Teachers are here to support all of our students... and trust us when we say that we believe most of them do.
But just wait until they get to the teacher's lounge and all the stories come out.
Not all students are created equal, as we were reminded once Redditor HeyHeyHeywow asked the online community, "Teachers of Reddit, what is your "this student is so dumb its scary" story?"
Every. Single. Lesson.britney spears wink GIF Giphy
I'm a flight instructor. Had a student who really wasn't cut out for flying. Before each lesson he job was to do a preflight on the airplane and make sure everything was working. One of the items you check during the preflight are the flaps. Basically, they are a flap of metal that extends from the aft section of the wing and drops down into the airstream during landings.
Well, we fly a Cessna 172 where the wings are on top of the cockpit (above the pilot) and the flaps are situated just behind the door. Without fail, this guy opens the door, moves the switch to deploy the flaps, and turns around to run face first into the flaps he just lowered. It's funny the first, concerning the second time, and expected after the tenth time.
Every. Single. Lesson.
packing it in....
I work with kids 12-18 and the amount of middle schoolers who do all of their work and pack it around in their bag without ever putting it in the homework box or handing it to the teacher is astounding. If anyone figures out why they do this, please help me lol
Edit: thanks to everyone who shared their stories. I think I gave some better insight now. Hopefully I can help my kiddos more with some starting points.
I was a former college recruiter who used to set up a booth at low-income schools to help guide first generation students into college. Had a high school girl come up to me and tell me she wants to be a gynecologist. So I start talking about which schools have good pre-med programs, the kind of classes she would need to take, broaching the idea of med school. She says hold up, a gynecologist is a doctor?
I say yes. She says Well I do NOT want to go to medical school. I just want a job where I can look at vaginas all day. We ended up talking about possibly cosmetology school or esthetician school. Also, she was not kidding. I got many, many dumb questions like this. When you don't know, you don't know.
I'm not a teacher, but I used to volunteer in my daughter's classrooms when they were in elementary school. One day while I was helping grade papers, it became quite apparent that one little girl had copied from the boy sitting next to her - not only were the answers the same, she also had written his name on top of her paper!
I don't usually wear glasses when I teach. Except for one day. And it was subsequently a big deal among all my fifth graders.
The next day, at the start of class, I noticed a girl in the front row wearing glasses for the first time. Something seemed a little off so I finally decided to chime in.
"Emily... what's the deal with the glasses?"
"These? I need them to see."
"But they don't have any lenses."
She appeared befuddled and said, "They don't?" before lifting her finger up to one of the eye frames and poking herself in the eye.
History/gym teacher was telling us about catching people cheating. He said he was always for people who thought up creative ways. On the other hand, when you get a paper that's the same as another, word for word, including one particular misspelled word, with a "? spelling" written above it, well...
Told to me by a friend, written in his words.
The other day I had a student bite into a bar of deodorant. Just... chomped right into it, as if it were a coconut-and-palm-tree-scented ice cream bar. This, after making like he was going to "lick" it and accidentally getting the taste of the deodorant and his own residual pit sweat. Half a second later he just went whole-hog on it and took a chunk out of it, then spat it out. I didn't know whether to call poison control or the principal.
It's my $$$
When I was a professor I had a student submit a paper she clearly hadn't written. I called her out on it and she complained by email to me and CC'd the dean of the school. Her argument was that it *was* hers because she had paid *her own* money to have it written.
being 21....children GIF Giphy
Teaching laboratory skills. Asked a student to mix a tube by turning it upside down gently a few times. Immediately turned it upside down without putting the cap on first...
Edit: student was a senior undergraduate, so maybe 21 years old?
I thought I would be teaching about plate tectonics today.
Ended up having to do a lesson on why the earth isn't flat. 4th graders.
This one moron currently in my master's program makes me question if I'm actually in a mental institution. How someone like him managed to get into what is generally considered a top tier program is beyond understanding.
From contributing zero to group projects, to bring an active detriment to group effort, it seems like he is trying to be difficult.
His "final, ready to be submitted" portion of one class's big final project had 30+ spelling errors, including but not limited to: "revanew", "develuped", "Acers" instead of acres (this one repeated 6 times), "constrans" instead of constraints, "pencells", "skool", "accel", "hite" instead of height. It goes on and on. This was just the errors in one project in one class. I happened to have him in all 3 classes and I happened to have him in all 3 group projects.
In one group, we collectively sent him 33 emails and text messages with highlights, bullet points, step by step corrections, and he completely ignored them all, only to blow up at us in a group meeting about how we were all bullying him and he didn't understand what he was doing wrong.
He would argue with us about whether he was right or not, whether his abysmal work needed to be edited or not. He never spell checked a damn thing. He never reviewed his own work once. He is the biggest piece of crap mentally challenged student I have ever met. Yet somehow he got into this program.
I hate this dumb fool.
is it real?canadian what GIF by CBC Giphy
Not from when I was teaching, but a buddy's classmate.
HS Class was discussing the number of stars in the galaxy. My buddy jokingly says 20. Kid next to him (notably not the sharpest kid I've known) goes, "are you stupid? There's gotta be 100 of them. Maybe even a thousand." Serious as can be.
Honestly not sure what's dumber; him thinking the guess of 20 was real. Or him thinking that 1000 might be too high.
I'm a professor grading papers now and I have a few contenders right here. This one student blatantly plagiarized in his first paper, I mean just cutting and pasting from webpages - he didn't even steal form the primary sources and they weren't even scholarly webpages.
I was so surprised at how badly he plagiarized, that I gave him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he didn't understand what it really was. I just gave him a 0 along with an email describing the issue in detail with some additional links for whole sites that do the FAQs really well.
We met, and I explained it to him. He was abjectly apologetic and explained that he had missed the nuances before.
Grading the final paper, same crap all over again. And I test this stuff using a free website I found just on Google and it takes like 2 minutes to check. What the hell is he thinking? (Also the non-plagiarized part it so poorly written I don't know how even got in, much less made it to be a junior at, a selective school. The guys is also premed, WTF?)
The Book Fair
I volunteered to do the "book fair" for my old middle school (my mom was the assistant librarian). I had a 7th grader come up to purchase a poster of a car. The price was $3. He pulled out two $1 dollar bills and set it on the desk in front of me. He then pulled out a handful of change and set it on the table. He asked "is this enough?" I said, "well, you need one more dollar." He then picked out 2 quarters and 2 dimes. "Now?" he asked. I said, "that's 70 cents, you need 30 more." He picked out 3 nickels and added them to the pile.
"There you go," he said. I then proceeded to ask him what he thought the denominations for each coin were, and he legit did not know. I had to give him a quick lesson in the value of each coin and helped him count out $1 in change. To me, this situation is ridiculous. We will all have to deal with money throughout our lives. You have to learn to know the value of each coin and know how to add money.
Not a schoolteacher, but I've taught swim lessons in the past. I was once teaching the adult learn-to-swim class and had an incredibly dumb dude (let's call him Rusty) sign up. Rusty was a 100-pound guy with an absolute fear of water, he wouldn't even shower, but he decided that swimming lessons were gonna cure him.
It was the first day, when we were just getting accustomed to the water and helping people with a phobia start to get over it. The first few people are puttering around in the shallow end (1 meter deep) and getting a feel for the water.
Some of them were immigrants from someplace very dry and had never been in a pool before, so it was quite the experience for them and things were getting loud.
All of a sudden, I hear Rusty give his best bald-eagle-screech attempt, sprint down the deck, and launch himself into the deep end (4 meters deep). He immediately starts drowning (no fat, no float) and is going down fast. My assistant, the lifeguard, got in, got him holding on to the rescue tube, and pushed him to the shallow end, still screaming and flailing.
He hauled himself up the stairs and started sprinting for the deep end again and chucked himself back in. I went in after him since my assistant was still in the water and dragged him out again. He tried to do it a third time but I was able to stop him until security showed up to hold him back for his own safety.
I never saw him again after that day, but I'll never know why he, an aquaphobic nonswimmer, would think jumping in the deep end was a good idea.
"wait, then what's a state?"
I've had kids turn in papers that were clearly plagiarized, but one kid didn't bother to change the font color on his paper. It was a pretty clear case.
I had another who was supposed to be researching a technological innovation, the history and impacts of it. One kid chose the telephone. His paper was not only obviously plagiarized, but it was literally an ad for telephones.com. The kid had clearly not even bothered to do anything other than just go to telephones.com and copy and paste.
But my all time favorite is the kid who stopped me and said, "Is Chicago a city or a country?"
I told him it was a city.
He considered that for a minute and then said, "wait, then what's a state?"
I'm not a teacher This was in my 11th grade world history class. We were going over WW2 at the time, when this girl raised her hand and asked completely serious, "Wait England isn't a state in the US?" The teacher just looked at her in shock while the rest of the class burst into laughter. I am sure she was serious because she got really embarrassed and after class I heard her ask her friends at lunch if they knew about England. They also started laughing at her too.
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Student got access to my Masters thesis and lifted a section out verbatim and turned it in to me as their own work. It truly was an experience. My Master's thesis is around 200 pages so if they had picked some info from say pg. 82 then I might not have caught it as I wasn't using Turnitin. However this student copied the very beginning section which I had spent a ridiculous amount of time on.
Had some students come up to me the other day to ask if they could go see a teacher during their lunch break.
I asked why, and one of them said. "We're in trouble because we accidentally made fun of someone with optimism."
I then asked her to repeat herself, hoping she would correct herself, but said "optimism" instead of "autism" again.
I let them go see that teacher, because I did not have time to think about how to approach that conversation.
FOR THE CHILDREN!!
In my design class, i had this girl who had placed a garage beside the house, but couldn't, for the life of god, figure out why her 90cm by 200cm door was not appropriate for a car to enter through. Same girl planned a small space for children in a library. Said space was only 1.5 meters high, and no matter what the teacher said, she kept going back to "but this space is for children, they are not tall!" "But they will suffocate!" "But it is a space FOR CHILDREN!"
this happened in high school maths: lets call him john
Teacher: So john, how do you find an average?
the pain in the teachers eyes was immeasurable.
Seriously?Bbc Three Comedy GIF by BBC Giphy
11th grader spelled his last name wrong. Like multiple letters wrong. I literally sat and stared completely dumbfounded for a few minutes.
So Many Kids.
I work in IT at schools, so not a teacher. My favorite one is kids bringing their laptop in complaining the internet doesn't work. Turns out the have all but ripped off the top cover and it is held together with just a cable. I show them all the torn cables and ask if they could guess why their laptop doesn't work properly.
This has been multiple kids between multiple schools.
Okay so I used to be a teacher, and then I went in to teacher education. So I supervised student teachers in the field, meaning I'd go out and observe them teaching their classes. As an observer, one's job is ONLY to observe, not to offer comments during the observation, so you literally say nothing.
It was a 5th grade social studies class and they were discussing Ben Franklin. One student asked "What number president was he?" And the teacher was like, I don't know. Followed by like a 10-15 minute debate in the class and with the teacher about which number president he was. :(
Obviously the 5th graders aren't so dumb it's scary ... but ... thank goodness the student teacher finally decided to use the google to answer their question.
Not a teacher but a student.
I was in a geology class and the teacher was talking about lava and this one kid stops the teacher to ask "does lava burn? Like would anything bad happen if I put my finger in it?" Naturally the teacher and the rest of us assumed he was joking and the teacher just kinda laughed. The kid then says that that he's actually serious. The teacher just kinda looks at him like "wtf" and he says yes and carries on not wanting to waste time. I was still convinced the kid was joking so I ask him after class if was just joking and trying to hell with the teacher when he said he was serious. He then tells me that he really was serious.
That's not the first time he's said something that dumb so I don't find it very hard to believe that he might have been serious.
Sometimes the boss is dumb....
Kid clearly had autism, and rather low functioning at that. I was his key worker and could only get him to respond to textures or music. He was only 2, but wouldn't answer when called and would just sit vacant in the room while all of the other children got up and moved into the other room. Just not 'there' in the here and now unless, like I said, I played a song and he'd come to life. He'd sit at the table vacant unless I put his hands into something that felt different (water, sand etc). I told my boss that I thought he had autism and she replied 'autism is nonsense, he's just lazy'. So I continued teaching him as though he was autistic because that's the only way I could get him to learn. Fast forward and yep, he's autistic.
Good BoyGood Boy GIF by memecandy Giphy
I had an 8th grader today who was surprised to learn that when he calls his teachers Mr./Mrs. ______, that is their last name, not their first name.
I go by Mr. Good. He thought my first name was "Good".
The Bad Peaker...
So I am lecturing on population (15 year olds 9/10 grade). I tell the students that most likely human population will PEAK at 10.5 billion... a hand goes up and says, "Uh what does peak mean?" I'm stunned as well as the class but he is serious so I answer. I have another teacher in the room and when we are alone asked what I had thought when I heard the question. I thought if your father hadn't peaked I would've been spared that question.
Same kid. Teaching patriarchal and matriarchal society which has nothing to do with sex/intercourse but a hand goes up and he asks, "So if matriarchal is women and patriarchal is men... then who's in charge of the lesbos?" But before I could respond his friend says, "You're a moron. The lesbos take care of the lesbos." My class took awhile to recover.
The 4th Grade
Student here, and I was in fourth grade at the time. Well, there was this kid that like to mess with people all the time. One day teacher left the room for a little bit so it was just a bunch of kids in the room suppose to be doing a test. Well this kid hoes in front of the class, and puts a stapler to his ear threatening he would staple his ear if we didn't help him so another kid goes up and hits the stapler stapling his ear. I'm not sure if this is what you mean but its pretty damn funny.
Had a test on the three states of matter. Student response:
First Name = Liquid
Last Name = Gas
That's what we called her the remainder of the year!
tangled....Duct Tape GIF by A Black Lady Sketch Show Giphy
My wife is a teacher and she said some kids literally don't know how to rip a piece of tape off a roll. They just keep pulling it until it gets all twisted and stuck on itself and ask for help.
So I'm going to keep this short. I was teaching my kids how to spot the difference in things. I started out with a group of boys with blue shirts and boys with white shirts and asked them if they could spot the difference. Cool. So I asked a girl to spot the difference between a whale, a dog, a cat, and a mouse. Like the genius she is, she said, "one doesn't have any legs." Awesome. Now I ask this boy who just doesn't have "it" mentally lol to spot the difference between himself and the students who wore glasses. This boy said, "I don't got no legs." I was in SHAMBLES. I had to leave so I could laugh properly smh.
Mom has been a teacher for 42 years (8th grade the whole time) and there was one student in particular who did an array of unintelligent things. The one that put the nail in his being expelled coffin was when he didn't want to go to school one day and instead of being sick, it went like this:
Reception: insert school name how may direct your call?
Student: my name is insert students name and this is a bomb threat.
Reception: Please hold
Student: ok thank you
Parents called after police, expulsion and charges processed.
Denier....no way eye roll GIF by Bounce Giphy
I had a student completely plagiarize a research paper. He just lifted it from a website, which I found immediately due to the fact that he left the URL at the top. Still denied it!
Not a teacher myself, but my teacher told us this story, I should mention that i live in Israel and ofc the lessons are in hebrew, so we had an essay we had to write in English about people who influenced on our lives, and there was one student who used a lot of Google translate he probably just ran the whole text through it, our teacher's last name is "Ben Avraham", and yes he ran it through the translator, so he called her son of Abraham.
I taught a freshman English class and an 18 year old wrote a persuasive essay arguing that homicide is a good way to keep population down.
The Freezecold game of thrones GIF Giphy
Teaching grade 10 history. I cracked a bad joke one day about how the Cold War happened every winter for about 50 years. One of the questions on the test was to list 8-10 important facts about the Cold War. Guess what fact appeared in several student's responses to that question?
I worked as a Substitute for a while. The first question the kids always asked me was why their teacher wasn't there. They never tell the substitutes this but they expected that I would know. So I'd just start making stuff up and the kids would totally fall for about anything. I had a high school class get very upset that their English teacher didn't tell them she was going to Space Camp.
I also had a habit of telling the elementary kids that their teacher had to go to the ocean because they were really a mermaid and needed to go to the ocean regularly or they would't be able to change back. They always thought that was a good reason to be absent.
I was a substitute teacher for a 6th-grade science class, one in a school that I frequently substituted in. I knew most of the students fairly well and had subbed for this particular class of students quite a few times. There was one particular kid, let's call him Mason. Mason wasn't the brightest bulb of the bunch, but I never expected such a spectacularly idiotic question.
We were talking about the strongest metals, the densest ones, and we were on the topic of diamonds. Mason raised his hand, and I think the entire class could already sense the loss of brain cells incoming.
"If diamonds are so unbreakable, why don't they just make schools and banks out of diamonds?"
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Gonna get buried but had a kid in high school where they were doing a lab with nail polish and the teacher had pet fish. This man dumps the polish in the fish tank and the teacher flipped her lid. He got suspended for 2 days. Btw he was a sophomore in high school.
This was before I was a teacher. I took my wife white water rafting for her birthday. We got to a point where people could jump in the pools and float a few meters down river.
Well one person starts and several follow.
Suddenly a commotion.
This one got jumped in. Apparently he couldn't swim. So his girlfriend jumped in after, she could swim.
Thankfully it wasn't a crazy section and they were wearing like jackets. A few of us grabbed our throw bags and got them to shore.
Until he did it again! Seriously WTF!
"Back when I was teaching high school..."Giphy
Back when I was teaching high school, I was giving an exam to my first-year students and one of them stole the key.
...to the exam the second-year students were taking.
He was not subtle about it, either. The whole "fake a sneeze, go get tissue, pick up a large piece of paper and think your skinny teenage body can conceal it"-angle. I should have said something, but the fact that I was so fed up with this sorta crap by that point is one of the reasons I quit teaching high school.
Anyway, that's not what made it such a dumb decision. What made it dumb was when he bombed the exam, he tried to claim that I purposefully mis-graded his exam because I hated him, and even got his mother in on it for a parent conference, which means his own mother was front and center for me when I pointed out how his answer form was a perfect match for a test he didn't take.
Mom was not happy with him, to say the least, though for the icing on the cake? She did ask that I let him re-take the real test, and since she honestly seemed to care a lot more than many of the parents I met, and since I did admittedly feel a little guilty for not trying to prevent it in the first place (not that I admitted to that part), as a compromise we let him come after school to re-try at a penalty.
And in the end, he freaking aced the test. He was normally a C-student or so, and if he'd just done that the first time, the weight of the exam probably would've bumped him up low B. Aesop couldn't have turned it into a a better "cheaters never prosper" fable.
"I had to explain to a student..."
I teach 5th grade. I had to explain to a student walking in line. He would never walk in line correctly. Finally after correcting him for the 1000th time, he snapped. "What do you mean? What do you mean get in line? What's the line? Why do teachers always say that?" It never occurred to me he didn't understand after being in school for years. He was the best though. One of my favorites.
"I work in student accommodation..."
I work in student accommodation at a fairly large UK university, and jesus christ the things I've seen. Even if you don't count the things they do while drunk, you still end up being concerned for the future of humanity.
Things I've seen students learn the hard way:
- Plastic bowls are not an adequate substitute for saucepans, and will melt if you put them on the hob. Likewise, you should take the polystyrene foam out from under your frozen pizza before you put it in the oven.
- If your packet of sausages says 'to oven cook: 15 - 20 minutes", that does not mean you can put it in the microwave for the same amount of time. You should also not go and have a nap after doing this, or you'll wake up to panicked flatmates and a corridor full of smoke.
- To boil pasta, water is required. Again, panicked flatmates and corridor full of smoke.
- Most people know they shouldn't microwave metal. Some people still try to heat unopened cans in one.
- If you forget your keys, call security. Don't try to climb in through the 10" x 12" bathroom window because you'll get stuck, and we'll need the fire brigade to come and rescue you.
- Dumping the contents of the kitchen bins over the warden's car is a bad idea at the best of times. It's worse if you are already facing disciplinary action for something else (which was actually quite minor, iirc) and the warden already knows who you are. Doing this in front of a CCTV camera, in full view of a security patroller, while the warden watches you from his balcony, and then trying to blame someone else will not improve things.
I've probably got more, but I'll have to think of some that don't involve alcohol. We'll be here all day if I start typing those up!
"I had a classmate..."
I had a classmate put a thermometer into the middle of a bunsen burner to "see how hot the fire was".
As glass and mercury promptly exploded everywhere, I'm pretty sure I saw the teachers soul leave her body. Never saw her look so horrified or pissed before.
"On a number of occasions..."
On a number of occasions, around five or six, I have had to explain to students that you can still get pregnant even if you don't orgasm. Apparently, it's an old wives tale in a bunch of cultures. And when i corrected them, they fought back.
"So he refused to turn it in..."
When I was student teaching, I had one who was JUST on the verge of passing (thanks to the incredible mercy of the primary teacher). All he needed to do was turn in a worksheet that he finished in class. I know that he finished it because I watched him and helped him do it. All he had to do was give it to the teacher. But, in his mind, that would mean that she had won. So he refused to turn it in. I left the school before the end of the semester, but I would bet money that he failed the class.
"I had a little boy..."
I had a little boy (first grade) who always got 14 as his answer to every problem no matter what. On the second day of school I sat down to do 3+2 with him using counters. We set out a pile of 3 and a pile of 2. I told him to count and watched in horror as he pushed the counters into a line and then counted back and forth and back and forth re-counting them until he got to 14. That was the biggest number he knew, he would have just kept going on.
"One girl gasped..."
Kids asked me, "Are you from Detroit or (some other city I forget)?"
I said "Neither, I moved here from Pennsylvania."
One girl gasped and asked, "Do they have slaves there?"
"One of my 10th graders..."
One of my 10th graders said she saw a crime being committed (bike being stolen in neighbor's yard) and she wanted to call 911 but she didn't know the number.