Teachers Share The One Thing They Deeply Regret Saying To A Student

We all have regrets about the words that fall out of our mouths sometimes.

No human is perfect. In the heat of the moment, when emotion is running high or you're running on nerves and anxiety, often certain "words" can be exchanged. Words, that when you reflect in hindsight, you know were a poor choice in the moment. It happens, we aren't always going to be articulate and on point. But acknowledging and sharing remorse is appreciated.

Redditor u/Shaymew1 wanted teachers to share some moments they wish they could take back by asking.... Teachers of Reddit, what is something you've said to a student that you deeply regret?

Full of Regret. 

As a substitute, I was having trouble with one class in particular. In anger, because the kids weren't respecting me and they were out of control I kicked a kid out of class. Just told him to go to the principal, because instead of staying in class he decided to wander around the hall. I told him when he got back to go to the principal. Didn't really think that one through.

Come to find out? He was on the spectrum and he was upset that he had a substitute and his routine changed. I saw him after class while I was walking back to the main building one day and apologized for my behavior and I deeply regretted my behavior. thestonedkoala

A Tirade. 

Substitute teacher here, was doing a long-term assignment at public middle school for the chorus teacher. The teacher only left 1 week of stuff for the classes to do so I had to improvise the last 5 weeks, which was stressful enough.

But this school refused to send kids with behavioral issues to the learning center where they are supposed to go. As a result there were 2 or 3 kids in every class that made each day a test of my patience, to put it mildly. For example, the very big 6th grade boy who punched a small 6th grade girl in the face, the one who called me an a**hole during class, the one who thought I was being racist for calling him out for follow exactly zero of my directions, and the one who would look me in the eye and just say NO whenever I gave the class something to do.

Anyway, towards the end I had one of those days simply put, I lost it. I started screaming at the top of my lungs for a good 5 minutes, red in the face, spit flying, totally unhinged. I don't remember a word of what I said. There wasn't any profanity, but I doubt anything I said many any sense whatsoever. It wasn't directed at any one kid, just the whole class.

I regretted it as soon as I finished the tirade. It was embarrassing and totally unprofessional. The next day I apologized to the kids and we just carried on. But I know that for years those kids will be like, yo. You remember when that sub totally lost his s**t? Yeah. That was crazy. EdwardLewisVIII

Nobody Likes You. 

I once let a student know that he was annoying his classmates in an attempt to be cool and witty. He really was, and I told him that his classmates didn't like the persona he put on. To rephrase in an extremely brutal way, I said "Hey kiddo, I know you think you are being cool, but guess what, your classmates don't like you." I didn't say it like that, of course, but that was basically the message. It came as a shock to him, I know. His face said it all.

In hindsight I know I just crushed the confidence of someone who desperately needed more confidence, and some gentle guidance on social skills, not a stone cold reality check. This was back when I was still a very inexperienced teacher. I have found better ways to deal with similar issues since. Reddit

You Scared?


One of my students wrote a nasty anonymous note to a classmate and I found out who it was. Without letting him know I knew who it was, I called him a coward in front of the class and said that "real" men don't rely on nasty, anonymous notes to handle their business. I still believe he was a coward for his actions, but I regret labeling a student and for humiliating him in front of his peers. MrIPitytheFool

Lead Heathens. 

It was my first year as a teacher and I was teaching an infant class (6-7 year olds). While I was having a discussion with my teaching assistant about who she should support a pencil hit me in the temple.

I turned round fully prepared to make an example of someone due to the dangers of throwing pencils and to be honest I was fuming it had nearly hit me in the eye/ the disrespect.

Went over to the table I thought it came from. One child was making no eye contact and another child pointed to them. I made the child who was pointed at stand up and (regrettably for more than one reason) shouted at him pretty intensely. I could see he was trying to say something but I wasn't letting him speak and continued the barrage for a good few minutes. Everyone else in the room sitting in dead silence.

When I finally stopped for breath the kid, in tears, said it wasn't him but the kid that pointed to him! The rest of the children confirmed the story. I felt awful because obviously it wasn't this kids fault and also I shouldn't have lost my temper. I apologized a lot to the first kid and spoke to the kids parents and explained the situation.

By the time it came to tell off the kid that actually did it I was still taken aback by how poorly I had reacted minutes before I just took him outside and gave him a quiet lecture. Turns out they were karate chopping the edge of the pencils not intentionally throwing them and one just happened to hit me. Feel like I learned a lot about how to manage behavior from that incident but still regret the whole situation. Dome_of_a_Tonne

Too Soon! 

A very popular student in our class died by suicide by hanging himself. The next day we were in class and the teacher knew we weren't able for any work, so she decided to let us play a game for the class. She said "Let's play Hangman."

She was nearly finished drawing the hanged man before someone in the class spoke up and told her it wasn't an appropriate game right now. She realized her mistake and just sat at her desk with her head in her hands and cried. She'd just been trying to distract us, we felt so sorry for her. isaywekeepit


Recently had a student sleeping at his desk during exam prep. So I asked him to answer the question that was on the board. He didn't really seem to want to but I made him answer it, he got the right answer. However as it turns out he had excused himself from final exams on account of severe depression. I felt really bad about that even though I had no way of knowing it before that lesson. goudentientje

Through the Roof.


I was a teacher aide in a wood shop class. Some kids were up in the attic above the shop. They were strictly not allowed up there, but I said, "I don't care if you guys are up here as long as you are careful." One of them fell through the ceiling and broke his spine and arm. i-am-unimportant

Not Okay Dude. 

My gym teacher in 6th grade was an a**hole, constantly swearing at us and sometimes hitting us. Once, after he threatened me he said "If I ever see you walking down the road and talking crap, I'll make sure you never step on this place again." My reply as a quiet kid "okay."

2 days later that guy was never allowed to teach and spent time in jail. captainpatakis

You want the truth?


When I was a first year teacher A mother once asked me if her 13 year old son had potential. I said no and it still haunts me to this day. mettadown


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