendar, but by the time it was noticed all the calendars had been made and sent out, so they just left it that way.
I heard her say this and knew it was all kinds of nonsense, but I said nothing because I was a shy fourth grader and she was a hostile nun.
In the first grade, on the first day of the year, we all shared our names, introductions etc. My name is from a South East Asian country and not even that difficult to say, just read differently than it's spelled. It's even monosyllabic. My teacher's response made my blood boil.
She screeched at me and told me it'll be pronounced the way it's phonetically spelled in English which included swapping two middle letters for some reason. The other students went along with it and so did I. Even to this day I still introduce myself by that pronunciation except to people of my own race.
In university, I started getting people that wanted to pronounce it correctly which was incredibly kind and they sort of pointed out how messed up it was for that teacher to decide that for me.
My science teacher in the fourth grade told us it takes food 45 minutes to get to your stomach after swallowing. He spent an entire class period on it. He handed us each a piece of cereal to eat at the beginning of class. Halfway through (some 20 minutes later), we had to point to where it likely was in our system.
The correct answer, according to him, was somewhere right above our collarbone. Years later, a bite of too-hot oatmeal told me he was an idiot in about four seconds.
This happened in high school. I was tasked to do a mini presentation on northeastern Native Americans. I asked for clarification as to which cultures I was supposed to present on, and was laughed at. She said, "They're all the same kind. Just do the ones from the Northeast".
I just stared at her, dumbfounded. And she’s supposed to be teaching us about this stuff?
When talking about being left-handed and right-handed, the teacher stated that if you write with your right hand, you also kick with your right foot. I had to correct her.
I'm ambidextrous. I can write with both hands and kick with both feet. I loved playing footy as a kid and would annoy people a lot. The issue is the rules in some sports, as I would get told off when I would switch hands. Table tennis/ping pong and badminton were a no, but it was allowed in baseball and cricket.
People weren't happy with me changing hands. Aren't you supposed to play to your advantage?
My mom told her first-grade teacher that her favorite color was magenta. Her teacher punished her for not picking a real color, and for arguing with her about it. Well, my great-grandma was a painter, and she knew just what to do.
She sent my mom to school the next day with a tube of magenta paint! Not long after this, my mom skipped to the second grade.
My sixth grade teacher was explaining time zones and the international date line to the class, and how when you’re moving one way around the world the hour gets earlier and later the other way around. One kid raises his hand and asks, "Does that mean if you went around the world really fast you could go back in time?"
She thinks about this for a while and goes, "Yeah, I guess so".
My teacher thought that teaching multiplication tables as fast as possible is the best way to do it. No. Speeding through teaching each set (like blowing through a set a week) and having timed tests set me up for complete failure.
The timed tests made me so anxious I couldn't think straight enough to correctly answer the ones I actually had the chance to try and answer. Then, of course, all the ones left undone were counted against you. I don't think I ever managed to fill one of those things completely out before the timer went off. But that wasn't the saddest part.
Even though I was visibly struggling and failing the subject, the teacher never seemed to see that as a red flag and attempt to help me. And math builds on itself so after the multiplication tables everything else I ever had to learn was way harder than it needed to be.
If more time was taken to teach each set, ending with a normal non-timed test, I would probably know my multiplication tables today. But I don't. I was also told I'd never graduate without knowing my multiplication tables. That was also a lie.
The other night I learned that my wife was taught that the dinosaurs went extinct in the 1930s. It absolutely blew my mind and she was shocked when I told her…She’s 36. She went to school in a tiny west Texas town where there were only five kids in her class.
Apparently, they just came up with whatever they wanted to teach kids. They did teach her how to shear sheep though. That piqued her interest in the beauty industry and she owns her own beauty business now, so there’s that I guess.
I have this one really clear memory of a teacher at some point in my early school years coming up with this really weird explanation of the moon's existence.
Someone asked her something about the moon and where it was from or why it existed and she ended up saying that the moon was actually part of the Earth that broke off (maybe true), but that wasn't the dumb part.
She also claimed that it happened in the 70s (definitely not true).
The assignment was to take various numbers and represent them as bills and coins. So like, you're given $27 and have to break that down in cash. One of them was $50 and I simply drew a $50 bill (Canada). The teacher tried so hard to convince me those don't exist.
It's not a big deal, but I'm still a little baffled that I apparently had handled more cash as a second grader than my teacher.
In eighth grade biology, I had a notebook that I used as a journal to write down anything that was in my mind that I felt like writing down. One day, another student decided to take the notebook and go through it and read aloud for the class some of my entries.
One of the entries they read aloud was about me wondering why metals can’t be made clear. Anyway, the teacher told me metals can’t be clear and it was stupid I would write things like that and waste paper (in my own notebook). Well, it took a while, but as it turns out, I proved her wrong.
Nearly a decade later I played a very very small role in helping create clear titanium that is now used to support space missions and make taller buildings with stronger supports. Screw that teacher and her horrible teaching skills.
I went to a rather problematic school with 46 pupils per class when there were meant to be only thirty. There are too many things to mention that were incorrect, but in particular, we had a teacher who didn't seem to be able to read or write very well.
I remember her spelling "omnivore" and the other “...vores” without an E, sending me home to check the spellings in a dictionary because she didn't know them, spelling "stomach" STOMACHE, and confusing the words "carnivore" and "carnival" to the extent that she thought something I was writing about carnivores was about carnivals.
Part of the exam for my English as a second language class was to listen to a tape and answer the questions. One of the questions was: If you burn your skin, which substance do you have to put on? We had to choose between alcohol, salt, butter, and cold water.
Cold water wasn't just the obvious answer, the "nurse" had also said that on the tape. Of course, I failed that question, and when I confronted the teacher she just told me that I'm stupid. However, her explanation belongs under the definition of stupid.
She said I have to put butter on it because the water would just run off my skin...
A girl sneezed while talking to the teacher and the teacher ignored it. The girl asked the teacher why she didn’t say “bless you”. The teacher responded that she didn’t want to say that religious phrase in school. The girl replied that she should have said gesundheit.
The teacher said, “that means the same thing”. Gesundheit means health.
This was in Massachusetts. I was telling my third-grade teacher how in second grade we got to stay home one day because it was five degrees out in the morning; too cold for kids to wait at the bus stop. She legit told me I was lying because it never gets that cold here. She tried convincing me that it never gets below 32 in the winter.
She had to be screwing with me. No way she actually believed that.
In kindergarten, we had this intern teacher when we were like five. Near the end of the year, the whole class was making an arts and crafts project together and I got to decide what color the paper mache flowers were gonna be. I decided on blue, but my teacher told me blue flowers didn't exist.
I told her they did and after arguing about it for a while I got my way. Now, even 15 years later, I think about her whenever I come across a blue flower. It still surprises me that a kindergartner knew that, when she, an intern teacher, didn't.
My fourth-grade teacher told us that "women" was spelled "wyman". My eighth-grade teacher told us the correct spelling and said they do that in that school because it's easier for a nine-year-old to spell something the way it sounds, so they wait until we're 13 to tell us the proper way to spell it. But that wasn't all.
There were a few other things like that, like saying certain things in math didn't exist so you didn't even try to think of a different solution.
In third grade on my own independent time, I learned about the presidents and by extension, currency. I told my teacher that there was a $1,000 bill at one point, and she told me, "I don't think there was a $1,000 bill". I insisted there was, she told me, "Okay, there was," but I didn't think she believed me.
That weekend, I was at my grandparents' house and they had an old encyclopedia that showed all the American bills that had ever existed. I borrowed it and the following Monday, showed it to my teacher. Her eyes went wide and she went, "Oh...there is a $1,000 bill".
My daughter did a fifth-grade project on New York. She included Niagara Falls, and her teacher docked her grade for incorrect information. She actually embarrassed my daughter in front of the class. My daughter was so upset. But I, of course, made sure the teacher changed that grade and, yes, apologized to my daughter.
I bombarded the teacher with everything she needed to know about Niagara Falls, USA.
This one lady at my fresh-on-the-scene charter school (who nobody really respected even in the third grade) once insisted that grape tomatoes were a genetically modified tomato-grape hybrid. I maintained that it was the shape that gave them the name. But she insisted. Of course, this wasn't the worst thing about her.
Knowing what I know now about charter schools I have little doubt that this crunchy white lady who wore supposedly Native American outfits and jewelry and banged a drum was some kind of scam artist masquerading as a counselor or youth specialist or some such fake job.
It was the 90s. Most people just thought embarrassing appropriation was kooky-cool back then. Especially with Native American stuff…just ask any kid from the 90s. In this lady’s case though…it was already embarrassing.
In grade three or four I had to take a social studies class where we were supposed to look at Indigenous peoples, cultures, residential schools, etc. Well, there was one slight problem. When we got to residential schools the teacher skipped over what it really was.
Basically, she said these kids just went to a "special school" and they learned important things to bring back home! And before you say, "Well you were kids, it's understandable," we were learning about the freaking Holocaust by grade three as well, so we already knew what "bad people'' could do.
We were also taught that the RCMP and Canadian government were made to help Indigenous peoples. The only "help" they offered was cultural genocide. This, by the way, was 2007-2008-ish. Eeeshh. It wasn't until the next freaking year that the original "social studies" teacher disappeared and another teacher took her place.
I later learned that she had family members who were in residential schools and had the generational pain to greatly and gently explain to us what actually happened, that residential schools were not special schools. It wasn't until high school that I would fully learn the truth.
I went to a Catholic school. My teacher told us that by not going to church on Sundays, we were committing a mortal sin and destroying our relationship with God. I raised my hand and asked what we were supposed to do if our parents didn't take us to church.
She said it was our responsibility to motivate them to go, or carpool with a friend. She gave me the most disgusted look I think anyone has ever given anyone. I was ten. She looked at me like dog poo at the bottom of her shoe. Screw her and her messed-up world view.
My seventh-grade science teacher exclaimed that hand sanitizer was pointless, stating something like, "The germs are no longer alive, but their carcasses are still on your hands!" I was like, "Oh, yeah. Makes sense. Never thought of that".
It took me years to realize the actual threat of most germs and viruses is their ability to reproduce and spread, and that their carcasses pose little to no threat. Another example is why boiling water makes it safe, despite the germ's carcasses still being present.
He was a great teacher and a really smart guy, but for some reason, that stuck with me as a pretty big flub by a science teacher.
I had a teacher that always marked my punctuation wrong in every paper I turned in. She insisted that I was using the wrong punctuation to end a sentence. I was, of course, making a dot with my pencil to be a period, and even said so. She said I was using the wrong dot.
I was using the dot meant to mark an abbreviation, such as you see in "Dr" and "Mrs" and "Rd". I realized that she just wanted me to fail, but my work wasn't bad enough to fail me. For those wondering, the dot at the end of a sentence, and the dot at the end of an abbreviation are the same punctuation.
My teacher said that I had to learn to spell (I’m dyslexic and still can’t spell at 37) because I wasn’t going to have a dictionary everywhere I went (before the internet was a thing). Joke’s on her, literally all written communication I engage in has spell check.
I misspelled tons of words in this paragraph alone that my phone autocorrected automatically.
I asked my science teacher how fish breathe. He rolled his eyes, grunted, and ridiculed me in front of the whole class like I was stupid. Obviously, I know they have gills but how do they get oxygen out of the water as opposed to air? He was one of those stupid football coach teachers. He wouldn’t have known the answer anyway.
Screw him. This was middle school by the way.
My third-grade teacher told us the sky was blue because it was the reflection of the ocean. I was confused and asked, “If the sky is a reflection of the ocean why isn’t it green or brown?" This is because at that time I lived in South Texas and Texas oceans are a nasty color. She called my mom and told her I need to watch my mouth. I got grounded.
My teacher asked the class what a principle is. I raised my hand and said depending on how it is spelled, it could be the head of a school or a basic rule on which other rules are based. She said no.
According to her, a principle was a "new year new me" kind of thing, where you choose a goal to work on when the new year starts...sure, teach. She also left out spelling classes and just had us do math all day because it made us smarter. She was a nutjob.
My elementary school teacher used to always tell us how our neighboring country was out to get us (like in various details including them cutting through a piece of land to cut off our trade route etc), making us fear and dislike that neighboring nation. When I grew up I realized (after meeting someone from that country) that it was just the teacher spouting conspiracy theories.
My English teacher was bragging about how much she knew about history. Someone asked her who her favorite historical figure was. She confidently said Alexander the Great because he had a large empire and his life ended heroically in war. This was my moment to shine.
I pointed out that he had a fatal case of malaria (my dad has a lot of history books that I'd read from time to time). This was such a hit to her ego that she screamed at me in front of the entire class and gave me double homework as punishment for talking back. She also said I'd grow up to be a janitor. Keep in mind I was ten years old.
I had a "Weather and Climate" teacher in college who said as an off-the-cuff comment that she didn't believe in climate change because the weatherman can't predict the weather further than a few days in advance.
This was, of course, the DAY after she told us that weather and climate were different and that anyone who compares the two has no idea what they're talking about.
In fifth grade, when we were learning about magnetism, my teacher told us that the plus pole and minus pole of a magnet were like men and women, because they attracted each other, and that two plus poles or two minus poles were like a woman and a woman or a man and a man since they didn’t attract each other.
In ninth grade, I realized I was a lesbian.
This was probably 35 years ago. I was raised by PBS. Nature shows were the best thing ever. I learned more about science from Sir David Attenborough than from any teacher until sixth grade. My second-grade teacher told us all to come to school with one interesting science fact.
Mine was that elephants' skeletons look like they walk on their toes because their heel padding is so thick. This woman called me a liar to my face in front of the class. I had brought my National Geographic with a picture of an elephant skeleton to show everyone. I held it up as I stated my fact, and she called me a liar.
She didn't tell me I was wrong, but that I was lying. I stopped doing homework right after that. What's the point?
I brought a smashed penny in for show and tell. The teacher immediately began to berate me about how doing this could derail a train and how her husband worked for Norfolk Southern and what I did was against the law and could hurt lots of people. She scolded me badly enough that I was almost in tears. But that wasn't the most infuriating part.
Not only was she wrong about derailing a train, but she also didn't even apologize when I showed her that my penny was smashed by a gift shop machine at the local zoo, not even by a train.
My fifth-grade teacher set up a whole curriculum for us where we did vigorous note-taking for about an hour once a week to prepare for middle school.
Apparently in middle school, "Teachers don't care about you at all and if you're not writing your notes fast enough they will leave you behind even if you ask for them to slow down for a minute". She was UNBELIEVABLY wrong.
As a millennial, allow me to tell you, everything I was told in school was wrong.
There isn't a single subject that hasn't changed in the last 40 years of my existence. Science doesn't work as it did, math has a different route, history isn't so whitewashed, and English and grammar have changed significantly. Even the holidays and how we celebrate has significantly become something else.
Kids these days will hopefully be my age one day and look back at schools and understand they were a place where you learned social hierarchies and a general idea of how things work now more than bastions of forever knowledge. They're, at best, starting points for you to begin a hobby of learning.
As a kid, I was obsessed with dinosaurs, and I had a book that explained that pterodactyls are not dinosaurs because by definition dinosaurs can't fly.
When we were learning about dinosaurs in primary school somebody mentioned pterodactyls, and I was eager to share my new knowledge that pterodactyls are part of a different group and therefore aren't technically dinosaurs. My teacher was not impressed.
She gave me a disdainful look and told me that yes, of course they're dinosaurs, as if I had said one of the stupidest things she'd ever heard. I tried to tell her that my book explained what the difference was, but of course, she knew better than an eight-year-old and (pretty rudely) shut me down.
Screw you Mrs Ayles, I was right.
Something egregious that always stands out to me was in elementary school when we were getting a lesson on Apollo 11. The teacher kept calling it "Apollo Two" over and over. I assume she was thinking they were roman numerals? As I was already a budding space buff at the time (second grade I believe) I corrected her in class much to her dismay.
It's hilarious when a teacher has a fact wrong and keeps insisting on it. My fourth-grade teacher was talking about stuff used in science and industry or whatever. Somehow petroleum jelly came into the discussion.
When he asked us if we knew what it was used for, everybody eagerly raised their hands and enthusiastically talked about putting it on chapped lips, dry or irritated hands, putting on scabs and rashes, and so on. The teacher looked at us like we were all a bunch of idiots.
When it finally dawned on him what we were talking about, he snidely said, "NO, that's Vaseline!" Well, he didn't have much to say when someone explained that the label on the product says, "Vaseline petroleum jelly". (This was back in the day. I understand the label now says something stupid like "Healing Jelly").
In seventh grade, my science teacher had a baby so we had a substitute for the last eight weeks of school. It was supposed to be our space segment. The substitute ignored the lesson plan and taught us about astrology. But I got sent to the principal for arguing with her after she said Saturn was the largest thing in the universe.
Somebody asked, “Did you mean the solar system?" And she said that meant the same thing. I then had the audacity to tell her that Saturn wasn’t the largest thing in the solar system. The sun was way bigger. She doubled down and said it is the largest planet.
I again tried to correct her that Jupiter was, in fact, much larger than Saturn. She lost her temper and told me to stop talking back to her and to go to the principal. The principal was actually reasonable when he asked why I was there. “I told Ms. Johnson that Jupiter is bigger than Saturn”. We had a different substitute the next day.
I think I may have gotten that lady fired.
I was in a yearly CPR class that an EMT was teaching. When it came to hands-on training, I was pumping the dummy's chest hard enough for it to click. The EMT told me I was "breaking the dummy. You hear that click? It's breaking!"
He argued with all the healthcare providers in the class who explained the click is there to show you how hard you actually have to pump someone's chest. He had supposedly been an EMT for 30 years.
A teacher in my primary school believed that sharks are mammals because she saw some documentary where sharks gave birth to living baby sharks. I bet her 1€ that she was wrong and she got so angry with me. She's not a science teacher anymore (but is still teaching other stuff). Hopefully, she’s not as bad at the other subjects…
I don't know where to begin. I had some terrible teachers back then. My favorite was my fifth-grade teacher (complete moron), who tried to tell me that a "baker's dozen is an old wives’ tale". I replied, "That doesn't make any sense whatsoever". She responded by grabbing me by the throat and throwing me to the ground.
Yeah, that was a messed up time/place to grow up.
I was in tenth grade when the space shuttle Challenger blew up. It happened during lunch. The first period after lunch was journalism class, and we commandeered a TV set from the library and watched the coverage. The rest of the day it was all anyone talked about.
My last period was algebra, and it inevitably ended up with everyone sharing their shock at what had happened. The teacher said the most heartless thing imaginable: "The reason the space shuttle blew up is because God doesn't want man in space".
I had seven chickens when I was in second grade. The teacher knew this. One day I came in with a cold. Nothing bad, just kinda sniffling. She INSISTED that I had bird flu, because I had chickens. She then read some articles about fatal cases of bird flu in humans to the class. No one was going within five feet of me.
I was freaking out and ended up making myself barf because I was so upset. When my mom came to get me, after learning what I'd been told, she ripped that teacher a new one. She didn't get fired or anything, but she didn't mention it again all year.
In about 2004 (age 14-ish) my science teacher told us an asteroid was heading for earth and if NASA couldn't blow it up then we wouldn't make it...and that it was due sometime around now (2020-2023-ish). The consequences were chilling.
The class began to panic. My friend took it 100% seriously and fell into a deep depression, believing life was pointless as the dates the teacher gave meant we would all likely be annihilated at around age 31, so she went out and lost her virginity ASAP. We are now 32 and 33 and I see no asteroid about to end us…
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