Being a teacher is one of the most soul-draining careers available. Every year you're blessed a group of students, with some of them actually excited to learn. While you can't teach everyone, you can reach out to them on an emotional level, connecting on things not always taught from a curriculum book.
However, you have to be ready for what they might say when they finally feel comfortable enough to open up to you.
Reddit user, u/DATCATGOSPLAT, wanted teachers to tell all about:
Ask for help how to get over her laziness. She was getting regular migraines so would have to hide and sleep it off. Due to her parents she learned that this was laziness.
I had a 16 year old student say: "I heard my parents fighting downstairs last night. My 10 year old brother came into my room and got into bed with me crying, because he's just now realizing we don't have a normal family".
Reminds me of when I was 10 and shared a room with my little sister who was maybe 4-7. I had to comfort her because she was crying while my parents were fighting outside. And I was praying that night that my brother was asleep since he's a deep sleeper and wasn't crying alone in his room. It was a tough few years.
"My sister didn't wake up today." Her sister complained of headaches the night before because she hit her head. Parents didn't think anything was seriously wrong. They took her off life support a few days later, she was 9. Her sister? 5 years old.
I'm not a teacher, but in junior year a teacher asked a classmate of mine where he saw himself in 10 years, & he quietly replied "dead."
The number of students who don't expect to live past college is surprising. Multiple people my age (high schooler) have told me that they don't really have a plan for college because they probably won't be around that long anyway.
Assignment was to write a poem about something you liked to pretend. Students poem started "I like to pretend that I have friends." This was in first grade.
I teach kindergarten and a girl told me "my brother died" and went on loosely about how he died, but it was a while ago since I forgot the words.
Brother, 15, had an asthma attack, had no puffer on him, died.
Now she's very emotional and going through therapy at 5 years old. It's been probably three months.
Middle school, they went on a field trip yesterday and one kid was sad because they wouldn't be at school so he wouldn't get lunch. They were fed at the field trip, but he was totally concerned that he wasn't going to get fed that day.
Principal (to class on day one): "Kindergarten is not like pre-school. Attendance matters. It's very important that you be here everyday."
Kindergartner: "What if you have to get a blood transfusion?"
I'm trying to wrap my head around the circumstances where this even needs to be said to kindergartners. It's not like they have a lot of control over their own lives, what they have a big problem with 5 year olds playing hooky and smoking cigarettes in an alley?
I've had it all.
Middle school teacher of 9 years in a very poor district here. I have had students whose siblings died to gang shootings, cop shootings, have had homeless kids, a pregnant 7th grader in my class. I've had it all.
A couple in the running:
"My boyfriend was shot in front of me and died in my arms. The ambulance we called never arrived."
"Mom went to go stay with my older sister [three states away] for a while. She told me I'm in charge of [his twin 15 year old brother] and we need to make sure we stay at [specific shelter]" ... she never came back.
A visibly sick student in class "Mom said she's working, and I tried to call my dad. He hug up on me... He doesn't care about me anyways."
On the first day of school (and the first day of my career) "How was your morning?" "Dude took two to the chest on his front porch on my way to school, don't worry though, I didn't see his face, what are we doin' today?"
"Why should I even try? I'm just stupid anyway"
He has a learning disability and has a hard time with reading and that's not to mention his ADHD with ODD (he sees a therapist every week and is way better). This trickles down to just about every subject he has. It broke my heart when he said that.
A 6 year old preschool kid took my hand and wanted to show me something he had drawn. The drawing was in dark colors and sort of angry-looking. He explained that he had drawn his heart, which was broken and hurting very bad. He said it wasn't any fun when his heart hurt like that.
He was often being excluded from the group by his classmates, sometimes even bullied. He didn't have the social skills to communicate well with his friends, which led to him being very misunderstood even though he always meant well.
"Can you be my mom?" - 15 years old, totally serious.
"This is my real family." - different student referring to the teachers and friends at school.
"I don't deserve this" - teen when given a sweater on a very cold day.
I hear a lot of this stuff. I wish there was so much more I could do.
Sets of 2....
I co-taught a class one year and we had a few twins in our classes (split between different periods).
With one set of twins, one girl was a fantastic student. She was bright, conscientious, diligent, and was a joy to have in the classroom. Her sister, on the other hand, was a mess. Never knew what was going on, had a terrible attitude, was completely disorganized, and was often disruptive. If I ever called on her, she'd roll her eyes and say "ugh I don't know" as if I was being unreasonable in expecting she be able to answer a question about something I just said 3 seconds earlier.
My co-teacher met their parents at parent-teacher night. Apparently the parents spent most of the time talking about the "good" twin and actually called the other one "the bad twin" when they did talk about her.
I felt bad after hearing that.
Friend of mine adopted a student when he turned 18 because his parents abandoned him for being gay. They make a happy dorky little family. They always got along well, she had a soft spot for him, and he has somewhere to go on school breaks. 😁
Rips my heart right out of my chest.
My mother was a teacher for nearly 30 years. She spent the last 10 years at a middle school that was pretty hard up in the Tulsa public school system. She had a very good student who came to school every day in the same clothing. We can call him J. The clothing was always washed but even so around halfway through the year, his clothing was becoming tattered and stained. The other students began to notice and make comments. The school tried to give him clothing but he refused. He would not except a hand out.
A few teachers came up with a plan for the school put on a contest where the winner was given some new, very nice, school clothing. This contest was set up for J to win. This way he could have new clothing and not feel as though he was given anything.
J won the contest. He accepted the new clothing gladly. The next day he was still wearing his old clothes. My mom asked him why he was not wearing the new clothing.
"Those are my trophies. I have them hanging on my wall."
Rips my heart right out of my chest.
"Ms. Spidey, do you know how to get [local electric company] to turn your power back on? I get paid today, but they pay me on a card, so...do I get out cash and get a money order, and where do I take it to?"
Kid was sixteen.
But kid got their power turned back on, that day, all by themselves. I didn't do spit or biscuits but teach them how to talk to people in call centers and make the introduction to the CSR.
And then later their power bill got reduced, because the school social worker has programs for that sort of thing, the local power company sent them some energy-saving free stuff, including some lightbulbs (kid and their siblings had been short some lights at home for a while,) and we got their water and sewer discounted as well.
School social worker's a pal. Their surviving parent was trying, it's just hard with a parent of their own who isn't well, that many kids and two fast-food jobs.
Kid is in college now. Damn near full ride. Commutes from home to save money, puts their housing stipend towards the family rent, utilities and gas for their own old Toyota. Their parent looks like they just took their first breath in ten years.
I'm proud of all my students, but especially that one.
Last week I asked my freshmen what their weekend plans were, and one kid said he was finally meeting his birth mother. He was nervous and excited and said he had so many questions to ask her.
Monday rolls around and I see that he looks sad. I ask him how the meeting went and he said in the saddest voice, "she didn't show."
I wanted to cry right there.
High school teacher at a school for at risk youth so I get a lot of depressing stuff. I really bonded with one student about comic books and even let him borrow my first edition Umbrella Academy comics. He was homeless and living at a friends house on a yoga mat on the floor for the better part of a year. He asked me to adopt him :( wish I could, buddy. I wish I could. My students are the reason I want to become a foster parent though.
I'm a counselor for kids in the foster program.
Kid: "Why does everyone else in my class have one dad but I have different ones all the time?"
Foster program can be really tough on kids.
Me: "So, what are you most looking forward to when you go to college?"
Student: "Oh, I've never had my own bed to sleep in before."
"That seems like..."
I'm not a teacher, but when I was in school, a classmate, when asked to introduce herself said her name and that her parents died when she was young which is why she lived with her aunt and sat back down.
That seems like the sort of thing you learn to do so that everyone knows right off the bat. You don't have to constantly correct people, "Oh, it'll actually be my aunt, not my mom..." or deal with their shock and pity over and over again. This way you get it all over with in one fell swoop.
"The poor kids..."
Not me but my mother-in-law is a substitute nurse for a few schools, one of which is mostly pretty poor kids. Well at the beginning of one Friday a boy came with his backpack and his sister's to leave is for the nurse. He was kinda nervous/sad that the regular nurse was out and my MIL said "maybe I can help, what does she normally do with your backpacks?" He blurted out "she fills them with food for us!" The poor kids didn't have much food at home so that angel nurse was sending them home on Fridays with food to last them the weekend.
"I'm not a teacher..."
I'm not a teacher but my 3rd grade teacher was having a really bad day with many kids behaving badly. She had us line up and go to her desk one by one and tell her (quietly) if there was something upsetting us that day. I don't know what the other kids told her but I told her that my mom had shouted at me that morning "No one will ever love you!" Knowing my classmates and the area we were living in I'm sure she heard some sad stuff. She went on stress leave shortly thereafter.
Edit: Thank you for the kind comments. Yes, life got much better for me as an adult. I'm happily married now with three kids who get to worry about regular kid problems instead of dealing with verbal and physical abuse at home like I did and my mom did and probably her parents did.
Student: I want to play with my friend today, but her dad died, so she can't come over.
Me: oh no, I'm so sorry to hear that.
Student: yeah, my mom said God is punishing her.
I explained that "God" does not punish people like that and it is NOT her friend's fault that her dad passed away.
"Student of mine drops out..."
Other moments in my career that have touched me:
- Student of mine drops out to get a job, happens quite a bit because of the economy where we live. Student in question is couch hopping and trying to support himself and can no longer afford to not work, so I don't see him for 6 months. On his 19th birthday, he had the day off and you know what he did? He came to school to visit me, because he knew I would be happy to see him and he would get at least one happy birthday from someone who cares about him.
- Any time a student says anything like "You're the only one who cares about me." "You're the reason I come to school." "You're the reason I graduated." Etc. Kills me every time. Anyone can graduate high school but they lack the confidence in themselves to see it. I try so hard EVERY day to let them know they can do it, but they go home and get the opposite from their parents.
Some days I might be the only positive interaction a student has. I always say good morning when they come in and good bye when they leave, so they know they're being noticed. I try to always use their names when greeting them so they know it's specifically for them. I try to remember important dates for them, birthdays/court dates/if they're going to their driving test that day and congratulate them personally or ask how it went. I want them to know they're seen and someone cares.
"There was a student..."
There was a student who constantly said some pretty sad stuff like "my mommy doesn't like me", "I'm not getting presents for Christmas", "my mommy hit my daddy last night".
Turns out her mother was abusive to her (and her husband) and refused to even touch her. (Plus a lot of other terrible stuff) Her parents have split and she is now in a safe home where she is loved. She was only 4 at the time.
"When I was..."
When I was in training I worked in an inner city school, we were discussing what they wanted to be when they grow up and one 8 year old said, "It doesn't matter I'm going to be in a gang and dead before I'm 21."
It's hard when you see it in your own family though. One of my elementary schoolers was casually explaining to me how his brother is in prison for selling drugs because he couldn't afford a good enough lawyer.
"I've only been teaching..."
I've only been teaching for around nine months, but one sticks out.
I do a lot of 1-to-1 work with a reception-aged child (4-5) who has quite severe ADHD and needs constant supervision. I get to take him outside and do gross motor work with him, and I've really took a shine to him.
Broke my heart a couple of weeks ago when he was stopped by the deputy head and told off for running down the corridor. He burst into tears, which is completely unlike him, and said, "I just can't get the naughty out of my brain."
"A skinny nine year old..."Giphy
"I really need to lose some weight.. I'm SO fat!" A skinny nine year old of mine told me this.
"My student told us..."
My student told us that her mom was taken by ambulance to the hospital the night before after she stopped breathing. The other kids pressed her on what happened and she just shrugged and said her mom would be ok. Two days later, I got the word that her mom was brain dead. Her daughter had no idea. That Friday afternoon, I let the kids have an extra recess and watched my student play and laugh with all the other kids in the sun knowing that she might not be happy like that again for a long time.
"Not really something he said..."
Not really something he said, but when I was tutoring a Somali refugee student (he was 15 years old,) the students were told to draw pictures (of their background or life, I think.) He drew pictures of...... houses on fire.
"She never realized..."
Not a teacher but one of my close friends. I've known her since the start of high school. She never realized her home life was as bad as it was. She spoke about her mom neglecting her while the 14 foster cats they could barely afford to feed were spoiled rotten, and how eating the same thing every night - her only meal for the day started to make her nauseous. The real kicker is that her mother got cancer, and as soon as she died, she said "I'm so glad she's dead.
I wish she'd died sooner." Or something along those lines. She was 16 when her mother died, and she's 18 now. She's never going to leave those horrible scars and the things she tells me about are horrifying.
She lives with her dad now and has a proper home, regular good meals, etc. I have no idea how her dad didn't get custody when she was a child. He's an amazing dad to her and would probably do anything to help her more.
"I'm expecting 2 months"
Foster Kid who left my school a few months ago. She has been to countless homes and foster families. Despite us thinking her current one is great, she still expects they will leave.
Growing up in foster care, I never lasted anywhere more than 10 months. My entire childhood, after being taken from my birth dad (who was not abusive in the least, just not great at taking care of a kid), I never had the same family for more than 10 months. Usually much shorter than that.
I still struggle to stay in one place for an extended period. It's like the uneasiness of not moving claws at my insides.
"Can I have a Band Aid?"
I had a 7 year old ask me for a bandaid. When I asked her what was wrong and she pulled up her shirt to reveal a big burn in the middle of her chest.
Mum had put a cigarette out in her "because she was being naughty."
"Don't waste your time with me, I won't be able to learn this, I'm too stupid for this."
A student from 12th grade said this to me while trying to explain him properties of exponents and logarithms.
I could not believe a 17 year old thinks he's a failure so early in life. He had the attitude of someone who just gave up on trying to learn things.
"She was 7."
"I have never [met] my parents."
She was 7.
This will get buried, but just yesterday I asked one of my special needs kids how his 2 dogs, Goofy and Mickey, are doing.
He said, "Mickeys at the pet store."
We had a really bad snow storm on a Wednesday and a Thursday. On Friday, we had classes again, but like half the kids were missing for obvious reasons. During morning circle, we went around the room and talked about what everyone did during the snow days.
One girl said that she'd cried a lot because there wasn't much to do at her dad's, and she was so hungry because there wasn't enough food. We sent her home with as many extra snacks and breakfasts (cereals, bars, etc) as we could fit in her bookbag, but I still went home and cried that night. She was 7.
"I won't be able to turn in my homework today."Giphy
"I won't be able to turn in my homework today."
"My parents got in a really big fight yesterday. Things got crazy so I wasn't able to do my homework. Can you tell the rest of my teachers for me, please?"
"I just want someone to like me."
11 year old autistic kid in special ed that was bullied on the regular. Said to me in private: "I don't know why I act out all the time... I just want someone to like me." To which I answered "Well, I like you, I want to be your friend.". Kid goes: "I really like that you want to be my friend, but I would like a classmate to want to be my friend too..."
Yeah, tears were shed.
"Asked a kid..."
Asked a kid/student of mine what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said she didn't want or need a job, because her mum doesn't have a job and she gets 500 pound a week (welfare). I almost resigned on the spot.
"One day I heard a kid..."
Not a teacher, but have had many a 'leader' role with groups of kids. (Coach, instructor, scouts, etc). I always went out of my way to make sure every thing we did was fun. I'm a giant kid myself. Imagine hockey coaches standing near the bench yelling to the little kids on what to do. I'm the one in a different Disney jersey every time, skating, diving, falling, laughing it up with the kids on the ice.
One day I heard a kid tell my son of the same age "Man I wish my dad was like your dad." You would think I would be happy about it, but no. It hit me hard. His dad was certainly not like me, and this kid had a difficult home life. For him to actually say he wished his dad was like me hurt. It was a double edge sword. Its a moment I'll never forget.
"Mary won't be here today, her mom died last night."
Student: "Mary won't be here today, her mom died last night."
Me: "Wait, didn't her dad pass away a few weeks ago?"
Both parents died suddenly within a few weeks of each other from different medical conditions.
"I teach pretty much exclusively college freshmen..."
I teach pretty much exclusively college freshmen and by that point they all have that fatalistic sense of humor anyway, but it gets real sad when they get to the end of their rope. Nothing specific that I can remember, but a lot of "why did I think I could make it in college" "I'm too stupid for this I should drop out" and they actually mean it. Stuff like that.
Monday however a student asked to talk to me before class and said "I know this paper is important and all and I don't want you to hate me but I couldn't get my paper done..." and I'm used to this sort of thing, I mean, it's just natural, but then he take a deep breath and blurts out "my dad called me last night and told me he was leaving my mom and moving away so he's leaving me too and I just couldn't deal with it, I'm really sorry if you're mad at me." It just hits me hard when they have to deal with more than they should and on top of that they think I've formed a personal opinion of them and that I'm going to think badly of them based on something like this.
"Please don't send me home."
5 year old preschool girl with 103 degree fever, sicker than sick. She BEGS the nurse, "please don't send me home." She was allowed to sleep in the nurse's office until the end of the day.
That was about 2.5 years ago. A few months later she was removed by CPS and has been with a foster family (me) for nearly 2 years now.
"What's the point...?"
I ran holiday science workshops, filled with brainy kids as you'd expect. There was an 11 year old girl who was brilliant at everything, the content was clearly beneath her. Very quiet, respectful, well liked by the other kids. Her parents were moving soon because she received scholarships to a prestigious school. Whenever her dad came to pick her up he was obviously proud, telling me about all her achievements, how she was in advanced classes, just won all these sports awards too, etc. Showed videos and photos of her winning all these soccer games.
They enrolled her younger brother in similar sessions. He gave it a go in the first few but really struggled, always the last to finish and felt his work didn't look as good as the others. Looked embarrassed to ask for help. He screamed at his sister when she tried to fix his circuit. Eventually he just began acting out, putting off the work, challenging me to get a laugh out of the other kids, messing around. After a disastrous month he stopped trying altogether.
He just came in one afternoon and sat there, not doing anything. I tried to engage him in the activity and said if he didn't like what the other kids are doing, we could pick anything else he wanted to do. He said something like, "What's the point. My parents will never love me as much as they love my sister."
"Can we use the student computer?"
I've had a lot but one morning two students came in early to my room and asked if they could use my student computer. I said sure, and figured that they just needed to finish a project and knew I always got to school early.
Turns out their best friend was murdered 2 days before because he wouldn't give his money he earned to someone trying to rob him. His family needed the money to not be homeless, so he died trying to look out for his family (and for like $80 or something).
My students were creating flyers and a gofundme so they could try to help the parents not be homeless, and to afford a funeral.
To make matters worse, the kid was murdered on a Saturday. He was left to bleed out and die, to be found the next morning. Murderer CAME TO MY SCHOOL on Monday as if nothing had happened. Cops pulled him out of the class in the middle of the day once they had figured out it was him.
They Shoot Me Up
I had a student that frequently lingered in my classroom after school. She often looked ill and was always very weird. One day she opened up to me and said that her mother and her live-in boyfriend shot up heroin every night. I told my principal after she spoke to me and she informed that CPS was already involved. A few days later the same girl told me that her mom and boyfriend would shoot her up with heroin and tell her that she couldn't tell anyone they were still doing it because she would get in trouble for doing it too. She asked me to keep it a secret (which I obviously couldn't) because she was worried she'd get arrested for drug use.
She no longer lives at home thankfully.
"One of my students..."
One of my students calls me dad, because his dad is abusive and I am not. Worth noting the student is trans, and that is why his dad abuses him. All I do is respect his pronouns. Also worth noting, I am a woman living in the Deep South, and I still let him call me dad because it makes him happy, even though him calling me something unprofessional/me respecting his pronouns could get me fired. All his lgbtq friends have picked up on it as well. I am considered a "safe teacher". Maybe not as heartwrenching as others, but it breaks my heart.
"My dad told my therapist that he never wanted to have a kid. He didn't even bothered to ask me to leave the room"
Broke my heart.
"One of the items..."
I'm not a teacher, but one drama lesson we started by playing a little game, we were given an object and had to pretend it was something else but that object.
One of the items was a empty cardboard box, and it was passed around the circle as such items like footballs, hats, boxing gloves.. etc etc. But when it got to this one boy, he opened the box, looked inside and said 'this isn't a cardboard box, it's my will to live' and passed it onto the next person with no facial expression whatsoever.
He didn't mean it (hopefully) and laughed afterward, but it sure did result in an awkward silence for a few seconds.
"I eventually asked..."
I work as a guidance counsellor for a high school. I was helping one girl with university applications, and she kept saying "I don't know" whenever I asked her about a certain school, program, etc.
I eventually asked if she had any ideas of where she might like to apply to, and she said "I don't think it matters, I'll be dead before I graduate".
I found out she had been admitted to the hospital days later for a failed suicide attempt. This was a few years ago; she visited me last week to show me her acceptance letter to uni AND her one year clean of self harm token.
Y'all know that one Hannah Montana song? “Everybody makes mistakes! Everybody has those days!" That's the song I sing to myself every time I accidentally burn myself while making ramen. It comforts me to know, however, that there are a lot of worse mistakes out there than some spilled ramen. Who knew?
In fact, some mistakes are so astronomical that they're remembered for decades afterwards, leaving the one who made the mistake a legacy of being a dumba**. Here are a few of them!!!
Some may argue that the existence of the Universe was a mistake. I disagree. It was clearly Zayn leaving One Direction. But these next few were pretty bad too.
If you do the math, this is also the reason why Hentai exists.
I'll say the wrong turn Franz Ferdinand's driver made that went right in front of Gavrilo Princip.
EDIT: yes I'm aware war may still have broken out even if Franz Ferdinand wasn't assassinated
Imagine you're Gavrilo Princip. The assassination plot you and your friends had been cooking up for about the last year or so has been a complete and total disaster, just a monumental f*ck-up of the highest degree. You're staked out at this deli thinking maybe, just maybe the car will pass by, and by some stroke of sheer luck, it does.
If you're Princip, this is nothing short of serendipity.
Petition to return to the ocean.Ocean Surf GIFGiphy
"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams
This was, in fact, a monumental mistake.
Sears not beating Amazon to the punch.
Blockbuster not buying Netflix.
You thought THOSE were bad? Well gear up for their next few, because they are 100% accurate. Except the one about Cats, that movie slaps.
I don’t know sports, but sure.
Seahawks not running it.
I used to wear a Seahawks jersey whenever I took a test because I knew I would pass when I shouldn't.
CATS is great, y'all are just boring.Giphy
The Emoji Movie.
That live action movie about Cats is also up there.
Very fair point.
Humans are not wired to have that many social interactions and maintain that many relationships. Plus the echochambers it allows people to create for themselves, no matter how conspiratorial or vile their beliefs, means that stupid/evil people are no longer shunned into changing their mind.
Not sure it was worth being able to see what a celebrity had for lunch or what new "dance" your younger cousin and her tween friends are doing.
But in all seriousness, some horrible things may now have happened if the right thing was halted at the right time.
Washington called it.George Washington Disney GIF by Hamilton: An American MusicalGiphy
Voting for people based on what side of the political spectrum they're on. George Washington himself advised against political parties because he thought they would cause too much division in this country. Unfortunately for everyone, he was right.
Big oops on that one.
Barack Obama mocking Donald Trump at the Correspondents Dinner might have led directly to his 2016 run....
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," Obama said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
Then he turned serious: "But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice' — at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled."
This is the best Star Wars and no one can change my mind.
I'll take 'Star Wars Christmas Special' for $100.
That atrocious pile of manure gave us Boba Fett, so without the Christmas Special there won't be The Mandalorian.
Wow, in this article, I openly admitted my love for Cats AND The Star Wars Holiday Special. So maybe my existence was the biggest mistake of all.
ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope you all feel a little bit better about yourself. Because when push comes to shove, at least you didn't accidentally start World War I
When I was younger, it seemed every adult believed that you couldn't swim for several hours after eating. Why did they all believe this? I fought them on this all the time, by the way. I shouldn't have had to, just because I'd eaten some barbecue during a pool party. Guess what, though? That belief is unfounded.
After Redditor MelonInACat asked the online community, "What is a common myth that has been debunked that too many people believe?" people told us about the myths that are still around despite credible evidence.
"Do you know how many wellness checks..."
You must wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person.
- 24 hours from when? The time you realized they were missing? The time you estimate they went missing? The time of the initial report to police?
- Who is the legal timekeeper? If this is a law, it must have a designated timekeeper for official records. City police? County sheriff? Do I hire a private attorney to file a time-keeping motion in court?
- If the most likely time to find a missing person is the first 24 hours, why would you wait 24 hours?
- If the person dies or is severely injured because the county/state refused to initiate a search, doesn't that put some liability on their office? It seems like that would've been tested in court by now.
There's no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It's nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.
Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in, man...
CALL IT IN!
Why would you wait so long? It's absurd and wastes valuable time. And in the event something has happened, you could very well be saving someone's life.
"Popping your knuckles..."
Popping your knuckles is actually harmless and the "study" that claimed it caused arthritis was heavily flawed. Studies now show that it has nothing to do with causing arthritis.
I heard this one all the time.
I didn't crack my knuckles anyway because I didn't understand the appeal. Why were all the first-graders so fascinated by this?
"That if you get too close..."
That if you get too close to a baby bird, the mother will smell human on the baby and abandon the nest.
You probably should still avoid touching baby birds for other reasons like disease or risking injury to the animal though.
"That waking a sleepwalker..."
That waking a sleepwalker is dangerous for them. They might wake up confused, but they'll be fine unless you scream at them or something.
"That your hair and fingernails..."
That your hair and fingernails still grow after you die. It's mainly an optical illusion. Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they've grown.
I grew up hearing this.
There are entire generations of people who believe this.
"We all know the story."
The War of The Worlds broadcast in 1938. We all know the story: Orson Welle's broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in partway through and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams backed up as people tried to escape.
But it turns out, that isn't really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcast of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.
This one is definitely a popular urban myth by this point.
Cool story, but nowhere near as exciting as you might have heard. If anything, that mythos probably helped Welles get full artistic control of the projects, like Ciitizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, that made him a star.
"You don't have to wait..."
You don't have to wait 3 hours after eating to swim. Every summer I have to fight my in-laws about it.
"Do you really think..."
That not turning your airplane mode on (smartphone) can interfere/jam communications.
Do you really think if a smartphone might endanger a whole plane with passengers they would let it fly?
"No amount of reasoning..."
That cats kill babies.
I've run into this so many times since having kids. And it's not the older grandmas making these statements. I've had 20-year-olds tell me that you can't have cats if you plan to have babies because "they'll steal their breath" or some other variation. No amount of reasoning or rationale will dissuade them of this belief.
"Maybe it's just one of those things..."
YOUR. BLOOD. IS. NOT. BLUE! Seriously tho, I was told that everyone's blood was blue on the inside when I was younger, and I honestly don't know why my Mom thought that. Maybe it's just one of those things that you only believe because your family has been saying it since your Grandma's Grandpa's Grandma's Grandma's Grandpa or something like that.
Here's some valuable advice, guys:
Google is your friend. It's very easy to debunk this stuff. I remember being taught that the tongue had taste zones––we even had to fill out a worksheet labeling the tongue's different zones. That's totally wrong, in case you haven't figured it out.
Have some myths you've heard you'd like more people to know have already been debunked? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
As much as we're not supposed to feel satisfaction upon observing the struggles of other people, it can be hard to resist a silent, internal fist pump when some blunder occurs immediately after we tried to help the person prevent it.
It is all a result of stubbornness.
The person we're trying to help is stubborn. They think they know the best way to do something, or the exact information required for a given moment.
And, on top of that, they think we're being stubborn when we try to intervene.
So all of our attempts to help fall on deaf ears. And the results can be as calamitous as they are satisfying.
TenaciousBrit asked, "What's your 'I told you so' moment?"
Many people chose to talk about the times their friends or family ended up producing some truly entertaining physical comedy.
And the laughter was only enhanced with the knowledge that they'd just predicted the whole thing.
"Was picking beans with my sister and mom. To this day I still don't know why the fence was electric but it was. I touched it and I got zapped. It wasn't too bad but it hurt. I jumped away and my sister saw me, I said that it was an electric fence."
"Of course she just thought I was pranking her. I was trying to tell her the whole time we picked beans but she didn't believe me. Right at the end she touched the fence and she didn't see it coming at all... Her face was just like, 'Oh shi-' "
"Loved the car ride home, 'I told you... Idiot.' "
No Babies, Two Hurt Backs
"My sister and I were out sledding when we were kids at this place with a really steep hill. I had unknowingly gone down a sled path that had a jump in it, and when I landed it really hurt my back."
"So when I got back up to the top of the hill I told my sister 'don't go that way, the jump really hurts.' She called me a baby and didn't believe me that it really hurt so she decided she would go down that path on her sled."
"Well, she hit the jump and didn't get back up, turns out she fell so hard she had broken her leg. When we finally got her back up the hill and to the car, I got to tell her 'I told you so.' "
"This dumb a**hole woman wouldn't leave the llamas at our petting zoo alone, even after I warned her."
"Eventually they had enough and spit alllll over her. Green goopy spit from head to torso."
"She threw up a bunch and I laughed. Until I smelled it and then I was retching too."
Others recalled the times they trusted their instincts, only to be gaslighted by medical professionals.
But they did, eventually, get the help they needed. And the mixture of pride and frustration toward the other doctor was palpable.
"Had a weirdly dark freckle. The color of chocolate. I showed spouse and he called me a hypochondriac and if I go to a doctor, I'd be wasting their time."
"I went to the dermatologist. It was melanoma."
Years of Itchy Apples
"Since I was 14, my throat got itchy when I ate apples. I told my mom but she thought I just didn't want to eat apples and forced me to eat them."
"Went to the doctor's office and got a test for allergies."
"Turns out, I'm allergic to apples, peaches, and many other fruits."
This Was a Baby We're Talking About Here!
"My newborn baby was projectile vomiting after every feeding. I took her to the doctor several times, always ended up being sent away with suggestions to try a different formula. I tried like 4 different ones, no change."
"The 4th or 5th visit, they sent me away again with the same recommendation even though I pleaded with them to figure out what was wrong with my baby. I left the office and drove to the ER instead. She ended up having emergency surgery that day."
"The surgeon said she would have starved to death (or maybe dehydrated?) had she gone much longer without the surgery. I gave the doctors in that office a piece of my mind."
Dirt: Not Always the Answer
"Went to the doctor on and off for breathing problems to no avail. A lot of 'rub some dirt on it' mentality. Wound up in the ER as a result of an asthma attack. Kept the bracelet on and everything when I went back the next week to see him."
"Not as satisfying as I would've hoped."
And some people discussed the times they knew or predicted a piece of information, but couldn't seem to persuade someone else through dialogue or conversation.
But, of course, the truth always comes out.
Chose the Wrong Partner
"Lawyer here. Fired a partner who I found some real irregularities in their spending habits vs. what they were making after he couldn't provide a good answer to where it came from. Other partner left and started a new firm with them because they disagreed with my decision and refused to look at the evidence."
"Turns out he stole 500k of a clients money, got disbarred, and is now facing prison time. I told her to look at the evidence and she didn't listen. 🤷🏼♂️"
"Someone started talking about a bottle of Newman's Own salad dressing while at dinner with my family and I said something like 'I'm pretty sure that was started by the Actor/Race car driver Paul Newman.' to which one of my siblings replied 'No it was someone else.' "
"I grabbed the bottle and turned it around and started reading the label out loud. The first sentence was 'Paul Newman's career was acting, but his passion was auto racing.' I stopped reading after that."
He Knew Immediately
"Bed frame wasn't properly lashed down while moving, partner insisted the weight of the frame would keep it in place."
"Flew into the middle of a major intersection on a left turn. We dodged four lanes of oncoming traffic to collect the pieces."
"I fixed my partner with a look that could peel paint, and he said 'I know, I know, you told me so and you're right. I'm sorry.' "
"I still give him sh** for it every time we move something. It's funny now, but god damn was I pissed at the time."
We can draw a couple of lessons from this list.
First, know that, at the end of the day, you can only do your best to share your opinion. You need to accept that they're going to do what they're going to do.
Second, when someone tries to give you advice, maybe take a moment to listen.
One of the most upsetting aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic––which is saying a lot, frankly––is the number of people who have been so affected by misinformation and disinformation. You know the ones to which I refer: These are the people who are convinced the virus is a hoax despite the lives it's claimed and the devastation it has wrought on society at large. Disinformation kills––there are stories of people who remained convinced that Covid-19 is a hoax even while intubated in the ICU, even up to their last breath.
After Redditor asked the online community, "Doctors of Reddit, what happened when you diagnosed a Covid-19 denier with Covid-19?" doctors and other medical professionals shared these rather unsettling stories.
"The one that sticks out in my mind..."
I'm a doctor working in acute internal medicine. I've seen lots of COVID over the last 12 months, probably 300+ cases. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was a 70-year-old lady with COPD. She refused to have a vaccine because she didn't trust it despite the fact she was eligible for one for weeks beforehand (in the UK). Subsequently caught COVID and was admitted to hospital. She repeatedly doubted this was the diagnosis. She refused to go to our COVID High Dependency Unit despite quite significant respiratory failure. Of course, she deteriorated over a number of days to the point where she was on maximal oxygen on the ward and at that point finally accepted treatment in HDU with high flow oxygen, although continued to doubt she had COVID. Died within 24 hours of her HDU admission having refused to go to ICU.
And of course, what did her family say? They were convinced she never had COVID and even went as far as accusing us of withholding life-saving treatment from her. Unfortunately, there's no treatment for stupidity.
Indeed there isn't.
A completely avoidable tragedy.
"My worst experience..."
My worst experience was when a 2-year-old kid got diagnosed with COVID. His mother had brought him with c/o fever and diarrhea. The child was severely dehydrated and so we had to do a mandatory swab test since we planned to admit him. It came positive and the mother refused to admit it. We were ready to perform a repeat test and we even advised the parents to get tested. Her defense was "The child never left the house. It's just me and the father who go to work daily. The grandmother babysits while we are away. How can he even get COVID without leaving the house." She had called her husband, he came with 10-15 relatives in a car, they broke a few chairs and then left with the baby. We just informed about the case to the COVID control centre.
"Only one patient ever accused me..."
Infectious disease doctor here. Seen about 450-500 COVID patients in the hospital since it all started. Only one patient ever accused me of using the nasal swab to give him COVID (along with a microchip). A handful have ranted nonstop about China. Everyone else has been sick enough to accept it, but lots still refuse the idea of vaccination even after being in the ICU.
"I had a lady who was maxed out..."
I had a lady who was maxed out on high flow (the next step is breathing tube) who still refused to believe she had Covid and was holding a negative test in her hand that she had taken a week prior.
The denial is so strong here.
It would be sad if it wasn't so horrifying.
"I'm an attending physician..."
I'm an attending physician at our Triage Unit. On a Friday, an older gentleman (60 + years) came in with his entire family (wife, sister, BIL, 2 nephews, and 3 children), none of them with a face mask. All had mild COVID symptoms except him, he was saturating 80% with evident shortness of breath. We insisted on doing PCR and a chest CAT scan looking for COVID but he and his wife refused, saying that COVID wasn't real and it was just a bacterial infection. The more we talked with him the more agitated he got to the point that his face was red. We suggested hospitalizing him to stabilize him and start treatment, but they accused us of exaggerating his symptoms and that we only wanted to hospitalize him so we could steal the liquid in his knees (a stupid rumor that was going around when this whole thing started).
They both cursed at us and said they were going to a better hospital to get antibiotics. Fast forward 24 hours later on Saturday, I get a call from the hospital next county over telling us that they intubated one of our patients because he went into respiratory failure when he arrived and they had to transfer him here because they don't have the appropriate equipment. We transfer the patient on Sunday only to find out on the CAT scan he had 90% of lung damage. He passed away on Monday morning.
Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate (that I filled out) and before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling "See! I told you it wasn't COVID! It says here: "Death due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2! I knew it was a bacteria!" I told her: "SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma'am."
The lengths people are willing to go to stay in denial astound me.
Basic critical thinking appears to have gone out the window here.
I'm a family doc who mostly does outpatient.
I live in a pretty conservative area with a good proportion of COVID deniers, so I've been seeing COVID deniers since this mess became politicized (I've lost a few patients over the mask mandate).
Anyway, I'm pretty pleased to say that several of my COVID denying patients have completely turned their attitude around when they (or a close family member) contracted COVID. Even if their case wasn't severe, the sudden terror that they could wind up on a ventilator overnight really puts the fear of God into people.
Unfortunately, I still have some patients who are still pretty obnoxious despite their covid diagnosis. They mostly dig deeper into paranoia. If not about the virus itself, then about the circumstances surrounding them contracting it.
"If Fauci had done his job from the beginning, it never would've hit this town."
"It's the entire fault of Obamacare that I can't get the experimental immunoglobulin treatment!" (It's not, your eligibility for the infusion is dependent on a list of risk factors).
And, probably my favorite...
"So I have COVID and it's completely your responsibility to fix it. I need you to send Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Vit D, Lisinopril, and azithromycin to the pharmacy..." Then they proceed to get pissed at me when I don't.
"During our peak time..."
I'm an emergency department physician in the US. I work in an area that had the highest death rate for a solid couple of weeks in the country.
During our peak time when we had national news crews here covering how we were a s***show, saw numerous people screaming their Covid disease wasn't real despite being hypoxic and on large amounts of oxygen due to Covid. That was an unpleasant time as this was still early (May/June) and it was extremely political like people apparently plotting to kidnap our state governor due to lockdowns.
Saw a lot of people refusing Covid testing who needed admission for non-covid purposes because the swabs would give them covid or put some sort of tracking device. They weren't pleased when they then had to be admitted to our full-blown Covid floors. Our Covid floors resembled a warzone because they were understaffed and relative s***hole conditions as we basically converted hallways into covid floors.
Also saw a lot of people young people who weren't exactly deniers but thought you basically couldn't sick if you were young. Lots of people with their lungs permanently scarred or at a minimum a couple of weeks of misery and/or spread it to their loved ones who got extremely ill.
"The willful cognitive dissonance..."
Physician here. The willful cognitive dissonance is real. It never ceases to amaze me how many patients will refuse assistance from me to register to get vaccinated, make claims that vaccines are harmful, but then accept my medical care on anything else that suits their whim. Patients absolutely have the autonomy to refuse care, but why would you continue to see a physician and accept their medical advice and care if you think they would simultaneously recommend something to you that would be harmful?
I've posed this question to patients who are vaccine-hesitant: "Why would you let me manage your diabetes and hypertension if you think I would harm you by recommending vaccinations?" You cannot get any kind of thoughtful response aside from, "I just don't want to be vaccinated."
"Some denier patients lived..."
RN here with most of 2020 spent in COVID land. I never had anyone refuse treatment when things got serious. I know some of the MDs I worked with got yelled at, like the rest of us...but honestly, that happens frequently anyway.
Some denier patients lived, many of which had accepted reality by the end of their stay after seeing what we all were going through to treat them.
Some died telling me I was a sheep or an idiot or a liar between gasps of air.
COVID didn't care.
This comment is strangely poetic.
Covid definitely doesn't care. The virus lays waste to people and... that's it. Good luck with your games of Russian roulette.
"People are crazy."
I work on a COVID unit and I ran into a patient like this. They'd tell me over and over again about how they weren't really sick and about how I didn't need to be gowned up in PPE. They even tried to take my face shield off. If you test positive for COVID two times then you have COVID! People are crazy.
Covid disinformation is a very serious problem and it's costing people their lives.
What can be done about it?
News literacy matters: It's important to get information from verifiable sources. Scientists and medical professionals are trustworthy. Those with backgrounds in public health know what they're talking about. Some conspiracy theory you received from your distant cousin on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is not worth your time or consideration.
Have some of your own Covid denial stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!