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English Teachers Share The Most Disturbing Assignments Students Have Submitted

Is this homework or 'Exhibit A?'

It's often been said to write down your feelings and your thoughts. Putting pen to paper can free you of life's emotional strongholds. It's always surprising to discover the freedom one finds when telling their story in a form of third person. You can feel the pain but it can't hurt you. Every once and awhile a simple homework assignment can turn into the vigorous waving of a red flag. And once that flag is flown the teacher tends to become the therapist. Educators really should be getting dual checks.

Redditor u/MyNameAlexUgh wanted to know from English teachers about warning signs in the work of their students by asking.... English teachers of Reddit, what is the most disturbing story/assessment a student has ever submitted?

It's too depressing....

Abuse, and more abuse.

Assigning anything that asks them to reflect on something personal or write something creative has a high chance of yielding stories about abuse. Those stories very likely reflect real experiences. Many a visit are paid to the guidance counselors and school therapists.

If you don't work with kids, you might be shocked to learn just how many people are abused in some fashion. If you add in how many kids aren't abused but just have a bad upbringing, it gets really, really depressing. srslymrarm

My Life This Moment

English teacher here. Had an 8th grade student write a "My life at this moment" letter to themselves that they write at the beginning of the year, and read to themselves at the end. I always have a rule that they get full credit if I can just see writing on it and see it's coherent English. Though if they definitely don't want me to read it, they should staple it and I'll just look for writing. I had a girl who went over the top to look, act, sound, and be a boy. She wasn't trans, so I was a bit confused on how exactly she wanted to be viewed, so I just pretended she was tomboy-ish. She was also INSANELY defiant to her male teachers, and I worked my butt off to build a relationship with her. She wouldn't have it, though I was as kind as I could be.

Anyway, the time of year came for me to pass back their letters. By this time, this girl had been moved to a digital learning lab and had been isolated from the Gen Pop. I passed all the letters out and found her's had been left unstapled, though I didnt remember reading it or noticing it wasn't sealed. Curiosity overcame me so I opened it.

My heart broke when I read her rather detailed desire to be away from her step-dad by the end of the year and her goal for that year was to "Escape the godforsaken hell hole." Long story short, that letter ended up being used in court to put her step-dad away for viciously assaulting her for many years. I felt bad for her, but hopefully she's been able to move on, though I doubt it. konigragnar

A Lifeline

In 11th grade we had to write about a "Lifeline" in our lives. Most people wrote about their parents or even a pet. I wrote about my best friend, and girlfriend for a while, that saved me while I was in the depths of anorexia. It was incredibly personal. I let my friend read it and she convinced me to read it out loud when our teacher asked us to share. I panicked when I realized everyone's was positive and not "hey I'm crazy and this person kept me from dying." But my friend pushed me to read it. My teacher was impressed and I had people come up to me for days after with their own stories or praising me for being open. My voice shook the entire time I read it, but it's one of the pieces I'm proudest of. megash36

The Killer Perspective.... 

Students were annotating old news articles about a very famous axe murderer from the late 1800s. One student includes an annotation about how the article reminded her of her father. She helpfully included his name for me to Google, and yep, that is how I found out my student's dad is literally an axe murderer.

Second place goes to a student who wrote from the POV of the Zodiac killer for a creative writing assignment. It was incredibly well written - if it hadn't been, it honestly might have not been so disturbing! But being in the killer's head as he ties up and stabs young couples to death? No thanks.

Oh, and last week someone submitted a horror story in creative writing. I swear to God, she could be a writer for 'Saw' movies. The deaths were graphic and gruesome and... creative? I had to take breaks while reading it because I'm pretty squeamish. whateverreddit88

Matt.... can you hear me?


It might get buried, but I need to chime in, mostly in the hopes that this student finds my comment and knows how much his story stuck with me. The first paper assignment of the semester was to write about life at the university through a sociological lens. This guy who was social, well-liked, in a frat turned in this shocking story.

He was writing about how hard his life was. How he had to scrounge for meals from the trash while seeing all the other students eat happily in the dining halls. He described how he'd seen his friends struck by cars on the winding mountain roads on campus. I was so taken aback, and I kept reading anxiously to see if his story would take a turn.

... A squirrel. The student was writing from the perspective of a squirrel.

This kid was a GENIUS. I told him later how impressed I was, and he shrugs in a very "bro" way, stating "that's the worst thing I've ever written." If you see this, Matt, that's still my favorite paper by a student!! charred_bourbon


Second hand account from colleague submitted during workshop in a undergraduate non-fiction writing class:

Story was about 18 pages, and was submitted by a 50-ish male. Talks about a twelve year old girl who is not the man's daughter but belongs to him and his wife. Talking about how they like to stroke her and caress her naked body and make her eat things out of their hand. The rest of the class read the story for workshop and in disgust and horror e-mailed professor (colleague) who immediately cancelled the workshop and contacted administration about the student.

The thing is - everyone was so shocked that no one got to the very last line in which it is revealed that "the girl" a cat.

Obviously the student was looking for some sort of reaction, which he got. sitsontoilets

The Addict

Had a student submit a paper about growing up with an addict teen brother. He had the room next to her and sometimes when getting clean the parents would lock him in his room and he would have raging withdrawals. She was very young so I imagine there was a lot of medical care and therapy going on that she didn't know about, she just remembered that her brother was screaming and crying in the next room and she would sit in her closet all night long terrified he was going to break through the wall and get her. It was such a heart-rending story and it made me view what families go through in such a different light. Sssnapdragon

A Training Period...

Not an English teacher but when I was in junior college I was a TA for a Psych instructor and I read and graded essays. There was an assignment for students to create an experiment where they trained themselves to create a habit by rewarding themselves after the task (think Pavlov). One male student wrote about his experiment- he chose to train himself to masturbate more often and his reward was masturbating. And he wrote about it in detail. Very sustainable system but so weird to submit to your instructor! vvarmcoffee

"Mary's" Defining Moment.... 

I have my HS students write a "Defining Moment" memoir about a moment where their lives changed in a significant way. I generally see some stories about childhood abuse and things of that nature where I make sure our social work team is aware of their claims, they're getting support, and that's basically it.

However, I did once get a story about the first time a girl in my class had smoked marijuana. EXCEPT, the whole thing was written with the weed anthropomorphized as a beautiful woman named "Mary" that she met and took on a beautiful all-night date.


This thing was about 3 pages long and graphic — we're talking full anatomical descriptions of lesbian sex as an analogy for the experience of getting high for the first time. It just kept going and going, and it was extremely well-written to the point that I was really uncomfortable reading it and had to put it away.

The worst part is she was so excited for me to read it and came in the next day like "Did you read it? Did you like it? I'm super proud!" And I had to basically say, "yea it's super well-written but honestly I just can't be reading something like that written by one of my students."true_spokes

The Manifesto! 

Basically a manifesto about how the student felt ostracized from the school and how he wanted revenge. This was a community college, and he was a freshman.

Over the semester, I could tell he struggled yet he was also insanely talented. Some other students in the class bullied him in my presence, and let's just say I didn't tolerate that at all.

I spent extra time talking to him and trying to help him one-on-one.

One day, he turns in an assignment talking about his desire to exact revenge for his marginalization. He was triggered when everyone on his floor conspired to trick him to go outside (at night and the middle of the winter), then they locked him out of the dorm. A**holes!

I spoke with him immediately about it, and he assured me it was just hyperbole. Regardless, I did have to notify my supervisor. I also spoke with his RA, but the RA couldn't care less. The student ended up dropping out shortly after this. We stayed in touch for a bit, but after awhile, I don't know what happened to him. He was probably the smartest student I had in that class, yet he couldn't make it because of his own personal problems and torment from other students. Ugh. jorocall


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.