Most of us remember school assemblies as tedious, drawn-out affairs, where we spend more time catching up on our sleep than listening to announcements.
These Quora users had a bad experience at a school assembly that went beyond boredom. Hey, teachers, leave them kids alone!
[Sources listed at the end of the article.]
"I remember it well.
It was a normal day in 8th grade, when we were abruptly called to an assembly. Nobody really knew what it was about, but kids thought that it would probably be about bullying.
Actually, it was an assembly about how to properly treat each other. One by one, each member of the administration—the principal, vice principal, and counselors—all went up to the front of the auditorium and talked about how they had overheard students saying mean things to their friends during lunch. Then the principal stood up and talked about the horrible language he had heard in the hallways. He had compiled a list of what he called 'trash can words,' which we could never use at school.
The thing was, many of us had never even heard some of the more obscure swear words before. After the assembly, all the kids excitedly looked up the new vocabulary and learned what they meant. So ironically, in the schools effort to keep us from using curse words, they taught us a whole bunch of them."
"We had our 6th-grade orientation in the gym. The gym is outdoors, which means there are no walls, only four large metal pillars supporting the roof. It was a really sunny day.
Our principal was making some remarks, just as the heat was reaching a boiling point. Suddenly, we watched in shock as one of our older teachers, sitting behind the principal, fainted on the spot and slipped off his chair. We later found out he had suffered heat stroke. Everybody was on their feet, screaming and pointing, which Im sure helped a lot. Me, I was kind of freaked out."
"In 6th grade, there was a spirit assembly with a ventriloquist as a guest performer.
I don't think I've seen anyone that's worse at any vocation than this guy was.
He was trying to convince us that a little stuffed monkey he had was talking. Except he didn't move the monkeys mouth, so it just sat, mouth half-open, looking like it was trying to yawn.
On the other hand, you could see his mouth moving from fifty feet away.
Don't get me started on what he was actually saying.
Ventriloquist: 'Did you know that good little boys and girls eat their vegetables?'
Monkey: 'No, Mr. I!'
Ventriloquist: 'It makes them nice and strong!'
Monkey: 'Wow Mr. I!'
Good presentation for preschoolers. Not a particularly good presentation for middle schoolers.
Everyone who was there is now in high school and the dude is remembered to this day. I guess that's one way to make an assembly memorable."
(1/2) "We were in 6th grade, and had been preparing for weeks for the special graduation ceremony our school has. We had been preparing by learning some sappy song about 'moving on' that we had to sing in front of the whole school, and literally doing practice runs where we would walk on stage, shake the principal's hand, and get off.
So the big day finally comes. Note that this is in Australia in early December--which means its summer. The grade 6s have a big party planned for afterwards, with ice cream and everything back at school. At around 9:00 am we leave our school to walk up to the bigger school where the assembly is held, all whilst wearing our heavy, itchy, thick, dark-colored blazers (or else we will tarnish the schools reputation!). Were also not allowed to bring water, just because they said so.
After weve sat through the impossibly boring, eye-wateringly tedious first two hours of the assembly, the grade 6s are ushered outside to be called onto the stage. Then, whilst standing on the risers, blazers still on, hot spotlights shining on us, in Australian summer with air conditioners that barely work, and to top it off, no water, the head girls made their speeches, which took around 30 minutes. By this point, everyone is over it and just wants to go home. Finally, the head girls finish talking, the principal gives one more short speech, and then we start singing that stupid song. And thats where it got interesting."
(2/2) "About half way through the song, it begins. One of the girls in the front row begins to sway back and forth drowsily. Before anyone can reach her she topples over, face first onto the floor.
Teachers rushed over to help. Meanwhile, we were told to KEEP SINGING! Then someone else, in the back row this time, falls backwards right off the stage (that girl actually broke her ankle on the fall), and, one by one, people keep dropping like flies. I think during the song about 7 people fainted. Then, immediately after we finished, a few more did, just because. So, by this point nearly a dozen people people had fainted. I think 1 or 2 have been taken to hospital. Everyones freaking out.
We eventually get a bus ride back to school, but the mysterious fainting continues. Not really sure why--I think a lot of people were really freaked out. Anyway, by the end of the day, about 15 people have fainted and 6 ambulances have been called. That was it. That was the worst assembly ever."
(1/2) "In fifth grade, the whole school was summoned to watch a behavior lesson styled in the form of a game show, called Students Know Best. On the stage would be two teachers and a predetermined student, and the host, who was another teacher, would ask a question relating to behavior. Students in the audience were supposed to chant yay! for the correct answers, and boo! for the incorrect answers. Heres a sample round:
Host: When you see artwork hanging on the walls, you should…
Teacher #1: Touch it!
Teacher #2: Rip it off!
Student: Admire it quietly!
(2/2) "While this may have resonated with some of the younger kids, we fifth graders found this activity unnecessary and tedious. So, predictably, we amused ourselves by calling out 'Boo!' when the answer was 'Yay!' and vice versa.
The question, 'What do you do when you receive your homework?' came up. One of the teachers, who was supposed to be wrong, said, 'Throw it away!'
This time, it wasnt only the fifth graders who yelled 'yay!' It was the entire school! You could see the horror on the teachers faces, but we were too busy laughing to be scared.
Later that day, our teacher had to read to us the school rules, because apparently some of the teachers thought we didnt know what kind of behavior was appropriate. But it was still worth it!"
(1/2) "Today, at school, every high school student was forced to go to an hour-long assembly about how to graduate from college, debt-free.
Super helpful, right? Because all you need to do that is get a good explanation, right?
Well, maybe it could have been helpful, if the presenter actually gave us some tips on how to go to college debt free. (Hint: she didnt.)
First, she talked about scholarships, saying that they are 'good because they give you money to do stuff with.' That is an actual quote.
Then, she told us that you should always work hard. Like, whoa! Totally new information there!
Finally, she said she would share with us how she herself went to college debt free."
(2/2) "It turns out, she didnt get or even apply for any scholarships because she chose to go to a community college that only cost her $500 each year in tuition, paid for by her parents.
This led perfectly into her next point: that you should always accept money from people, 'even if you have to ask for it sometimes.'
She ended by saying, 'Good luck on not spending any of your own money on college! Youre welcome, my little ones.'
The whole thing just felt like a stuck-up know-it-all talking down to a group of two-year-olds about things that they already know."
(1/2) "Our school tends to be very annoying when it comes to the dress code, especially the skirts. Skirts must be black and knee-length, they declared, however the school didnt sell official skirts, so nobody could find a skirt that was the appropriate length.
The day they announced the new rule for skirt length, they told us to do the following during assembly, in front of all of the secondary students (theres around 280 students in my school):
Everyone stand up.
Put your hands in front of you.
If youre not a girl, be seated. If youre a girl, keep standing up.
If youre wearing a skirt, keep standing up. If youre wearing pants, be seated."
(2/2) "All the skirt-wearing girls were on display for the whole assembly. The point was to show how a lot of girls didnt have the appropriate skirt, most of them being around just an inch short.
Thank goodness I was wearing pants. That said, it still left a terrible taste in my mouth. You cant just do that to people.
A few days after the incident, my mom (who happens to be a lawyer), told me that some of the mothers wanted to pursue legal action against the school for making the girls do that.
I also think the rule itself is sexist. When you say that girls should cover up so that a boy can concentrate on his studies, you are reinforcing the idea that boys are not responsible for their own actions, and that all responsibility lies with the girl. You're also treating the boys' education as more important. That's really messed up."
"Once, our school ended up on television because some kids in my grade level had thrown toilet paper all over the school as a prank.
The next day, our principal summoned all three grade levels to the cafeteria to give us a stern lecture. He then chewed out my grade level by calling us the worst 7th-graders hes ever taught. How fun."
"This one takes the cake.
We were at our fifth grade graduation ceremony, and the principal had gathered us all in the cafeteria to hand out awards. One by one, everybody around me goes up to the stage.
Hes approaching the C section. Being an over-achiever even at that age, Im excited to receive my cheap little certificate. 'Laura Chen?' he calls out. 'Laura Chen?' I furrow my eyebrows. Wait, what?! I dont know anybody named Laura Chen.' The principal looks around the cafeteria. 'Laura Chen?' he calls out, sounding uncertain.
Then he looks down at the certificate again. 'Oh, wait, I meant, 'Laura Chiu.' Sorry, sorry.'
I walk up to the stage amidst thunderous applause and stifled laughter."
"After 13 Reasons Why came out, our school had a huge assembly about bullying. But here's what's messed up: the point of the assembly was to inform all students that if the victim didn't tell any teachers or staff that they were being bullied, the school couldn't be held responsible for whatever happened.
Are you kidding me? It was a flashback to when all of my friends and I were bullied throughout grade school, and we would get in trouble for it. I'm glad I only have three days left in that school. Oh and P.S., I got in trouble for speaking to the assistant principal afterwards and complaining about the assembly."
(1/2) "I dont even remember what the assembly was for, just what happened to me during it.
I was reading a book, as I was wont to do, when out of nowhere a Gatorade bottle full of tobacco spit hit me in the back of the head, drenching my hair and shirt. (Thankfully, my body took the brunt of the blow and my book was saved. Thats the important part.) My friends started screeching with stunned laughter while I just sat there in shock, trying not to think too hard about the smell.
One of my friends got up to explain what just happened and asked the teacher if I could leave.
'No, everybody has to stay until the end.'
I had never sat so still in my entire life, slowly counting down the seconds until I would be allowed to leave. When all the other students finally filed out, I stood up, still dripping with tobacco juice, picked up the bottle that had landed beside me, and made my way to the office."
(2/2) "The secretary didnt even blink when I showed her the bottle and explained what happened. 'Put it in the trash and sit down. Ill get you a gym shirt to change into,' she said disinterestedly.
While I was waiting for her to return, the vice principal walked past me and did a double-take. 'What happened to you?'
I retold my story.
'Well, what were you thinking, throwing the bottle away? That's evidence! No, I dont want to hear it. Go get it out of the trash right now. Im getting Officer Dickey.'
So I got to sit in my dripping, cold, tobacco-stained clothes while the schools officer interrogated me.
They never found out who threw the bottle."
"In sixth grade, we had an assembly about the weirdest thing ever: sending 'nudes' via text.
Only our grade was required to attend, whereas assemblies usually included 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. None of my classmates understood why we got this lecture. The majority of us didnt have a phone, we didnt know anything about physical intimacy--blame that on the health teachers--and we sure didnt know what 'nudes' were.
We sat in the auditorium for 1 hour, while a police officer put up pictures of actual nudes on the projector. I cringe just remembering it.
Later, we found out that they hadn't held that lecture for any grade before us, nor after us, as I found out in 7th grade. It definitely didn't benefit us in any way, either. If anything, that lecture was the reason that in 7th grade, all the horny boys started asking girls to send them nudes."
"Not necessarily a bad assembly, but a revealing one. Ninth grade orientation at my daughters high school. Its a Chicago public high school. They had two orientations at the same time: one for the students, and one for the parents.
The parents were ushered into the auditorium. Once settled in, we had two hours of PowerPoints and speakers. And almost all of them revolved around the same message: How to get 'free' stuff from the government.
The first speaker went on for 15 minutes about how important it was to fill out the students parental income form, so the school can get extra taxpayer funds for having poor students. It wasnt for free or reduced lunch. All students got 'free' lunch anyway, if they needed it or not.
There were presentations about what to do if youre homeless or living on someones couch or in a car; how to play sports if you cant afford the equipment; how to get government-funded translation services if you need them, and so on.
There was also a long presentation about the schools discipline policy. The message I got from that was: We expect every student to have a run-in with the law at least once a year.
There was just one short presentation on the actual courses that were being offered."
"In 5th grade, my elementary school was trying to get kids to be healthier, so for snack time, they gave all of us either a fruit or vegetable depending on the day. That day, they brought in fresh peaches and I love peaches so I was very excited. I ate my peach, then our class went down to the school assembly.
While walking down to the gym for the assembly, I noticed something was wrong. My face was very itchy, so I excused myself to the bathroom. I just about screamed when I saw myself. The lower half of my face was all red with small bumps covering it. In my head, I was panicking because I didnt want anyone to see me like this, so I splashed some water on my face to somehow make it better, but of course that didnt work. I went down to the assembly, sat with my class and kept my head down.
During the assembly, many people in my class noticed it and so for the whole assembly I was looking at the ground. A boy named noticed my face and asked me what happened. I just told him I thought it was the peaches.
After the assembly, we got to go home early. I showed my mom with tears in my eyes because the bumps were still there after hours. Long story short, turns out Im semi-allergic to the acids in the skin of the peaches. Nice."
"Our teachers went on strike one day, and rather than send us home the principal brought us all into the gymnasium and regaled us with war stories and such for hours while the administration tried to come to terms with the teachers. Im not exaggerating when I say 'hours.' This was in high school.
The funny part is that a couple of months later some of the students got angry about something and staged a 'strike' of their own. One of my teachers said something about how terrible it was that kids had walked out, and we reminded him that he had been on strike just a couple of months ago. He said, 'Well, thats different.'
'Of course its different,' someone said. 'The students aren't getting paid while theyre out there.'
Ouch. Truth bomb in the class room. The teacher stuttered, then quickly changed the subject."
"In Primary School, we once had a whole school assembly.
I was in Year 4 at the time.
Anyway, the headmaster was talking, and I could hear two of the upper-year students behind me chatting away.
I turned around to ask them to be quiet--yep, I was a suck-up that hated getting into trouble in Year 4.
When I turned back around, the headmaster pointed, from the front of the bloody assembly hall, at me, and asked me to stand up. 'You. Why were you speaking?'
'I was telling the two behind me to be quiet.'
'Is that true?'
'Go to my office.'
Suffice to say, he didnt believe me, and I got into a huge amount of trouble for speaking during a critical assembly."
"I once experienced a spontaneous bone fracture during a school assembly. That sucked. A lot.
I had broken this particular bone (in the base of my spine) several times before and it had never healed properly, but it had been a few years since my last break and there were zero warning signs on the horizon.
So I was just sitting there, literally doing nothing, and crack: the bone in my spine re-fractured. I was only 12 and the pain was so excruciating and so sudden that at first I thought I was dying.
I had to walk home after the assembly. With my backpack hitting the fractured bone with every step. In the rain."
These comments have been edited for clarity.