My worst teacher asked me, “Didn’t your father ever teach you how to act?” I had to inform him that my father had died four years earlier. Two weeks later, my step-dad comes to pick me up for an appointment saying he’s here to pick up his child. When the teacher was over the phone with the office, he asked, “You mean the deceased father is here for pick up?”
All through high school, that teacher just kept doubling down and never showed remorse for what he had said. He would chase me into other classrooms because I had a hat on and I needed to take it off. This gave me motivation to become the compassionate, empathetic, and awesome teacher that I am today. My kids always get the benefit of the doubt and I respect them.
Although a school is primarily supposed to be a place of learning and education, it is also just as much a breeding ground for juicy gossip and insane drama. While one may assume such conflicts occur mostly among the students, there are some cases where the teachers are sucked into the chaos, creating a "teacher vs. student" scenario that can often bring about shocking results. Let the games begin:
I had a kid who threw a lock at my head. Somehow, she didn't get expelled because “It just slipped out of her hand.” She did get expelled a few months later when she brought a weapon to school.
A second or third-grade student was always tired and falling asleep in the class. The teacher asked her what the problem was, and the kid said that her parents were really noisy with each other after she went to bed, and it kept her up. She had to explain to the child gently and patiently, "Your parents are busy looking after you when you're awake, so if they want to play or have fun they have to wait until after you go to bed."
The kid must have told her parents what she had learned, because the teacher said that in the next parent-teacher interview, the mother was beet-red from embarrassment in the meeting.
I teach kindergarten, and I had a terrible, terrible child in my class last year. He liked to pull his desk away from the girl sitting across from him so her pencils and crayons would go falling on the floor. Finally, one day she got fed up and slammed her desk back into his. Unfortunately for him, his fingers happened to be there. Justice was served.
I used to do science programming for kids. In the middle of a library summer reading program, I picked a little girl, probably about 4-5 years old, to come up and be my volunteer for a magic trick, which then you explained the science of after it was done. I asked what her name was. She said it into the mic with zero shyness in front of approximately 200 kids and adults.
I asked if she had ever heard of the “trick” we were going to do and she said, “Nope! My favorite dinosaur is a triceratops! And I like your shoes! My dad is back there. HI, DAD! But, my mom couldn’t come tonight because she got a shot in her bottom and can’t sit on the hard chairs this place has.” The audience couldn’t stop laughing.
There was a set of twins who were both pretty loud and out of control. During a group activity, one of them got the bright idea to stick his head into the hole of a plastic chair. He got stuck. He immediately began screaming, with his brother crying out, “My brother!” All the adults were trying not to laugh. We got him out OK.
We were talking about calling for help and what a real emergency is. This is tricky with 10-year-olds because you want to use real emergency examples but not freak them out either. One kid came up with a good question when she asked, "So, if your mom gives birth in the kitchen, that's an emergency, right?" Sure enough, mom picked him up with his baby brother who was born last week in their kitchen.
When I was in kindergarten, a kid looked me straight in the eyes, bit himself on the wrist, and ran to the teacher to blame me. They sent me to the principal’s office, my mom was called down, and I got yelled at. A week later, the kid did it again...and the teacher saw him do it. It felt so good to have the principal apologizing profusely to me.
Zoom school has made some of our classroom parents all too aware of what their kindergarteners are telling us. One child said she was going to have a baby brother, then another volunteered that she wanted a baby brother but would probably never get one because her mom said she didn’t want to have another kid ever again. Her dad was in the background doing something else but turned toward the camera when he heard that and locked eyes with me all red-faced and wide-eyed.
I had a mean girl in the class I taught. I'm gay, and she made it very clear that she didn't support my husband. Mean Girl then ran for senior class president. During this time, she had a thing about me handing her things; she never wanted to touch my hand even by accident. Well, this made her homophobic ways very obvious, and she lost the election.
My daughter's kindergarten teacher told me about how one child entertained them at Show and Tell by being extra generous and welcoming. When it was their turn, they regaled the whole class with a complete report on the new alarm system in their house. This was a report, of course, including the code and where the keypad was located behind the curtains!
This girl cussed me out and then stormed out of class. The door bounced off the wall and hit her on the way out. It took all my effort not to laugh at her in front of the class.
I had a girl stay for some help after school one day. At the time I was teaching geometry to the 10th grade in a mostly Hispanic school. She told me about growing up in Peru until about the age of 10 or so. She was telling me that she worked with her uncle sometimes on the weekend. I asked what kind of work they did—many of our kids worked construction with their families.
“He’s a clown...I’m his DJ.” That really gave me a smile.
There was this kid in high school who was such a jerk. He got into multiple fights, and somehow that got him thinking he was a good fighter. On one occasion, he got into a fight in the parking lot, and someone actually put his head through a car window, like, fully broke the glass with his face. He didn't learn his lesson, but man was it rewarding for the rest of us.
I taught the son of a 2nd-grade teacher. He came in one weekend talking about drinking lots of “kid beer” over the weekend at his dad’s house. I had to mention it to his mother, of course. So, when his mom stopped by later and I mentioned the story to her. She simply shook her head and said, “It’s apple juice, I keep telling his dad to stop calling it kid beer!”
My brother has a friend who is tremendously smart and never really needed to try hard in school. His final semester, all he needed was a final English course to get his degree. I remember him actually saying to me, “Why try hard to get a 90% when I can slack off all semester and get a 50%?” The school ended up expelling him before the end of the semester.
I was always ten minutes early when coming into the virtual classroom. I had a student who, when they came early into the said virtual room, mentioned several days in a row making food on their Traeger grill. I was impressed, especially when they made bread in it! Then the kid mentioned that their oven is broke. I thought their dad was a true grill master for almost two weeks.
When I was teaching ESL, I once had a kid who thought he was all that. Sporty, relatively bright, and quite popular with his boy classmates, but went out of his way to annoy the girls. He was constantly taking pencils, copying work, messing up their hair, etc. He clearly just didn't know how to interact with females.
One day, he broke his leg and had to be on crutches for a while. As soon as I announced it was break time, the girl next to him took both crutches and ran away with them. Snacks got dealt out one-by-one, so kids weren't allowed to fetch for their friends. His friends all abandoned him for choco-pies, and he was left sitting, immobile and alone.
On a class field trip to the fire department, I once had a chronic blurter patiently raise her hand as the fireman went around and answered questions. While pointing at the fire pole, she shared with the entire group, including several parent volunteers, that her "Mommy and daddy have one of those in their bedroom." She followed it up with the reassurance that she "isn't allowed to play on it."
There was a compulsive liar of a kid who told me all sorts of doozies for four years. His senior year, he asked me to write a letter of recommendation. I did—because I had an ingenious plan. I included every lie I could remember him telling me as though it was the truth and I was pumping him up. Oh man, it was so good.
He couldn't even show it to his family because I wrote about how he volunteers at homeless shelters every night, raises hundreds of rescue dogs to become service dogs, how he donates blood every week, etc. Any one of the statements was obviously impossible to be true. I hope he didn't try to use it, but I never got a call from anyone to verify my recommendation.
When my son was in kindergarten, he told the teacher that he was thankful that Thanksgiving that his dad was coming home from the Marines. So, his teacher contacted my wife and asked if she wanted to set up some kind of a surprise where I would show up to their class. My wife was like, “Um, who do think has been picking him up from school every day?”
Now, mind you I was in the Army not the Marines and I had gotten out a few years before he was even born. So, why did he say this? When we asked him why, he told the teacher that he said he forgot.
Last year, I had a 7-year-old in my class who was just a pain. He would throw things around the classroom, pinch other children, poke them with pencils, and he was rude to everyone but would always blame it on someone else. Talking to his parents wouldn't help because they believed everything their little "angel" said.
One break time, he was harassing another child, and I guess they just had enough. This usually mild-mannered child punched him in the stomach. It was so hard, the horrible child even wet himself. Then, all of the other children who witnessed it completely closed ranks and denied that it ever happened. We couldn't follow it up.
I was walking a new student to IT and they happily shared the story of his plump cousin who was wanted by the sheriff because he's behind in his child support. The plump cousin is plump because he drinks energy drinks and not water. He also doesn't pay child support because he doesn't like kids. Said cousin also smells a bit like cheese and his feet have long toenails.
The student kept going along this line and saying things so on and so forth until we arrived at the IT office.
I taught a dissection lab section back in college. I had one kid in a section, Kevin, who never listened to instructions and just dove in with a scalpel, dicing and chopping and generally causing a horrific scene. This led to his first karmic warning when we were dissecting squid. He got squid "juice" on himself, and it smelled awful for the rest of that class. But he didn't learn.
He kept on ignoring instructions and hacking away, so this time karmic justice struck on our very last dissection project: The fetal pig. Kevin really wanted to see the pig's brain. Kevin couldn't get through the skull, though, so he started whacking away at it. I told him to stop, but he had to give it one last, mighty thwack. Crack!
The skull breaks and rubbery piglet brain bits come flying out everywhere, mostly over Kevin. Unfortunately, while he was protesting my clear instructions, Kevin had his mouth open. Thankfully, preserved pig brain, ingested orally, seemed to have a calming, subduing effect on Kevin for the last couple classes.
During virtual learning, at a time of day where we would just give the kids a little time to talk to each other after lunch, one boy was telling another boy how his dad had hooked up his iPad to the TV so he could watch videos or something like that. These kids are kindergarteners. He said to the other boy, “Has your dad ever done that?”
That's when the second boy spilled all the tea: "No. My dad definitely can’t do that. My dad never comes to pick me up. He never even watches me." Now obviously this was terrible and such a heartbreaking thing to hear, but what was so amusing was just his innocence and candidness as a five-year-old kid. He just came right out and aired it all out.
And again, this was virtual learning, so this kid’s poor mother was in the background yelling "J*****!!! STOP IT!! DON’T SAY THAT!" She was horrified. It was sad to hear, but also so funny to hear him just be so straight up with it in front of a class of 25 kids and 2 teachers.
I teach college students to be teachers. My first year doing this, I had a student who was always late, turned in the bare minimum, and always had excuses. I told him he had to improve or he’d eventually get fired on the job. He kept coasting. His first teaching job? He got fired. I laughed, in the privacy of my office, and I'm not sorry.
I used to have a small farm with the usual farm animals. I also went to schools and brought along animals and educated the various classes on animal care, etc. I always invited elementary school classes to come and take a tour of the farm. This would entertain the children. Every year the teachers took me up on the offer. At the time, I also had several animals up in the house, including a few squirrel monkeys.
One of them was really, really old and she had no teeth. A young boy in the second grade was laughing and playing with that older monkey while I talked to the class that surrounded the monkey cages. The old monkey was 'gumming' his finger and he couldn't stop laughing. Finally, the little boy said, "Hey, Jacob, come here and let her bite you....it feels just like grandma!"
And, while showing them the possum I was bottle feeding back to health, a little boy said he had a bunch of them in his bedroom closet.
I used to always show up late for my 10th-grade science class. One day, we had a little chapter review quiz at the start of class, and naturally, I was a minute or two late. So, I walked over to my desk and the teacher put my quiz down. I looked at it, and my blood ran cold. It was all super complicated questions I was sure we'd never covered.
After about two minutes, I looked up to see how everyone else was doing on their quiz. Well, everybody was watching me. When I looked up, they all started laughing. The teacher had printed up a single fake quiz with super complicated biology questions just to mess with whatever kid ended up showing up last to the quiz.
A kid in one of my classes told me that they learned that Santa isn't real, and in fact, it's actually their parents eating the milk and cookies. But, as they said, "It's not right they have to make the milk and cookies and eat it. They cook for me and I eat what they cook. So, I learned how to make cookies and also pour milk now!" So wholesome!
They told me they have a younger sibling, and they're going to keep making milk and cookies for "Santa" until their sibling gets older, and then they'll teach them how to do it too!
When I was a TA for a freshmen English class, I busted a kid for plagiarism. He was furious and refused to drop the course. He was a slimy, smarmy kid who thought I was dumb, but joke's on him—he ended up failing the course THREE ways: plagiarizing, exceeding absences, and not completing the final. You can argue about one way to get an F. You can't argue about 3.
I worked in an inclusive preschool for a bit, and many of our students were either nonverbal or limited verbal. We brought in green limeade with snack one day, and one of the little boys, who could barely speak twenty words, shouted "IT'S A MARGARITA!" at the top of his lungs. It was the first full sentence he had ever said.
It was amazing, and we laughed so hard, and he loved it. His verbal abilities started rapidly increasing afterward. But we all knew what mommy did at home. If your limited verbal child can name a margarita, that means they're seeing a LOT of margaritas.
I was teaching music and had a flutist who was fantastic. He practiced for hours every day, but unfortunately, he also had an ego the size of Texas. He told the girl next to him, who also wanted to be a professional flutist, that she was abysmal and should just give up. He refused to audition for our "pitiful" local honor band even though it was part of his grade.
He would also complain about my conducting in class when I didn't pay enough attention to him. Then he refused to show up to a concert because he was embarrassed to be seen performing with his high school band. This was the last straw—and the consequences were devastating. He failed band and I kicked that toxic little jerk out.
My sister works in a primary school in Wishaw, which is a pretty rough part of Scotland. Once, as usual after a weekend, she said to the children, “Good morning, children! How was everyone's weekend?” A kid piped up, “Ma Uncle is staying wi us.” The teacher, of course, responded with something like, “Aw, that’s nice!” The kid wasn’t finished and completed their tidbit by saying, “Aye, he's hidin fae the Polis!”
There was a “problem child” in my class who thought it was cool to not listen to teacher advice, shrug off reprimands, and make snarky comments. He was hard to manage, but by no means a bad kid. We have a rule at our school that there's “no running on the deck” outside of our classroom. This rule is often ignored when no teacher is looking.
One day, the entire class and I were standing out on the deck when this particular student was coming back from getting something. He decided to blatantly ignore the “no running on the deck” rule and began to sprint toward the class. Right as I yelled his name, he tripped and went FLYING. It was an epic wipeout.
The fall sent him sprawling across the deck, with the entire class watching. I checked if he was okay, and didn't say anything about it at the time, but I was able to remind him later that we do have rules for a reason.
This kid was, at the time, probably around only 9 years old. Her parents had their own bathroom and she had been poking around in there. Because, of course, kids do that kind of stuff. As she poked around, she found a pair of handcuffs. Because she was a child, she just assumed that it had to have something to do with her dad’s job.
When she thought back on this memory as a teenager, it immediately occurred to her that her father was not a cop, and he did not work security either.
This awful kid grabbed a girl’s purse and started rifling through it one day. He then started yelling that she had a knife in her bag to try and get her in trouble. The teacher had the perfect reply. She just quipped, "And you taking her bag is why she has a knife in the first place" before giving the kid detention.
I was teaching the first grade in Central America and in the lunch line, one of the boys saw me pay with what looked like a lot of cash. He looked up at me and said, "My dad has a lot of cash too. He keeps it in boxes in his closet." I actually had a decent relationship with his dad and told him about the comment. He just looked at me with a smile and called it go money.
There was a clique of “popular” kids who were often jerks and acted out in our school. Our city had a living center for the mentally ill that also had a public swimming pool, so we used it for swimming lessons. Well, one day there's a 14-year-old on the extreme end of the spectrum at the pool who had very limited functioning.
This popular “funny” student decides that it'll be hilarious to sit there and growl at the boy aggressively like a hostile dog. The kid loses it and he freaks right out. His support worker figures out what happened, and the “funny” guy is banned from the center. He also automatically fails not only the module, but the entire gym course. He does not graduate on time.
I was asked what I did with my dad over the weekend. I said, "Nothing. All dad did all weekend was sit in bed drinking and sleeping. He didn't do anything else all weekend." What I didn't tell my teacher was that my father was sick all weekend and needed bed rest and juice/water. The teacher reasonably assumed my dad had drinking issues and a call went home to confirm everything was alright.
Park ranger here. We do this “urban education initiative” with inner city kids out to a wetland. There was this one kid, Pablo, who was this third-grade classroom's "funny guy." For example, during a live animal demonstration, he asks about its nipples and then repeats the word nipple louder so everyone could laugh.
While we're walking, we talk about animal poop the whole time and of course, I was professional and answered the questions because I begrudgingly know a lot about scat. Pablo would barge into every learning opportunity for the other kids and take everybody out of the moment. It was actually really awful.
Every time I got the kids excited about nature, he would do some lame peer pressure so the vibe was, “No, nature sucks.” I wanted to push him into some briars pretty badly. Well, justice came swiftly when I was explaining poison ivy to half the group. He swaggers over and does some kind of, “These leaves? MINE!” prank.
I wanted to tell him it was poison ivy but instead, I told him to put it down. The other kids were like, “Drop it!” Only the reverse psychology made him caress the leaves even more, so I finally had to tell him what they were before he touched his face. Pablo then cried. His cool guy persona was shattered, and everybody listened to me for the rest of the field trip.
My stepdaughter is a pretty difficult child. She is diagnosed with ADHD and ODD and my significant other and I think she is probably FASD as well. Me and her butt heads like no other! Well, it got to the point where she refused to wear any other clothing than what seemed like just three shirts and I was getting sick of arguing with her.
So, when her teachers noticed that there was some dirt on one of the shirts (because I am not doing her laundry every three days), they asked her about it, and she told them we didn’t own a washing machine. She had been going to this school for almost four years by this point. The teachers called me to ask if everything was ok financially and so I informed them that we did indeed have a washing machine.
It was the very end of the year and I had a student who was failing my class but didn't even bother to try to get help until the last day. Oh, and she failed because she never showed up for class, ever. Like, I didn't recognize her. She came to me and told me, “You're the only class I'm failing and if I don't get a D, I won't graduate.”
I went to check the school grade book to see if this was true and I said, “Hmm, according to this, you have a 13% in Math and an incomplete in Chemistry.” She denied it vehemently, saying that she'd already talked to those teachers and I was the last holdout. Well, I knew just how to get her. I asked, “Why don't we give your math teacher a call ?”
I dialed the extension for her math teacher. I tell him the story and that I've found her 13% in Math in the gradebook. The teacher's response astonished me. He goes, “Actually, the grade in the book is incorrect. I just discovered the one piece of homework she did turn in was actually a photo copy of another student's work. She now has a zero.” She did not graduate.
Once a super quiet tenth grader, whom I probably heard speaking only twice in the entire year, proclaimed that she was the product of a one-night stand. I was shocked that she spoke out in class and with what she said too. So, of course, I said, “What?” She went on to explain that her mom was under the influence at a bar and got impregnated in some guy’s car. After she stopped sharing all the family secrets, the entire class looked at me and I just said, “Thank you for sharing.”
Education programs do not prepare you for those moments.
A preschooler used to crawl under the lunch tables and jump off the furniture. One day in the lunch room, he got very angry for some unidentifiable reason. He stood rooted in one spot and screamed that he was NEVER MOVING. During this, he wanted to make a point so he stomped as viciously as he could.
He was wearing really flat-footed sandals on a hard floor, and must have hit the ground with a perfectly level foot. Meaning, it hurt like absolute heck. His face was like a cartoon. His mouth made an immediate upside U and he screamed like that guy on SpongeBob who yells, “My leg!!” It just felt like justice to me.
I had a student who was an absolute terror. He bullied the other students and constantly disrupted lessons. His mother was just as bad. She would routinely stop by to "visit" my classroom and would sit there and give me the stank eye. Then she would go to the principal with made-up stories of my inability to teach and/or my bias against her son. She would call meetings with district-level administrators and rail against me for hours.
One day, I was asking my students if they could write down their addresses for a class project we were doing. "The Terror" gave me an address that is different from the one we had on record. In fact, the address was in the next town 15 miles away. What he didn't know was, he'd just revealed his mother's secret. He and his mother had moved nine months earlier but had neglected to register in their new school district (as is required).
I notified my principal and the next day "The Terror" was gone. The icing on the cake was that Terror Mom was sued by our school district for the loss of funds during that 9-month period.
I teach middle school. We had one eighth grader who was the oldest, meanest kid in class. Put a girl up against the wall with his forearm across her throat so that her feet came off the ground. No other kids even stepped in because they didn't want to get beat on too. He was suspended regularly and didn't seem to care.
Then we got a transfer kid. This huge, and I mean huge, kid transfers in. He's a tough kid, but quiet about it. Doesn't do much academically, but he's super respectful and is just kind of quiet. I've seen a lot of bar fights and this kid carried himself like that dude who knew he could take someone apart but had nothing to prove.
Well, jerk kid walks up to big kid in the hall one day and challenges him to a fight by screaming, "YOU WANNA GO?" up at him with his arms spread wide and his face forward. Big kid quietly says, “Yep,” drops his binder, and then drops jerk kid with the most beautiful jab I've ever seen outside of a boxing match.
Jerk goes down like a ton of bricks and big kid calmly picks up his stuff and heads to the office. Jerk gets expelled, the administration was looking for a reason, and big kid gets a suspension but is suddenly the most loved person in the building. The Vice Principal was actually giggling as he helped jerk kid stagger to the office.
I work with preschool and elementary-aged kids, so I hear a lot of things. The one that comes to mind: I was meeting with a preschool child and her parent. The child was drawing a picture with crayons while I talked with the mother. Out of nowhere, the kid looked up from her drawing and loudly declared, “Mommy sleeps naked in her bed!”
I expected the mother to be embarrassed. Instead, without missing a beat, she looked at her daughter and firmly said, “What did I tell you? Don’t tell other people about my business!”
I'm a chemistry teacher. This sophomore wouldn't put his cell phone away the entire time he was working on his lab. Surprise surprise, he dropped his phone and it slid under the door into the chemical storage area. I told him I didn't have a key and would have to ask the custodian, after school, to unlock it.
I worked at a summer daycare when I was 18. I asked a 7-year-old child why her mom didn't pack her lunch like she did every day. I thought that maybe the mom was out of town and the dad had forgotten. She replied, "My mom had surgery on her breasts to make them bigger and she forgets a lot of things." She even pointed at the area in question in case I didn't know what she was talking about. I was speechless.
I had a math class in senior year that was held in a science lab with showers, an eye wash station, etc. It was a class that had kids from grades 10-12 in it. One of the seniors was a big dude on the football team who really enjoyed messing with the smaller kids. He was the worst of what high school sports churn out, you know the type.
He liked to get this one dude riled up every day by pretending to pull the emergency shower every time he walked by. He giggled like a smug doofus every time. One day, I had enough and just went, “Hey, Nelson" while he was under the shower. I waited for him to look me in the eyes, then I pulled it. "THIS is how it works!" Didn't even get in much trouble. Still love that moment.
I’m a full-time nanny to two girls who are seven and ten. One day, I arrived at work and the ten-year-old answered the door and let me in. The first thing she says to me when she sees me is, “Mom is upstairs in the bathroom. She’s been in the bathroom all night and all morning! She ate something that really messed her up!”
I laughed and pretty much expressed myself as “oh no.” All the while, I couldn’t help thinking that I was glad her mom was upstairs and didn’t hear her tell me that information! Things came full circle though. This happened recently when I had a bathroom emergency after I got back to their house from picking them up from school.
I couldn’t help thinking about how they were probably going to tell their parents all about it. Both girls have a serious tattling problem.
My high school buddy Steve was a troublemaker. We had a really lax teacher in sophomore English, who was a long-term substitute and not in full control of the class. Meanwhile, we also had a student-teacher named Mrs. Gomez who was good and kind, but obviously didn't have full disciplinary power either in the situation.
This leaves room for people to get rowdy, ESPECIALLY Steve. One day after a particularly loud interlude, Mrs. Gomez gets a belly full and tells Steve to be quiet. Steve looks her in the eye and says, “You're not the teacher. I don't have to do ANYTHING you say.” He then goes right back to whatever he was doing. Mrs. Gomez was LIVID.
Her face was bright red and she looked like she wanted to throttle Steve, but he was right and she knew it, so she kept her mouth shut. But she got the best payback. A month later, we walk into class and the old substitute is nowhere to be seen, but there's Mrs. Gomez sitting comfortably at the teacher's desk like she owns it.
The bell rings, and she stands up and says, “Hello, everyone." She then turns and looks directly at Steve, “I'm your new teacher.” Steve didn't get away with much in class after that.
I was an elementary librarian, and I was telling the kids how they mustn’t get the books wet or take them in the bath, as the pages would get wrinkly and destroyed. One kid stood up and said, very sweetly, “My mom says she finally found a good lotion for wrinkles, maybe we could put that on the books?”
When I was in high school, our music teacher was this awesome older dude who was close to retiring. He would openly tell everyone that he was in it for the pension, but was an awesome teacher and could teach any class from music to hospitality to welding to woodshop. One thing he refused to do, though, was putting up with teenager shenanigans.
Luckily he took a liking to me, but he used to do things like throw chalk at kids and other harmless stuff that got the point across. But then there was a rule change, and teachers weren't allowed to lay a hand on any kid in school at any point. I watched kids beat each other, and teachers just having to watch because they’d lose their jobs if they interfered.
One day, this little jerk who was always causing trouble decided that he was going to start a fight in front of the music room. The awesome music teacher comes in, sees this, and tells him to stop a few times. The guy didn't. So he went back into his office, grabbed his large coffee, and dumped it all over the kid.
I worked at a summer camp one year where campers were continuously coming in and out. I had this cute girl as one of my campers one day. She was very peppy and talkative. She told me all about how she got VERY expensive presents for her past birthdays from her uncle. Of course, I smiled and said, "Oh, that's nice of your uncle."
She then said, "Yep. He made a lot of money." I went ahead and politely asked, "Oh? And what does he do for work?" She replied, "He's a teacher... no, wait, that was just pretend. He acted as a teacher in a movie. You've probably seen him before." I laughed a little and smiled at her and asked, "Oh yeah? What movie is he in?" I absolutely was not prepared for her answer:
She looked at me point blank and said "Harry Potter. My uncle is Professor Snape...or, he used to be before he passed...The cast was at the funeral. Emma Watson is really nice." That day was such a haze, I barely remembered anything until I got home and remembered that interaction again and thought, "What in the world?"
I still can't remember WHO I interacted with. Her dad picked her up but to this day I'm not sure who I met. I'm not sure if it was one of Alan Rickman's brothers or a sibling of his wife, but it’s the closest I've come to meeting a celebrity.
When I was working as an aide for special needs kids in their fourth-grade class, there was this one boy who was a bit of a loudmouth and called everything he didn't like or understand “gay.” Then one day, he switched it up and informed me that something was “retarded.” I wasn't going to give him the response he was looking for, but then he made it easy.
Before I had time to reply, he said, “…and I'm allowed to say that, since I'm in special needs." "Great!" I replied. "What's your excuse for calling everyone “gay” all the time, then?"
The kids in class were talking about how expensive the local theme park was to get into. One of the kids said that his dad had shown him how to go through the stormwater drains to get in for free. He then said that it's OK, because his dad said it wasn't wrong to do so. So, the whole class should go there for free some time.
I created a "homework excuse" form that the kids had to fill out if they didn't have their homework done. One girl with an attitude problem filled out forms with a few with choice things like, “This class sux,” and “I had better things to do.” Well, her grade goes downhill and we have a parent-teacher conference.
The mom defends her daughter's grade, saying the homework was too hard or not clear enough. So I show her the forms, as signed by her daughter. The daughter is completely stunned and embarrassed and so was the mom. I got an immediate apology from both of them, and all her other homework was done on time for the rest of the year.
My dad is a law enforcement officer and in first grade during a “my dad is cooler than your dad” argument, I told a few kids in class that my dad had been shot. We had so many bouquets and casseroles and letters of condolences delivered to our door that night. My dad thought it was hilarious and was stoked that my mom’s best friend brought over his favorite lasagna.
However, my mom wrote a big letter to my teacher the next morning saying that he was, in fact, very much alive.
I had this one student who kept intentionally farting. After telling him repeatedly to knock it off, I finally lost my cool and said, “Next time you do that, I hope you poop yourself.” Not five minutes later, I see him lifting his butt with that stupid grin on his face. Within seconds, the grin turned to pure terror.
He jumped up and said, "I gotta use the bathroom," and waddled out of the room with a large, wet brown spot on the back of his jeans.
My youngest son had just started school and the teacher was asking what their parents did for work. My son said, "My dad breaks into houses and smashes them up." The teacher then rang my wife to ask if everything at home was ok. They, then, told my wife about my son's comment. I had to clarify that, “No, son, your dad works in demolition. That’s all.” One year on and it still feels awkward going to his school.
In middle school orchestra, I was friends with the rowdy girl. We were generally smart alecks, but we weren't rude and we knew our stuff, so the teacher basically just waved us off and only interrupted when we got out of hand. One day, my friend was way crazier than normal, so he sends her out into the hall for five minutes.
Well, he actually ended up sending her out for however long it took us to go over a song. He then asks me to go get her, and right as I open the door, I hear him say, "She's going to say that it wasn't five minutes.” Sure enough, she did. The whole room burst into laughter. He just said, “I know, shut up and play your violin.” We had a lot more respect for him when we realized he was happy to play around with us too.
I had an eighth-grade student whose father ran for—and won—the local political office. It was either the city council or something like that, I don’t remember exactly. We were talking about elections in the class, and she raised her hand and mentioned that her dad won his recent election. The problem was, she kept going—and said too much.
She added the gem “and he was accused of something called embezzlement, but he didn’t do that, he only used campaign money to pay for stuff for our family.” I wanted to tell her that uh, that’s what embezzlement is, but I didn’t say that. I just gave her a generic “very interesting thanks for sharing” and quickly moved on.
A friend of mine is a kindergarten teacher and had one student last year who would always make fun of everyone to the point of making other kids cry. She had another student who was adopted, and the jerk started making fun of him by saying things like "No one wanted you." The kid shut him down with one sentence.
My friend was about to intervene, but the adopted kid spoke up and said, “My parents got to choose me, but yours got stuck with you.” The kid didn't say anything for the rest of the day.
This kid in my class told everyone in the class that his dad dips his bacon in a glass of water during breakfast and calls it bacon water, and drinks it on most of the mornings. The kid was just talking up a storm even before he said this, and no one was really listening until then. However, then the whole class turned their heads and was like what?!!
This kid had NO idea that bacon water was not a staple of most people’s breakfasts. It was hands down the funniest moment of my teaching career.
During my first semester of teaching, I was at a very wealthy school with a class of mostly entitled jerk boys. There was a group of four who were the absolute worst though. They never did their work, said disrespectful things to me, and were overall awful human beings whose parents never seemed to discipline them.
I often overheard them bragging about getting away with stuff like being drunk at football games or worse. Although I reported the conversations to the administration, nothing ever got done. They ended up getting detained for stealing a car, crashing it, and breaking into a clubhouse. Also, three out of the four failed my class. That was great karmic justice.
A family friend of mine is a CEO of a fairly large company. His daughter was in the fake stock trading club at her school, and she bought a bunch of stock in his company. The teacher, not knowing that her dad owned the said company asked why she had bought those shares. So, she revealed to the teacher that they had plans to be bought out by a much bigger company in the field.
The Dad had to talk with the teacher after class and warned her that it would be insider trading if she acted on the words the daughter had said. Enough said.
My first year teaching high school, I had a 16-year-old student who would come to school out of his mind on stuff, flirt with girls all through class, and talk about me in Spanish to the other students, right in front of me. I knew sort of what he was saying, but didn't have the classroom management chops or a strong enough grasp of Español to deal with it.
Four years later, he hands me my coffee at Dunkin Donuts on my way to school. We make eye contact briefly, he realizes who I am, his eyes dart to the floor, and he shuffles back to do Dunkin Donuts things. I felt a weird conflicted feeling of sadness and schadenfreude, if it's possible for those two things to mix. I hope he's making better decisions now.
I was in the eighth-grade science class. My teacher knew my mom as she was a teacher in the district too and was also in leadership roles throughout the years. My mom, being from the south, is quite proper when outside of our home. Anyway, one day I burped really loudly in class by accident and my teacher said, “What would your mother say?”
I replied, “Oh, it’s ok. We have burping contests at the dinner table.” My teacher laughed out loud, and must have told my mom at some point, because she later came to me and said she couldn’t believe I said that to her. Still a story we tell today, some thirty years later.
I was late for my History class every day, including the day of the AP test. My teacher was always cool about it. In my yearbook however, he wrote, "Get an alarm clock. Someday you're going to be late when it really matters." The very next day, I woke up late and missed the boat from Seattle I was supposed to catch to meet my friend for a baseball game.
I missed the game and my friend was angry. I bought an alarm clock that afternoon.
I was the mom on a field trip to the police station with my adopted son. I was friends with the wife of the officer giving the tour. The kids were doing mugshots, and officer Bob was telling them about how he tried to get suspects to relax a bit when he took the photos so that they looked more natural. Kids, of course, ask questions.
My son asked, "Have you ever taken _________'s photo?" Officer Bob replied, "Yes, I've seen her a lot of times." My son responded, "She's my birth mom!" Officer Bob stammered a bit but managed to say that she was a very pleasant person to deal with.
When I worked as an outdoor school teacher, this one boy was being really mean to all of the girls. He probably did it because of misplaced crushes, but that’s not an excuse. So, we were all at the river looking for animals, and he face plants into a massive sharp rock and instantly burst into tears. I console him and ensure he didn't break anything...
Then this little girl comes up to me and says, "Well that was karma for being mean all day long." I laughed pretty hard and kind of verbally agreed with her, although I probably should have been more diplomatic. But honestly, he kind of did deserve it.
I teach culinary at the local vocational school—to both high school and adult groups—and we were talking about how tradition plays into food especially around the holidays. I asked for examples from my students and one of my high school girls proudly raised her hand and said, “Well, most people put angels or stars on top of their trees. We always use a Bud Light can.”
Not really what I was going for when I asked the students for examples, but good information.
I teach a high school elective course and I had a class with 23 boys and two girls. If you are a teacher, you know this is a nightmare. Teenage boys are definitely pack animals and are constantly in a struggle to establish their hierarchy. These guys were a constant ball of energy and were always doing stupid, stupid stuff.
They went through a phase where they “cup checked” each other. This went on for weeks. Someone would walk up to sharpen a pencil. BAM! Cup check! So, one day in class one student, Travis, asked to go to the restroom. I gave him the pass and sent him on his way. The rest of the class was quietly working when it happened.
Another boy in the back yelled out, “OH MY GOD! Travis just texted me a picture of his balls.” Now, I knew this could end up very badly if the administration dealt with it. So, I immediately got the kid to delete the text, calmed the riotous laughter, and somehow managed to get them all back on task. But I wasn't done yet.
Travis wasn't back yet and I definitely wasn't going to let him smugly get away with this. I called his mom and told her that Travis had done something and he should explain his actions to her instead of me. In walks Travis with this proud grin on his face. He thinks he's succeeded...until I casually look up from my desk and let him know his mom is on the phone.
There, in front of the entire class, he had to explain that he had just taken a picture of his “testicles” and sent it via text to his buddy in class. You could literally hear his mom screaming through the phone. Once he finished, I told her that I felt that she would best handle the situation and thanked her for her time. That day, I won.
When I was teaching college-level introductory biology in grad school, the main lecturer told an anecdote. They said that one time one of his students came up to him after his heredity lecture and showed a simple Punnett square that she had doodled of her and her boyfriend's blood phenotypes. She wanted to make sure she had done it right.
She wanted to be sure because if so, then it meant that her boyfriend wasn't the father of her baby. The lecturer checked her work and awkwardly confirmed that she had, indeed, created the Punnett square right. She, apparently, stared at her notes quite sadly and murmured something about brief relationships during the period.
Supposedly the reason we don't test blood types in class anymore, besides the obvious sanitary reasons, is that it wasn't uncommon for kids to do Punnett squares on themselves and their parents and realize that something didn't add up.
I had a kid, Ray, who was a real pain when I taught 5th grade. Ray had one of those moms who refused to hold him accountable for anything. It was always, some other kid did it, Ray was just protecting himself, Also, she was one of those moms who would ask Ray if he was guilty, and take his “No” as incontestable truth.
I had a full caseload as a special ed teacher, so I got a helper named Steve. Ray HATED Steve. One day, Ray gets in trouble coming back from recess, and Steve reprimands him verbally. By the time Ray makes it to the classroom, he’s saying how Steve got in his face and shouted at him, even though nope, not what happened.
He asks to go talk to the principal—yay, Ray's gone for at least five minutes! He tells the principal how Steve grabbed his arm. When Mom comes and gets him, he’s saying Steve pushed him. The next day, we get a phone call. Ray's mom and grandma are coming in and want a meeting with Steve and the principal to discuss how Steve choked Ray.
Steve’s freaking out. Other kids were there, but no adults, no cameras, how can he prove his innocence? I tell him, “Go to the meeting and before anybody says anything, have Ray share what happened.” Steve came back smiling. As soon as one story came out, everybody else was disagreeing, “Well Ray told me—,” “but Ray told ME—.” I would have loved to see the mom's face as her kid was proven a liar in front of everyone.
Once, an eighth-grader told me excitedly, “Mrs. Teacher, guess what I found out? My grandpa was a Nazi!” This may have been brand new information for the student going by her excitement. So, I asked her, “Do you know what a Nazi is?” She instantly replied that she did not, in fact, know what it meant.
So, I suggested to her, “Maybe you should go talk to your mom about that.” She must have taken my suggestion to her heart for she came in the next day and went, “Yeah, my mom told me I can’t tell people about my grandpa anymore.”
I coached middle school football. Some kids have come out of their shell by then, while others have not. Most of the early bloomers were jerks who existed to make life terrible for everybody. The team’s starting halfback was one of those jerks. He gave a defensive lineman trouble and since everybody thought he was cool, they did it right along with him.
This lineman was a big guy, but not aggressive or outgoing. The little running backs took their Napoleon complexes out on the big guy by running by him and shouting “Sissy!” every time he failed to stop them. Rather than fight back to make the play, he would just ignore it and line up and try again the next play.
Well, one day the whole thing just clicked for the big guy and he started making plays. It was a cool thing to see. When he really started getting into a groove, I started putting the jerk guy in front of him and watching him plant that guy in the ground with a thud every time. Except this was just the beginning.
Soon, bruised and beaten, the jerk halfback asked me, “How many times are you going to run this play?” And I responded, “One for every time you called him a sissy.”
I used to teach. I had one kid who would tell me every month when her mom was on her period. She would say something along the lines of, "Mrs. A, my mom is bleeding from her butt again." At least, I hope that is what was going on or that poor lady had some severe hemorrhoids. That would have been painful.
When I was in second grade, there was a boy who was a total jerk, annoying, and an all-around disobedient little brat. He was always getting in trouble with the teacher for one reason or another. Meanwhile, I was mild-mannered and obedient. One day, he was harassing me to no end in the line to go indoors after recess.
So, I say to him, “Kyle, if you keep bugging me, I'm going to scratch your arm so bad it bleeds.” He keeps bugging me and basically calling my bluff, so I do what I promised and scratch him down the forearm, making it bleed a little. When he went whining to the teacher, he must have thought he'd get away with it. Well, he didn't.
The teacher comes to me and asks, "Why did you scratch him?” I told her I'd warned him to stop bugging me or I'd do it. So she only turns to him and says, "Kyle, next time I suggest listening to her warning," and walked off.
I was a kindergarten room mom and during the "what did you do over the summer" sharing, a little girl told the class the most horrifying story I've ever heard. She talked about how on her trip to Hawaii, her dad had ridden a motorcycle and lost control, and it went over a cliff and he didn't make it. At pick-up time the teacher quietly said to the mom, "I'm so sorry about your husband."
The mom simply rolled her eyes up to the heavens and said, "Oh geesh. What has she been saying?" It turns out that her husband was perfectly fine, and they hadn't even left the town over the summer.
I teach the first grade and had a boy who would not stop hitting kids with basketballs. He'd run up and pop the ball right at students. This kid seemed like he was trying to knock other children down, and he'd laugh really hard if he saw someone stumble or if they'd fall after they were hit by his basketball.
After talking with his parents, we told them we'd be taking the balls away from him until after spring break to see if his behavior improved. Well, after spring break was over it didn't take that little jerk even five minutes before he stalked and shot that Spaulding special at this poor little girl, knocking her down.
She cried and pointed at him. As I got up and walked his way, he started to bolt. He ran out of the playground, past the sand pit, and on to the basketball court. He maintained eye contact with me, and before I could take another step, a stray ball from another game bounced off and hit that little jerk square in the face.
He went down like a sack of potatoes. Of course, I ran over to him and made sure he was okay (he's a troublemaker, but he's still a child) and called for the nurse since he was out cold. He woke up with me above him and started crying, saying he'd never do it again. He didn't want to pick up another basketball the rest of the school year.
I once had a student who explained to me that all his neighbors were mad at his dad. I asked him why this was the case. The kid went on to clarify the cause by telling me that his dad had started a fire for insurance money and, thus, lit the whole carport on fire. Many cars were lit on fire that night. No wonder, his neighbors were feeling fiery.
In 8th grade, there was this class clown, Zach. Zach wasn't a terrible person, and he had that lucky combination of charisma and humor that allowed him to win teachers to his side. But one day he decided to pick on me. I'm sitting in science class, and the teacher sits this guy right across from me. I know I'm in for it.
He starts kicking the extra chair at the table while yelling at me to stop. Then he throws his book across the table and again yells at me to stop. Eventually, the teacher yells at me to stop. I try to say I couldn't have done it, but she gives me suspension for a day. I was beyond angry, and I knew I had to get back at him.
There was only three days left in school before summer, so I only had that long to get revenge. I figured the fastest way was to beat him up. So, I wait for English classroom to empty out and as we go into the hall, I punch him as hard as I could in the kidney. He looks at me with fake confidence and yells, “You wanna go?!?!” and hurriedly walks away.
In first grade, we had to make daily journal entries. I related a gem to my teacher through one such entry. I wrote, “We went to Orlando for a week. My mom was trying to light her smoke and almost drove our car over a cliff.” My teacher was pleased with my writing and wrote A++. My mom, however, was not as pleased.
I was the big, quiet kid in 6th grade. It was a new school with new people. I had a few new friends who I hung out with, but everyone pretty much left me alone...except this one obnoxious kid. He'd interrupt me constantly, throw paper balls at me, and thought it was funny to randomly hit me all the time, then run away.
One day, we were coming back to class from lunch and I was running a little behind. About 50 feet from class, I hear someone run up behind me. As I turn, this kid grabs the back of my head, puts one of his legs in front of mine, and pushes. He broke my nose and split my lip wide open. I jumped up and started screaming, and all I saw was fear in his eyes.
He ran into class, claiming someone tripped me in the hallway, right as I came in screaming that I'm going to get him. The teacher runs up and asks what happened. Through the blood and tears, I managed to choke it. Then without hesitation, one of my new friends one-punched the guy out cold. We were super tight after that.
I was a preschool photographer a few years ago. There was this one boy who came onto my set. He couldn’t have been more than four at the time. He said he “wanted to smile real good for Daddy, who crashed his motorcycle and went to Heaven.” I looked at the teacher and she said that it had happened a month or so prior to the day.
I had to fight so hard not to cry. He didn’t understand his dad wasn’t coming back because he was no more. I liked to use words other than “cheese” to get the kids to smile. For instance, I use words like bunny, puppy, kitty, etc. When it came time for this boy’s picture he said, “No, I wanna say Daddy!” This sweet boy gave the best smiles that day and was so full of silly, joyful energy.
Later, while waiting for his classmates to finish getting their pictures, I overheard him ask his teacher, “When is Daddy coming home? I miss him. When can I see Daddy?” It was a rough day after that.
This kid was a very strange seventh grader. In addition to not being able to sit still, which is true of most seventh graders, he lacked self-control in every respect. For example, in his midterm project that he emailed to me, he had written a detailed “creative story” that made me cringe and made my skin crawl across the floor.
On other projects, he never did his share of the work and then blamed his group mates. He turned in maybe two homework assignments for the entire year, but it was somehow never his fault. He was also mean to other kids all the time. I had to put up with this strange, annoying and inappropriate child for the entire school year.
On the very last day of school, this kid stole another kid's iPad from his unlocked locker. He then pawned it off to another kid on the bus ride home...for $10. (This kid? Not that smart). So the buyer, who is also my student, came in bragging to me about this amazing deal he had gotten for an iPad. It was only $10!
Of course, I was suspicious, so I reported it to the administration. They quickly untangled the entire incident and expelled this kid from the school.
I teach preschool. One day my kids were pretending to have a restaurant and were ‘writing,’ aka scribbling, each other’s orders. One older kid was actually learning to write and would ask me how to spell food items. He came up to me and said, “How do you spell whiskey?” I asked him why he wanted to spell that. He told me, “That’s my dad’s favorite drink!”
I told his mom because I thought it was funny, but unfortunately, this fact was related to why she and dad weren’t together anymore.
Back when I was in secondary school, we had a Thai exchange student. He's this small, scrawny kid who didn't speak English that well and, being from a different country and all, he pretty much kept to himself. I decided to befriend him and we got along pretty well, or as well as you can when you can't really communicate too well.
Enter the jerk. He was about two years older than us and loved to pick on said Thai boy. Usually it was just scrapes and bruises, but one day he took it to the next level. The jerk and his whole posse confront us. He challenges the Thai boy to a fight, and meanwhile got his posse to basically beat the daylights out of us.
As this point, the Thai boy is visibly distraught and keeps going, "No fight, no fight." Then the jerk spits in his face. My friend's face completely changes. He grabs the jerk by his shoulders, pins him to the chain-link fence, and proceeds to kick him. The new kid seems to have more strength than his small frame suggests.
The jerk finally collapses, clutching his abdomen and pleading for the boy to stop. He never bothered us again. Apparently, my small friend was a junior Muay Thai champion before he moved away, and though he preferred peaceful interactions, he finally had enough. Can't say I blame him. It was an amazing thing to watch.
I had a little girl tell me every day for like a month that her mommy had a baby in her tummy. I knew that her mom didn’t want more kids for the time being, so we laughed about it all the time. Then, one day, the little girl’s mom comes to pick her up and I’m like oh man, your daughter was talking about the ‘new baby’ again!
That’s when the mom tells me that she actually took a test the day before and it was positive!
I've been a TA for a couple courses at my university, which is fairly competitive and the students are generally all top notch. Once in a blue moon, though, someone slips by the admission process. My worst experience was as a TA for a lower division math course. She was a freshman student, and spoiled doesn't begin to cut it.
Her family was clearly loaded, and I suspect she went to some insanely expensive private school that wrote her application for her. This girl would be in designer clothes and on her phone or laptop the entire time in lecture. Obviously everyone does this sometimes, but this girl was clearly just chatting with her friends and shopping for clothes all the time.
When she failed to turn in the first four problem sets, I sent her a quick email to let her know that homework contributed to a significant portion of her grade. I also said I'd still accept them. I never got a response. So she gets a blatant F on her first midterm. Like, it’s not an F that could be rounded up to anything significant.
She was at a point where she should've just dropped out and try again next semester. I sent another email saying this. This time I got a response, with her stating she could make the grade back next midterm. Alright, I think, suit yourself. So I continue through the rest of the semester. She's still failing...until something absolutely ridiculous happens.
At the last meeting of my discussion section, SHE SHOWS UP! Not just that, but with her parents. Oh my god, it gets better. She stays after the session to introduce me to her parents, and then hands me a stack of papers and informs me that it's all the homework for the semester. Meanwhile her parents are sitting there all proud of their little girl.
I take the stack graciously and, in my most professional voice, let her know that I'd be happy to take a look at it, but she won't get any credit. Her parents' faces completely fall. Her father starts to insult me. So I show them everything: The abysmal attendance record, the 0% homework score, the low, low, low midterm scores.
Now she's starting to tear up and the parents are seriously fuming. Not wanting to put myself in the middle of the rest of the storm, I mumble that I have a class to get to and sprint out of there...but not before I hear the student getting chewed up so loudly that people actually poked their heads out of classrooms. She never showed up for the final.
I am a bus driver and E started riding my bus in January. She noticed that I was knitting a glove on my dashboard and asked who it was for. I told her it was for my daughter, Lucy. She asked if Lucy had any brothers or sisters. So, I told E that Lucy was going to have a little brother, but he didn’t make it. What E said next surprised me with her maturity.
Having heard me, E went on to tell me, “That happened to my mom too. It was really hard on her.” That was maybe the most mature conversation I’ve had with anyone in 2021. I came to find out later that E is a mere nine years old. On a seemingly completely unrelated note, she went on to tell me how mac and cheese is her favorite food.
I had a student who was an entitled little jerk. Like, way more entitled than any of the teens I’ve taught. He thought he could cheat on a test, cuss out a teacher, be cruel to an intellectually disabled student, skip class, throw things at people, etc. Thing is, he could do all this because his mother thought he was perfect and never disciplined him.
She would then immediately try to turn it around on the teachers, saying how they’re always trying to get her child in trouble. Earlier this year, he made an awful remark to a girl classmate who was this nerdy, sweet honors student who would never hurt a fly. But it turns out he messed with the wrong person.
The girl's boyfriend punched the kid right in the face and busted his nose. It was amazing. Even though I obviously had to discipline the boyfriend, I was secretly glad it happened.
When I was in fourth grade, we each had a role model come into the class. I brought in a friend of my dad's. When my teacher asked how we knew each other, I happily stated, "My dad and him met in AA!"
I had a 5th grader who was a know-it-all menace. He'd interrupt me and say, "Well actually Miiiiissssssssss..." and then state some random fact that was often wrong or irrelevant. Well, eventually while on lunch duty, I see that his lunch every day is a can of soda, a bag of chips, and tons of candy, like the bag is busting at the seams.
I alert the principal because I'm worried that his grandmother, who was raising him, wasn't feeding him properly. The principal calls the grandma and grandma gets angry. She was letting him pack his own lunch and wasn't checking it. So, she's embarrassed that we've called her on it. She tells us that she will only pack healthy food now and tells us he can't have ANY candy.
A week later, the kid is still being a little jerk and ticks off another student. In retaliation, the student runs to the principal and says that the kid has been sneaking candy to school every day. When the principal goes to talk to him, the kid shoves a chocolate bar into his mouth and the principal takes away the Blow Pop sucker he has.
This kid proceeds to roll around on his belly across the entire hallway, screeching and crying so hard that he's choking on the half-chewed chocolate bar. That's when a kindergarten student walks by and says, "You look like a baby." The kid stops wallowing long enough to punch the little student. He got suspended, and I got a peaceful classroom.
When we were in the ninth grade, learning about substance use in the health class, my friend raised his hand and said, “My dad does not smoke the usual stuff anymore.” The teacher said, “That’s amazing. I’m so happy for him.” The said friend then went on to complete the fact. He continued by saying, “Yeah, he smokes other things now.”
This one student had an ego so large it could barely fit into room. Sure, he was smart, always scored near perfect, and wanted to go to med school. But he would also do stuff like bring in articles about how one small minute detail was incorrectly taught in class. If he got one point off on a 99% exam, he brought in highlighted notes from the textbook.
Unfortunately, for all of his knowledge, he did not get into medical school. When he found out why, he was devastated. His guidance counselor followed up with one of the med school interviews he had, and the school emailed back and told them how much of a jerk the student had been throughout the entire meet up.
I had a seven-year-old student whose mother was a massage therapist. The student was happy to refer me to her. He, thus, gave me his mom’s business card and said, “She’s a massage therapist and could give you a nice massage. But she overcharges. Like she charges way too much because she likes to buy expensive things.”
One day the visiting yoga teacher came to a third-grade class I was covering. Once there, she then introduced herself to the class and went on to ask if anyone knew what yoga was. A little boy, innocent as can be, said, “Yes! I have seen my parents do it and I have to knock from now on because they like to do it naked!”
I interned in a class with this kid who always thought he was smarter than everyone else. He was pretty smart, but not by too much. Yet he always got paired with kids who weren’t as smart as him, so he would always be super smug when dealing with them. During one parent-teacher conference, we found out exactly where he got it from.
His parents thought he was the smartest kid in the school. They built him up as that and they got him thinking it, too. In this meeting, they even went off on the teacher, saying she “was bringing him down” and that she “was terrible.” The conference ended when the teacher left the room crying. But it didn't take long for sweet revenge.
About a week later, there was an event where parents came to watch their children do math games with other students. Well, the teacher paired this smug little kid with the actual smartest kid in class. The kid got destroyed in the math games. His parents were so flustered, they left before it was all done and took him out of school for the rest of the day.
During my sophomore year of high school, I spent my study hall in the first-grade classroom to help out. And, one day for show and tell, a kid brought in a picture of her mom and uncle. This picture was a very...romantic picture and but was also wrinkled so it looked like it was, at least somewhat, hidden away. Now, this picture was also somewhat recent.
It turns out that the kid had found a picture of her mom's affair. Her mom was wearing lingerie while her uncle was in his underwear. The teacher realized this and kept the picture hidden from the dad until the mom could pick it up.
As a room mom for school parties one of my favorites was a Valentine’s party of second graders. They all made a Valentine box at their homes for the other kids to drop their valentines into. One kid’s was obviously a repurposed case of drinks. She was happy to point this out when it was her turn to describe it. Two kids later, the girl mentions that her box isn’t a drink box. It is, in fact, the box from her mom’s “massager.” I still crack up thinking of that moment.
I was 21. I had just finished my teaching degree a few months earlier and I was relief teaching for the first time. A kid in the class that I was teaching told me that his brother had been on TV the night before. I was really impressed and asked him which TV show his brother was in and he said that he was in Police 10/7.
His brother had been trying to escape the authorities and had been in a car chase.
Last year, I had a quiet girl do a free write about moving to our school in which she described her parents and their best friends living nearby, then building houses in the same neighborhood. Bear in mind that my school is in a constantly growing suburb. Then she described how her mom moved into the best friend’s house next door and the wife moved in with her dad. Yep, they swapped spouses, in neighboring houses.
I texted a mom asking for a grade-card signature to be returned. She said to me that her daughter did not give it to her. I asked the student where her grade-card signature was, and she said that her mom said that she wasn’t going to sign it. Children rat their parents out unexpectedly all the time. Parents blame their kids a LOT!
My daughter informed her entire daycare that “Daddy doesn’t ever wear pants at home.” She’s technically right, I wear shorts. She just never finished the whole sentence. A couple of her teachers have taken to making light of it any time they see me. I can only imagine the things she’s told them that they haven’t told me about.
I did a placement once as a student in a reception class. The teacher asked the class a question about phonics and one little girl put her hand up eagerly. The conversation between the teacher and the said student went something like the following. It was quite enlightening, indeed, as the student talked on guilelessly.
The teacher asked, “Child’s name, can you tell your friends the answer?” The child promptly replied, “My mummy and daddy sleep in different beds. And, my mummy got cross at my brother because he was doing doughnuts in his car and had to pay money for being a silly sausage. And, then we went on holiday, and mummy said daddy is silly.”
My partner worked in a kindergarten and a four-year-old boy told her one day that he had woken up late last night. Upon waking up, he went into the Television Room and he found that his mummy and daddy were laughing because he walked in when they had no clothes on and they were sunbathing in front of the fire.
Not a teacher, but I once had a kid say that their mommy and daddy drink every night. I was suspicious, but later next week I was having a dinner time session with them. Dad was having an IPA. Mom had about two glasses of red wine. It was the same thing during the next couple of dinners. They don't drink too much, but they do have a drink or two for every dinner, but not enough to get tipsy at all. However, the kid just knew that they "drank."
My husband has a student whose mom has a massive crush on him. She tells him all the time about how her mom primps before they do anything online, so she can lean in and say hi to him.
I did a placement once and the students had to talk about what they would do with a million dollars. One kid gets up in front of the class and said to the class unreservedly, "My mum said if she had a million dollars, she would buy lots and lots and lots and lots of a lovely green plant with leaves that would make her relax."
I had a student who would only eat fish and was bullied for it. It was not just fish. It was, in fact, the same type of fish made in different ways for three months. Then it was steak. Then it was pasta. It turns out that his dad worked security for a food distribution warehouse and was setting the trucks up to get robbed so he didn't have to feed his kids.
I had a child once playing on the tire swing. He was a very serious kid and he looked me straight in the eye and said how much he liked the swing at daycare. He went on to say how, when he grew up, he wanted to have a swing just like his mummy and daddy did in their bedroom. Looking his parents in the eye that day, telling them he had a good day, and keeping silent was difficult.
I was discussing homophones with 3rd graders and we were considering the words fare/fair, what they mean, and how they're spelled. I was sure we had exhausted all the meanings: fair weather, playing fair, bus or taxi fare, etc. I thought we had it covered, but no, Heather knew one more—and she accidentally shared her family's darkest secret. She said, "You know, 'fair?' When your mom has a 'fair' and your dad finds out and gets really mad about it?" I'm not often speechless, but that left me floundering for a moment!
An 11th grader was talking about how he moved back with his grandparents when his mom passed away. He mentioned that his mom had also attended this school and so had his dad, but he had never met him. He only knew his dad's first name. So, he said the name in my "get to know other students first-day icebreaker." This is where it gets crazy. A freshman girl asked a few pointed questions, pulled out her phone, and called her dad.
The dad was there within 15 minutes. It turned out that the late mom’s family moved mom out of the city to hide the pregnancy and the dad only knew the child's first name. The mom and dad had only been high school students at the time. Mom moved from a downtown major northern city to Alabama or Louisiana to be with her grandfather. The baby boy got the maternal grandfather’s name.
The dad did not have the money or the resources to track down the mom’s movement. This would be in the pager/cassette days and not during the years of cell phones and Facebook. The dad spent years trying unsuccessfully to track his kid and the kid’s mom down. He, later, settled down, became an EMT, got married, and had three daughters.
Among the three daughters, the oldest daughter was the previously mentioned freshman. There was a GD family reunion in my icebreaker on the first day of school.
One day while I was teaching multi-step equations to seventh graders, a girl asked to speak to me outside. She had these huge brown eyes that were brimming with tears. I walked outside and she just started spilling her guts. She began telling me that her mother wasn't in the country legally. Her older sister’s substance problem was jeopardizing her mother’s security as she was worried about her sister being in trouble, etc.
In addition to all this, her sister would threaten her mom if she didn’t give her money for keeping up her substance use. There was a myriad of family drama she kept running through. After a few minutes, she looked at me and said, “Ms. (my last name), do you want to hear the worst part of it all?” I said that I did. So, she went on.
“I’m still in love with Tristan. And you sat me next to him in our new seating chart and I can’t sit that close to someone I’m in love with when I know he hates me now.” Yes, I moved her seat away from Tristan. That was a few years ago and I am still in close contact with her. She and Tristan did fall out of love. They have luckily both been able to find others.
I was 15 or 16 and teaching the 2- and 3-year-olds at church. It was Easter, and one little boy comes in crying up a storm. Nothing that my friend and I do can console him. About halfway through he stops and just sniffles. At the end when the parents come and pick them up, he sees his dad and starts crying again, telling his dad that he doesn't want anything to do with him. His mom comes and gets him, and my friend and I tell her about her son. She was trying SO HARD not to laugh and told us why. The boy’s dad hit a rabbit on the way to church this morning, and the boy started to cry, thinking it was the Easter Bunny.
My worst teacher asked me, “Didn’t your father ever teach you how to act?” I had to inform him that my father had died four years earlier. Two weeks later, my step-dad comes to pick me up for an appointment saying he’s here to pick up his child. When the teacher was over the phone with the office, he asked, “You mean the deceased father is here for pick up?”
All through high school, that teacher just kept doubling down and never showed remorse for what he had said. He would chase me into other classrooms because I had a hat on and I needed to take it off. This gave me motivation to become the compassionate, empathetic, and awesome teacher that I am today. My kids always get the benefit of the doubt and I respect them.
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