People Break Down Which Incorrect Things Their Elementary School Teachers Told Them

While school was everyone's favorite activity growing up, something that inevitably made the experience worse was an indignant teacher.

Occasionally a student might have a question the teacher can't answer, or they might know something the teacher doesn't. While it would make sense for the teacher to be the life-long learner they urge their students to be, and to address the new information, sometimes the new information leads to disaster.

Redditor VandyThrowaway21 asked:

"What's something an elementary school teacher told you that was totally incorrect?"

Plethora of Knowledge

"I got sent to the principal's office for using the word 'plethora.' The teacher thought it was a swear word. So did the principal."

"And yes, they looked it up. And there is some obscure, arcane definition that means a swelling of a body part. This, of course, is the only definition my teacher knew, not the extremely common one."

- DenL4242

That's Not How That Works

"My fifth-grade teacher once said, 'The higher you go up on a mountain, the hotter it gets because you're getting closer to the sun.'"

- Major-Panda-1775

Moon or Sun

"That the moon emits light, just like the sun. As a nerdy kid interested in space, I told her that it’s actually reflecting the light of the sun, but she did not believe me."

- Mandys14

Legally Speaking

"That in a court of law, we are guilty until proven innocent. She confidently told us that multiple times, pretty sure she got it backwards."

- Kainerobins

Wrong Equation

"6th Grade Me: But what happens when you subtract a negative number from a negative number?"

"Teacher: You... can't do that."

- I_Code_Stunned

Vampire Bats

"Teacher asked us to name as many types of bats as we could once, and I had a bit of an obsession, so I rattled off: Common pipistrelle, Greater horseshoe, Greater mouse-eared bat, and Vampire."

"I mentioned vampire last as I thought it would have an impact, and the class did not disappoint."

"But the teacher was forced to close off the discussion by claiming that Vampire Bats don't really exist. I then whipped out my bat book and held up the page, and got sent to the principal's office."


- ramriot

Maybe in a Workday

"I had a primary school teacher ask the class how many hours were in a day. I proudly put up my hand and said '24.' She said no. So someone else said 12. She said no."

"Her answer was eight. There are eight hours in a day. I still don't know whether she was trying to ask about a work/school day, but asking eight-year-olds doesn't really clarify that, especially when she said in a day."

- moisiebug

How Family Drama Starts

"That I couldn't have blue eyes if my mom had brown eyes. Thus began a lifelong obsession with genetics so I could prove her an absolute f**king fool."

"Bless my mom's single recessive gene she passed to me. I missed the blonde, but I'll take the blue eyes."

- PeppermintNya

It's a Plane

"Middle school not elementary, but my sixth-grade science teacher told the class that sound travels faster than light because 'if a plane is flying overhead, you hear it before you see it!'"

- gain_glowsack_sun

Art is Personal

"That there was no such thing as a black flower. She put a big X through my painting."

- Splattacus

Good Handwriting

"You will need to write in cursive once you get to middle school and beyond."

"Seventh-grade teachers explicitly prohibited kids turning essays in written in cursive. Don't think I ever saw it in high school, college, or throughout my career except from older people." - Leeroy74

A Wholesome Apology

"I had a teacher try to tell the class that Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus were the only planets known to have rings."

"I raised my hand and added that Jupiter had rings too, but that they were so faint they were hard to see."

"She vehemently denied it."

"When I politely (yes, really) told her that I had just seen it in a book, she gave me detention for trying to correct her in front of the class."

"The next day, before class began, she approached me with an encyclopedia opened to a page about Jupiter, and apologized."

"She told the class I was indeed right, and that it's important to listen and learn from people even when we think we are 100% right. One of the more wholesome moments I can remember from school in my youth."

- PocketBuckle

Can't Get the Time Back

"When I was in kindergarten, we had a punishment system that was basically at recess, you had to stand along the fence at recess while the other kids played."

"A minor infraction was just like five minutes and then you could go. Something more was 10 minutes. And so on, including standing there the whole time. And you couldn’t talk while standing on the fence (even to the teacher especially to ask how much longer) or you’d have time added."

"One time I got five minutes for talking in class. But the teacher forgot and didn’t realize I was still there until the end of recess. And I couldn’t say anything because you couldn’t talk."

"And she apologized, but it is a bit like, you can’t get time back, even if you want to."

- PhiloPhocion

Behind-the-Scenes Moment

"I was a pre-service elementary teacher years ago, and our science instructor was teaching us how you can only see when there is light present. A large cohort of my classmates argued she was wrong because they could see when it was dark outside."

"The purpose of the lesson was to learn how students form misconceptions about scientific facts based on their personal observations of the natural world... flew over their heads a bit."

- banjho

About Those Methods Classes...

"So I teach pre-service elementary teachers in their science methods class and as an astrophysicist, it baffles me how much my soon-to-be-teachers just don’t know about our world and just science in general."

"Like last semester, I had to convince several students that the moon was not a star. And since we can only spend one week on astronomy topics, I can guarantee that a few of them will forget and go back to thinking the moon is a star…"

- astrobre

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