Teachers have seen it all: horrifying bullies, brutal hygiene practices, sudden tragedy, the soaring highs and crashing lows of teenage love.
Even a short career could cover each of those a few times.
And yet there is another characteristic teacher moment that seems to dominate more and more, particularly in recent times. It is, of course, the regular run-ins with overbearing parents.
Often called helicopter, or even snowplow parents, these are the pressure packing driving force behind so many students from high school all the way down to elementary school.
These parents want success for their child at any cost and always. Anything less, as their logic would suggest, would initiate a calamitous chain reaction that would end in the utter downfall of the rest of that child's entire life.
This severe parent energy is expressed in many ways, both direct and indirect. One of the most common, however, is through help on homework assignments.
When a parent steps way too far in to help complete their child's project, it's obvious and frustrating for the teacher. Some of Reddit's teachers shared their favorite experiences.
The Ideal Assignment
"I taught elementary art classes for a few years, and a lot of time would have crossover lessons with certain subjects."
"One year we had the second graders do a project for their unit on Native Americans, where they had to make dioramas of a type of Native American house of their choosing, and then write a little two paragraph essay on who lived in that style of house and why it was built that way."
"Most kids made Tipis or wigwams out of construction paper and birch bark and paper towel rolls. we had a few kids who were clearly getting help from their parents, but it was obvious the kid had input and done the essay. Standard stuff."
"Then we had a kid come in with, I sh** you not, a completely accurate model of Cliff Palace, Colorado. It was stunning."
"Turns out, his dad was a sculptor, and his mom worked at our local museum, as a restoration expert."
Forging Ahead for Success
"Penmanship - no kidding, kid had the maid write it." -- neoldguy
"When I was a babysitter in junior high/high school, I would promise the kid I was babysitting after school that if he did more than half of his math homework, I would do the rest if he went to bed on time."
"I made sure to write exactly like him (holding the pencil awkwardly) and get enough wrong that it wouldn't be obvious."
"I know it was wrong BUT I just wanted an hour to myself to watch TV!!" -- Spasay
When Even the Kid is Upset
"When the student came in crying while holding the project and when asked what happened she announced that she was frustrated that her mom did the whole project, it looked nothing like how she wanted it to, and wasn't allowed to really do anything on it."
"This wasn't the first assignment that came in from this student that was clearly done by the mum but the student finally had had enough of having her education taken from her."
"6th grade research project that ended in a 3 page paper. One kid turned in a 10 page paper. And it definitely wasn't a bad attempt at plagiarism."
"It kind of felt like the mom was missing her own academic years."
The Plot Thickens
"This discovery was a collaboration between me and another teacher."
"The student in question submitted an assignment that showed no cohesion or ability to connect ideas (Told me about how to 'make' detergent from kiwi fruit in 500 words, the task was a 1500 word assignment on a DNA extraction experiment)..."
"...and then the same week submitted an A standard assignment to their psychology teacher with excellent flow, arguments and great conceptual synthesis."
"English as a foreign language teacher here. During lockdown last year a student sent in a test that had much better work than he usually did."
"When I googled his words, sure enough, he had copied it by mashing the first part of sentences from one source to the second part of sentences from another source. It did at least make sense, but it was still not his work."
"When I confronted him about cheating he said 'I don't think I cheated, cause my mom helped me with it and she wouldn't cheat!'" -- NonCaelo
"12-year-old kid brings in a BEAUTIFUL galleon. All the other kids' galleons look like they are cut out of styrofoam using a butter knife, or some kind of strange 50/50 amalgamation of cardboard and hot glue..."
"...and then there's this kid with a wooden galleon, complete with rigging, cloth sails, a stand...after talking to him I finally get him to admit that his parents had gone to a shop and ordered a custom-made ship."
"What the heck?!?"
A Shining Example
"Not a teacher but in middle school I procrastinated as most kids do and forgot about project to make a brochure about a country. My parents stayed up all night helping me (doing the majority of it)."
"Years later underclassmen would tell me that same teacher would pull my project out every year and tell them what hard work looks like."
Jury's Still Out
"Middle school science project, kid came in with a crude internal combustion engine, having previously failed science three quarters in a row." -- Emperor_Cartagia
"I think some people are just naturally good at this stuff though."
"I had a friend growing up who got horrible grades and was in trouble all the time at school."
"He would ask for me to come play with his go cart at their house and I always had to tell him no because to him playing with the go cart was taking it apart and putting it back together again. I wanted to drive the thing."
"He ended up failing out of high school and went on to a trade school and did much better." -- tc3590
Worst of Both Worlds
"As a student, I remember in woodworking that we have to make a foldable chair that we have to work on the whole sem. In the end mine was a f***ing safety hazard aka it can be sit upon but there's like nails ready to skewer your a**."
"Scared to submit that i literally bought new materials outside class and let my dad do it. Teacher was shocked on how good it was and question my authenticity."
"In the end i confessed that it was my dad but my teacher's ego was so high probably thinking he can humiliate me in front of class so he told me to bring the 'original chair.' He sat on it and punctured his a** and fell because the chair did not support hos weight."
"I got suspended not because i hurt him but because i was cheating lmao"
The Jig is Up
"We were in quarantine for the final quarter of the year. I had a student transfer to my roster the first day of it. He completed all of his assignments and got 100s on all tests."
"I got him again this year. Kid can barely read, can't form a grammatically correct sentence and accomplishes nearly nothing."
Missing the Point
"Every year I assign a problem the first day of Calculus to understand how the students handle stress, complete work, and their skill level. If an Engineer sees it they will solve it using material the students don't understand."
"Last year I got a new record of Engineers doing their children's homework. I also got an angry email from a parent (MS in CS from MIT) saying I shouldn't start with CALC III."
"I completed the problem and cited my sources in a Precalculus book."
"He then tried to hack my website with their homework problems. It also took him two days to write 5 lines of python for his daughter's homework."
"He's the head of the coding division for an aerospace company. He had a blog post about how over coming obstacles leads to growth. I hope his daughter gets to leave when she is 18 and find out who she really is."
"Pretty easy to tell in art class. One day the student can't draw a square properly and the next day he comes in with a perfectly rendered 3 dimensional still life with depth and shading."
"Separate incident, and even more egregious, a girl didn't even hand in a year end project herself. She spent many classes refusing to do any work in class."
"Then after the project is due, someone else I've never seen comes by with an amazing drawing and said that the student drew this and wants to submit it. Ummmm.... how stupid do you think I am?"
A Thankless Effort
"I don't have one of these, but I have the opposite."
"One time I had a project where I had to make a miniature 'wattle and daub' wall in primary school. I knew how it was meant to work, and 'how' to do it, but for the life of me I couldn't get it to work."
"So my stepdad tried to help me. We spent hours trying to get it to work, and failed miserably, but in the end I had something to take to class."
"Teacher said I obviously hadn't spent any time trying to do it and failed me for the assignment."
Only Half the Battle
"A school chum mine once 'wrote' a perfect, amazing, compelling story for a French creative writing class. Only problem was they couldn't read it."
"Her mother had been forcing their au pair to do all of the friend's homework and the email to her. The mother never realized the friend knew zero French (because she wasn't actually learning it!) We were in boarding school."
"The French au pair took care of Friend's little brother back home. She had never met Friend and assumed Friend could read it."
"Friend's report is infamous for how awful it was to have heard. I felt both terrible for her and impressed that no one had caught her before this report."
Take Your Dad's Esoteric Weapons to School Day
"Not a teacher. I was the student. Senior English."
"I rolled into school with a 18" tall, full steel, fully functional guillotine, bored to fit your standard #2 pencil to use it on for the demonstration. Cut many clean in half."
"I almost got suspended for bringing a weapon to school, after someone got their finger in under the blade, and it made its way to the bone from about 2". Had they had the blade all the way up when it slipped, it'd of taken their finger off."
"My dad was a machinist."
"A friend had a trebuchet, on a semi trailer. His dad parked it out front. We launched gallons of milk round about 500 yards with it. Hit a house over the football field, across the street, in a neighborhood."
"That was a fun day."
"During quarantine, we have had to institute a no parents on the room with you who like you do schoolwork."
"The reason being a 16 year old girl and her mother would lie in bed together all class and the mother could be heard telling her daughter exactly what every answer was."
"I had the girl in previous years, and her homework was always leagues better than what she ever did in class, that explained a whole lot."
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The US is represented in the majority of some of the biggest films recognized worldwide–from iconic movies like American Grafitti to The Color Purple, to recent critically-acclaimed films like Minari and Moonlight.
Even classic American sitcoms like Friends are known the world over as the ultimate example of American comedy.
But there are plenty of misconceptions about American culture seen in some of these entertainment offerings that foreign audiences seem to miss, and it's time to set the record straight.
For starters, an apartment in New York City is not at all spacious like the one that was inhabited by Ross, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, and Chandler. So there's that.
Curious to hear more examples of what our friends across the Atlantic could stand to learn, Redditor Jazzlike_Fondant_518 asked:
"Americans, what’s something Europeans need to hear?"
American Redditors had a thing or two to say about how we roll here in the States.
"Free, clean, omnipresent public restrooms are indeed possible."
Vouching For The Myth
"As a British person who now lives in the US I would say public toilets is something the US does really well. They are everywhere, accessible and usually very clean. Europe definitely needs to catch up on this."
Driving In Circles
"We have roundabouts here. They exist. Stop claiming we don't."
Preconceived notions can be bye-bye.
Nothing Cool About This
"The flavor of America is not cool ranch."
Maintaining Best Indoor Air Quality
"Invest in hvac and soon cause it won't get cheaper or cooler."
"A large portion of Americans are rational and moderate people, and what you see on the television isn't indicative of every American you meet."
"America isn't the only country with racial issues."
Europeans, take note.
"It’s past time you take James Corden back."
It's A Big Problem
"Europe is getting fat too."
Kernel Of Truth
"Putting corn on pizza doesn't make it 'American pizza'. It just makes it disgusting."
"A good looking guy smoking a cigarette is not a movie."
Despite everything in the news happening in the States creating division and leaving people feeling dejected, a good majority of US citizens are not jerks.
There are loads of kind, considerate, empathetic, and well-behaved people living here.
Europeans often don't get to hear this since much of the media focuses on iniquitous behavior.
Humanity is still intact here.
At least that's what I still believe.
I admit, and this might as well be heresy to lots of people, that I just don't like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
I know ya'll love it, but there's very little about it that I feel accurately captures the feeling of magic and whimsy that I experienced while I read Road Dahl's stellar book.
Before you get on my case, I'll emphatically deny liking Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... because it's also terrible.
You just can't please some people (namely me), right?
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor Dame87 asked the online community,
"What is a film that gets a huge amount of praise but you think is awful?"
Paranormal Activity (2007)
"Paranormal Activity. I've seen scarier crap in a public toilet."
When it came out it was pretty freaky and I still wasn't in love with it. It's the definition of average.
The Notebook (2004)
"The Notebook. Both leads are so unlikeable and horrible to each other it's not even enjoyable in a 'so bad it's good' way."
"Especially when she actually breaks up with him, gets in a stable relationship with another guy who's not awful...and then ditches that guy to get back with the main love interest because respectful relationships are sooo boring, everyone real love requires being unable to be in the same room without coming to literal screaming matches."
Honestly, aside from some very good acting, the script of this film is pretty terrible.
But it's Nicholas Sparks, we're talking about.
The Blind Side (2009)
"The Blind Side. They turned an interesting real life story into Hollywood crap."
Even the film's subject dislikes it.
Sandra Bullock beating her competition for THAT? She was much better in Gravity.
"Frozen. I hate it too much, but I can’t help it. People kept saying how it was the best Disney movie ever and it wasn’t even top ten."
Disney really did this film a disservice by shoving it down everyone's throats for much of the last decade.
Les Miserables (2012)
"I know Les Misérables was super acclaimed and all that, but it was really nothing like the book. It made me sad."
It wasn't meant to be an adaptation of the book, it was meant to be an adaptation of the musical (which a lot of people don't like because it condenses many of the elements from the book).
That said, I can't stand this film either. It's horribly directed.
"Crash won Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing awards. Received six Academy Award nominations. I thought it sucked."
You mean the film in which Sandra Bullock is cured of her racism after she falls down the stairs?
"Grease. I HATED it. I can appreciate the choreography, but the storyline is awful, cheesy (not to mention misogynistic, which at my first viewing I didn’t know what that was). Couldn’t stand Stockard Channing’s character. Really bad acting too."
It's just a bit too hokey for my taste – it makes it difficult to enjoy.
I did see a stage production years ago that was a lot more fun.
Black Panther (2018)
"It has a nice looking setting, and it was good to see a movie featuring a majority black cast with a positive/comic book storyline rather than the stereotypical urban/hang setting. So to that end it read a good movie."
"At the same time, it was also just yet another unmemorable marvel movie - I know I have seen it, but I have no memory of what actually happened in it. Remove the political/seeing element of it and it gets completely lost in the crowd."
Considering that Marvel films do absolutely nothing for me, I was not surprised by Black Panther or the fact that it was more of the same.
Meet the Parents (2000)
"Meet the Parents. It’s just two hours of being vicariously stressed out and embarrassed for Ben Stiller."
Something tells me this movie likely has not aged well. It would not surprise me at all if this turned out to be the case.
"Avatar. It's just Pocahontas in space, God dammit."
I prefer Dances with Wolves in space myself.
I rewatched this earlier during lockdown and dropped my DVD off at a local community center afterward. And who the hell asked for three more sequels?
We all have our tastes, sorry to disappoint. Besides, we're certain that you have a film or two you dislike in your arsenal.
Have thoughts about other films that are not included here? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
Even though many of us have interesting events in our lives to share at a get-together, there is always someone who can top your story with a life event that can be a little too zany to be believed.
"What’s your wildest story that sounds too far-fetched to be true?"
Redditors' interactions with animals were either empowering or terrifying.
A Chihuahua's Hero
"Mine is when I was in high school I lived out in the countryside of Central Texas. I was just kind of bumbling around on the property and my mom's little chihuahua was tagging along. I heard a bird, saw a fast moving shadow, and threw my arm out, slapping a hawk out of the sky as it tried to get my mom's chihuahua."
"Cut my arm pretty good, but saved that little rat of a dog. The chihuahua went on to pass away at a smooth 19 years old."
Brush With An Owl
"I worked nights in college. I'd always take my two dogs out to pee when I got home and one late night an owl tried to snatch my Chihuahua but thankfully missed. My golden retriever ran back inside like the owl was going to somehow take his 60lb a** but my chi stood his ground like he could take it on. I got him inside and was much more careful after that. He, too, passed at 19. I miss him."
"I was almost drowned by a pod of dolphins while surfing at Salt Creek, Orange County, CA. I got up on a wave and one of them knocked me over, 2 wave pin down on a 5-7 ft day."
These could be plot points in a movie.
"I was surfing in Santa Barbara County when I was a kid, maybe 14 or 15. When I would come in from a surf, I had the habit of undoing my leash from my leg while I was walking in the shallow water. Unbeknownst to me, the other side of the leash that connects to the board had come off. I lost my leash. I searched around the tidal zone but no luck. I was bummed but I just moved on."
"Three weeks later, I was surfing in Ventura county, and as I was walking in from the surf, a piece of kelp wrapped around my leg. I reached down to pull it off. It wasn’t kelp, it was my leash I’d lost a dozen miles north a few weeks back. It had algae and stuff growing on it, but no mistaking it was absolutely my leash."
The Origin Of Love
"When my dad and step-mom met, my dad swore he’d met her before, but couldn’t remember when or where. Eventually, he decided he’d seen her in Cody, Wyoming, the town where he grew up. She swore she’d never even been to Wyoming (she’s from Oregon and that’s where they met)."
"Several years later, after they’d been married a while, step-mom mentions to her mom that my dad swears he met her in Cody, but she’s never been there. Her mom says 'Yes, you have,' and pulls out a photograph from 1956 of her, age 9, riding on a mechanical horse (a kid one) and in the background, standing around in the crowd, is my dad and his two brothers, ages 8, 10, and 11."
"She submitted the story to a local magazine for a Valentine’s Day contest one year and won a trip to a resort."
"Some honorable mentions: By the time I was 20, I was 1 degree of separation away from 5 different people who’d been murdered by 3 different serial killers (gotta love the PNW), and I almost hit Bob Dylan with my car once."
"First time I ever smoked pot a police helicopter hovered above me and my friend and hit us with the spotlight. They were looking for someone else apparently because they immediately moved on. Nonetheless…"
"I took my VW to the dealer to get some work done. The service rep at the counter was so hung over (possibly still intoxicated) that he couldn’t handle completing the paper work. He told the tech that I was a VIP, specifically 'Britni Spears’s brother' and that he owed me a favor, so the work was on the house and they just never did any paperwork, didn’t charge me a dime, did the work, handed me the keys, and away I drove."
These Redditors couldn't believe their luck.
"I won a two week cruise vacation for two in a contest."
"I never entered the contest."
"I was convinced I was being scammed."
"Even from the beaches of the Caribbean, I still wasn't convinced."
The Generous Friend
"Was in Vegas for a work thing. I was not happy about being there because it was a tough time in my life, money was really tight and Vegas is the last place you want to be when money is tight."
"I was telling my buddy about it and he says, 'Im going to pay pal you $150. Go play the poker tournament at the Venetian at night. You can drink for free and hopefully you last long. If you win anything, pay me back, if not, no worries.'"
"So I did. Won the tournament! $3200."
"The second night, I went off to play some craps alone one night because I did not like the work people and did not want to hang with them."
"Started with $200. 45 minuted later I 7’d out and had $37,000. Cashed out and told no one!"
"On the drive back (I lived in Phoenix) I called my buddy and told him (only) about it. I sent him $2500."
"The one time I went to Vegas at the proper age of 21, I won $2000 on my first spin on the 25c slot machine. I didn't gamble the rest of the time and enjoyed the fact that my trip paid for itself. Came home with all the money I left with and an extra $800. Didn't tell my bf I was with at the time either; he would have tried to spend my money."
Given A Second Chance
"I went jogging one night and came across a lady laid out face first. No heart beat. Started doing cpr. Never saw another person was able to call 911 while doing cpr. Kept at it twenty Minutes till FD got there. She made a full recovery. They said cpr that long has a 95% fail rate."
A friend back in high school told me he was a vampire when he dropped me off from band practice.
This was at a time when Anne Rice was super popular and everyone was reading the Lestat books.
Being an impressionable 15-year-old at the time, I believed him, because he warned me that if I ever revealed his identity to anyone, "I will find you."
A couple of years ago, I reunited with a mutual friend and I joked about how I believed so-and-so was a creature of the night. We nervously laughed.
Whether my blood-thirsty friend was weighing on my conscience or not, I've been visited by him in COUNTLESS dreams ever since I told my friend about him.
Call it what you want–paranoia or self-fulfilling prophecy–but there are some things in this realm I will never be able to explain.
I'm just glad I'm still here to talk about it now that I let the proverbial cat out of the bag.
When you're younger, you might think you come from a great family. But as a kid, you miss out on a lot of nuance. You do not see all the drama the adults around you are involved in. And when you do eventually notice it, you start to realize that maybe few—if any—of your family members actually like each other. So why put up with all those tense family holiday dinners?
This isn't to say that all families are like this. Absolutely not. There are some very happy and wonderful families out there. But seeing families hurt each other is enough to teach you that maybe that age old tradition of getting together for Christmas dinner might not be in everyone's best interest.
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor captrober157 asked the online community,
"What family tradition ends with you?"
"Being an alcoholic."
"Being an alcoholic. My dad is an alcoholic. Both my grandfathers were alcoholics, which is what killed them. One of my grandmothers used to be an alcoholic and the other one still is. I could go on and on."
Be strong and bold man, don't let the family pressure get to you!
"200 years of living in London and my kids will never be able to afford to rent or buy here."
200 years of living anywhere, it seems. It's insane.
"My dad interrupting dinner..."
"My dad interrupting dinner, so we can CALL LONG DISTANCE to relatives who couldn’t travel to the event. Then we’d have to pass the phone around the table for brief, superficial greetings as our food went cold. Yikes."
Ummm... what? No, thank you. There's no way!
"Expecting the oldest child..."
"Expecting the oldest child to parent the younger one and getting pissed off when the oldest ends up acting like a parent. My younger brother is eight years younger than me. I stopped being a kid by the age of 8.5."
Very frustrating and sadly the case for many families out there, especially those of more limited means.
"Expecting my son..."
"Expecting my son to join the military. Almost every male family member on my father's side have fought in every conflict since WW1. I did two tours in Afghanistan and I never want him to experience anything like that."
War is traumatic and ideally, no one should ever have to experience it.
"Being hush hush..."
"Being hush hush about mental health related topics and untrusting of medicine in general."
It's great to see the younger generation be so open about mental health and fighting the stigma!
"Telling the boys..."
"Telling the boys to not cry. To push it down. Going to let my kid cry and talk about his feelings as much as he damn well pleases."
This is so important — young boys need to grow up knowing that their feelings are valid.
"Arranged marriage. Should have ended that tradition myself but was too much of a coward."
The best time was for yourself. The second best will be for your kids.
"Massive extended family gatherings. Not practical. Besides, grandma kicked the bucket 10 years ago."
Often, families splinter once a matriarch or patriarch dies and people realize that they were the glue keeping everyone together.
"I'm the first..."
"Living below the poverty line. I'm the first member of my family to be middle class."
Fantastic! Break the cycle!
It takes a lot of courage to break from your family, especially if they've always done things a certain way. A lot of respect to people who decide to and are able to create new lives for themselves!
What does breaking the cycle mean to you? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!