Teachers are some of the most undervalued people in our society, and the nonsense they have to put up with could drive anyone insane. They deserve a raise, and the resources to provide the best possible education.
Chrisrocks202 asked teachers of Reddit: What was the most annoying thing you ever had to deal with in class?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Kids can be menaces.
Just how much of a danger small children are to themselves and others. We've got to catalogue every playground injury, which while understanable in theory is actually incredibly time consuming.
And the kids have been taught to find a grownup for everything so one minute you'll be applying ice to someone who ran into a post, and then filing in the same forms for the kid who wanted a band aid because they have a hangnail.''
Kids can be a danger to everyone. I was volunteering at a preschool and this kid tried to cut my nose off with safety scissors.
I sometimes wonder if those kids will ever grow up and remember the messed up and sadistic stuff they did.
Gotta save face.
Early elementary art teacher here:
I was in the middle of teaching a kindergarten class and noticed one of the kids was passing gas...A LOT. Luckily it was warm enough outside so I cracked a couple windows without missing a step in my lesson or bringing more attention to the smell. A few minutes later, I realize that the smell is growing at an exponential rate and I had that terrible thought: someone sh*t their pants and now they're either too embarrassed to come tell me in front of their peers or scared they will get in trouble (remember, they're 5 year olds).
SO, I decide my plan of attack will be to continue teaching my lesson as planned but actively walk around my classroom with and extra heightened sense of smell so I can literally "sniff out" the kid that did this while still acting normal around all the students. Sure enough, I get to one of the tables and this one kid just smells terrible and it's obvious she did this. I get the kids started on their art projects and ask this girl into the hall to have a chat. I ask her if she pooped her pants and she says no. I ask her if she's sure she didn't and she says yeah she's sure. We go back inside the class and the smell gets even worse. A couple minutes later I ask the same girl back out in the hall and I tell her I know she pooped her pants and that she needs to go to the school nurse to get a change of clothes. After it takes some convincing, I get her outta there and get things cleaned up on the sly so that way a lot of the other kids wouldn't find out what happened and therefore wouldn't tease the girl later.
That was a rough day.
Aw, you handled it well though. My little cousin struggled with incontinence up until age 10 or so and he was bullied horribly because of it. It wasn't happening too often until one year when he had a teacher who wouldn't let him go to the restroom when he needed to. My aunt sat down with her and explained that when he says he has to go, he NEEDS to go RIGHT THEN but the teacher wouldn't budge. My aunt finally told him to just get up and go when he needs to, and not worry about getting in trouble. He got suspended over it.
When parents think they know more than teachers.
Not always in class, necessarily, but my district has a "Bring Your Parent to School Day" which is NOT supposed to be an opportunity for parents to critique teachers, but definitely ends up that way for some of us.
This year, at the end of class, a parent came up to me and told me that my class was pretty disorderly (even though it was the best they'd behaved all year - mind you, this was a class of mainly freshman boys), and that she didn't like how many times her own son got up to sharpen his pencil.
Oh. Okay. Thanks?
The same parent told my colleague that he should have students who wanted to learn sit on one side of the room and have students who didn't want to learn sit on the other. And then, of course, ONLY teach the kids who wanted to learn.
The irony in that suggestion was that her son would be on the "doesn't want to learn" side, but, as public educators, we're not allowed to say anything. Just smile and nod, smile and nod...
I wanted to be a teacher for a long time, and the number 1 reason why I changed my mind was parents. I volunteered at my cousin's elementary school for awhile some years back and I absolutely loved the kids and they loved me, but the adults were too much to handle sometimes.
Teach at a university, parents aren't even allowed to know the kids grades much less get involved and if they do you have much more leeway in telling them off. It's the best of both worlds.
Ugh, all the time. Or they don't sit evenly on the floor.
It seems silly but when chairs squeak every time a kid moves...
Most of my elementary school classrooms had tennis balls on the feet of the chairs to avoid that issue.
Tug o' war is sciencey-ish, right? An inertia experiment perhaps?
I was doing relief/supply teaching at an all boys school in North London, the school had a reputation for being difficult but never did I expect that I would have to try break a group of 16 year old boys commencing a game of tug o' war across the science lab.
American living in UK here. Seems to me UK kids can be brutal when testing the authority of their teachers. God help you if you can't hold a classroom.
I was listening to a British comic once, and he talked about his previous career teaching at a school in the North of England. He said that one day in the break room, the history teacher was talking about how satisfied he had been with that day's class and the curiosity from the students. "I felt myself getting closer to the students on a personal level. And I felt comfortable telling them that I was actually a virgin." The comic was like "mate, are you alive!? How long have you been on this earth!?!?" Not long afterwards, the kids were marching through the hall yelling about their history teacher's virginity. Funny stuff.
How is this a good idea?
The country I teach in sells energy drinks to the small children on their break. Then they come in to class bouncing off the walls and won't stop talking. The absolute most stressful thing I've ever experienced in my life...
We had them in our high school. Not sure what age he means by small children, but in Sweden we're not allowed to sell energy drinks to anyone under 15.
That would be really annoying. Luckily in the UK some point last year, most supermarkets had a 16+ rule on energy drinks.
University level, so I am not sure if this counts, but he would come to class and watch television shows on his laptop.
I don't have an attendance requirement. I asked him to please just watch them outside instead of coming to class. He said he was very sorry and would not do it again. After that, he was still pretty clearly watching shows in class on his laptop, with the sound down, but would click away any time I came near.
I don't understand.
I don't understand why the teacher let them stay in class while doing that tbh. I know when I was paying for my own education I wouldn't tolerate people talking during the lecture even just as a student myself, I can't imagine a teacher just sitting there trying to talk over a someone watching TV in the middle of class.
Principal power trip.
The principal. Easily the most annoying thing. The first school I worked at the principal would go to every classroom every day, sometimes multiple times per day. He and the vice-principal tried to micromanage every aspect of teachers classrooms. All it did was disrupt the flow of the class and piss off both my students and me on a daily basis.
Yes, this. This is what we are going through right now at my school. The worst part is that our principal doesn't know what he's doing. It's awful.
this is a man who is friends with many people who help each other move up. This is his first year at my school. My school is a highly desired school for admins who want to move up. It's like they're using us as a step on a ladder. It has always been a high performing school that adapted well to changing principals every 2-3 years. His superiors are known to be unethical also. They are all friends. He even makes friends with the union people. I'm in one of the largest districts in the US.
It was my first year teaching so I didn't want to say anything to him. Some of the more experienced teachers dropped some passive aggressive hints during faculty meetings, but they didn't help. I have no idea how to deal with someone who does this kind of managing.
Edit: Since a lot of people are asking about unions I just wanted to say this was at a charter school in the US South. I don't think there was a union. I don't have an education degree, so my only choice of teaching was at charter/private schools.
I had a student one year who smelled awful. The moment he was in a certain raduis, you'd get hit with a wave of BO that would knock you over. The smell was so bad that the next class would complain because his stank would linger. I felt bad because I actually liked him and thought he was nice. He had to have been bullied. I'd see kids putting their shirts over their noses and I couldn't get mad at them. It was really distracting. I felt so bad because I also didn't want to go near him because he made me gag. We talked to his mom. The nurse gave him deodorant and said he could get some whenever he needed it. They even offered to let him use the shower in the gym. Nothing helped. The kid doesn't care about hygiene. There may have been a reason why. Maybe he was abused or no one taught him how to wash. But, the only thing that got rid of that smell is when the school year ended and I didn't have him anymore.
Teachers are not paid enough to be substitues for parents.
Parents who ask why I've not taught their 2 year old to read. Dude, if they were ready and we had the staff to sit one-on-one to teach them, I'd love to. But I'm too busy changing them, cleaning and doing pointless paperwork. There is a lot more to learning to read than sitting a kid down and trying to shove books down their throats.
Also, revenge poopers. Little Johnny got mad because I didn't let him put the Lego up his nose or keep hitting Sally? He goes and poops on the floor and waits for me to find it.
You could not pay me enough....
And the lower salary is why there's a teacher shortage.
I went to a high school where we had MAX 14 kids in a class so the teachers could actually spend time with the students to make sure they truly understood the work.
I was in a low salary state and the only shortage was in math and special education. Everything else was extremely competitive with layoffs happening all the time. These are positions that paid $29,000 a year.