Teachers Share The Smartest Thing Their Seemingly 'Stupid' Student Has Ever Said

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There is hope for you after all!

Kids say the darndest things... don't they? Just when you think they can't surprise you anymore... they shout "SURPRISE!!" They may not shout it literally but they in unexpected ways and show you in simple logic. Often many kids are written off as "not that bright" or "dumb," even teachers misuse these labels. But just when a kid is counted out... they let you know, they're not as off as you think, so don't assume.

Redditor u/iamiconick wanted to hear from the educators out there who have been pleasantly surprised by asking.... Teachers of Reddit. What is the surprisingly smartest thing your stupidest student has ever said?


The A-B-C's....

Giphy

I teach 1st grade so many not as dramatic as other replies.

I had a kid who is kind of never quite paying attentions. We read a dinosaur book and were answering VERY basic 1st grade questions in the back of the book. It literally had a brachiosaurus and said:

The dinosaur's legs are:

a) long

b) short

He pretty much got stuck here and didn't move on. To me, it was the easiest question in the book but some of the students are low level English learners so it is possible he just couldn't understand the words long or short. After like 7 minutes of doing my rounds and assisting other students, I came back to him. He had written in:

c) "Long" and "short" are both opinion words.

uReallyShouldTrustMe

"punishments"

When I was teaching grade 5 a few years back, I had a student who really struggled academically and misbehaved a lot. During one of his "punishments" which was washing dishes with me from our morning breakfast time, I straight up asked him why he kept getting into trouble.

The boy admitting that he just knew that if he misbehaved he would get to spend time with me 1:1, and we would talk about life and his hobbies and such.

I found out later on that his father had been incarcerated for pretty much the entirety of the boy's life.

So, the 'stupidest' and most misbehaved kid in the class was actually just playing the system the whole time, and really just needed a positive male role model in his life.

After that, I told him he didn't need to act up in order to spend time with me. He could just ask for extra responsibility and I would give it to him. He was (mostly) better behaved after that.

I miss him, a lot.

KnightOfTheWinter

"These are marbles."

I teach ESL. I had a student about 7 and we were all doing the workbook. The lesson revolved around things like big and small, old and new, clean and dirty, as well as toys, like dolls, balls, yo-yos, AND this/that/these/those. It is easily one of my least favorite lessons because it really is a lot for the young students to understand.

The photo was a boy pointing to a desk with a few small, round objects on it. The girl was taking forever, but she always seemed a bit slower in class, and so I wasn't too shocked. I was checking the other students work and figured she would finish in time and I would help her at the correction stage.

Finally she makes it up to my desk and I get to the picture. The obvious answer was "These are small balls." What did she have though? "These are marbles."

The kids hadn't even learned that word! How she came up with it left me absolutely baffled, but from that point on, I never questioned her intelligence. I figured she just knew different things, but it didn't mean she didn't understand. She clearly just spent 30 minutes wracking her brain for the best word for "small balls."

HaideMechka

"Chess Camp"

Giphy

Used to teach chess to elementary level kids.

Would run "Chess Camp" over the summer. 20-40 kids come in every day for a full "school day" but every period is basically a chess class. Lasts a week.

On the first day, I would tell kids they need to Lose to get better, which is true in a game like chess (especially in the beginning). I would tell them "You have to lose 50 games before you can improve in chess".

Well on about day 3 I'm walking from the field to the class and see one of my students, 2nd grader, walking the other direction and ask him off-hand "How's chess going?"

And he responds "Well, I've lost all of my games so I guess I'm doing great!"

NeverEndingHell

Perfect German. 

I'm teaching English as a foreign language and one of my students hasn't been attending for a year. When he finally came, I gave him an essay to write. He wrote it in perfect German because he thought that we were studying German. The guy had been learning German all year long only to learn that we were studying English. This is both the smartest and the stupidest thing I can imagine.

gunnerAmante

Be Prepared. 

Elementary School. I worked in the school admin office for a while. We had a cop come in to speak to the kids, basically to warn them on the dangers of strangers and random people speaking to them in the street. The cop was great and told the kids how they should always be careful and that some bad men might take them away from their mummies and daddies. One kid puts his hand up and asks the question "so what will happen if we go with one of these stranger men?." The cop wasn't prepared for that question and just said how sad it would be and how his parents would miss him.

A few days later a new buzzword was going around the school which phonetically sounded like "peed-or-file." The kid had looked up online or spoke to someone and then told the other kids in schools about what pedophiles do. It scared the heck out of some of the kids and the principal had to come to each class to calm the kids down.

OhioBeeSwarm

The Myths....

When learning mythology

Mister, if centaurs have 2 arms and 4 legs, does that make them insects?

irishman178

Ariel is that you?

Giphy

I was making a joke about mermaids to a 6 year old - "If a mermaid is a person on top and a fish on the bottom, is a person-on-bottom fish-on-top a mermaid too or is it something else?"

Kid pauses and says "well no its not a mermaid, because if you have a fraction like 1/2 its not the same as 2/1"

I thought that was both the cleverest answer to that question I ever heard but also made no sense - mermaids aren't math. I ask that question to a lot of kids thats by far my favorite answer.

BauerHaus

"Maybe?"

I've mentioned this before. And also it is genuinely difficult to tell who is the stupidest. Kids are smart some days and clueless others. Some grow out of it. Anyway, we were talking about cheetahs being the fastest land mammal. Some inner-city kid swells up and says he can beat a cheetah in a race. The class laughs. Kid doesn't let it go. Finally he just says "I can beat a FAT cheetah in a race." I'm just thinking, "maybe?"

reptilefood

Be Aware. 

Studying Gothic Novels with my low ability, special needs group and they were asked to say how they feel about horror films. My student came out with, "I love horror films because they make me more aware of my surroundings." I was very impressed. :)

Lanom24

On Tuesday....

Giphy

Just this past Tuesday, I had a student struggling with science homework (actually math skills, but for my science class). He was almost mute about what he needed, what he didn't understand, no matter how much I tried to guide him through unit conversions. The study period was ending and I had to let him go with little progress made. As he was packing up, he told me "I'll try it again after art class. I'm usually smarter at this after I do some art."

I thought that was an interesting observation, and I asked him why he thought that might be the case. He said:

"I'm pretty good at art. It's easier to try hard stuff while I still feel like I'm good at something, because I want to keep feeling like that."

That's the entire educational psychology argument for fostering a sense of competency in the support of intrinsic motivation, in the fewest words possible.

(I actually think he's one of my smartest students, really. He just struggles to make it show on paper.)

-OneOfTwoWugs

Yes I Would. 

Some of my 5th graders were playing with a basketball in the hallway. I told them to stop, they did for a second, then continued. I said "Guys, WHY do you keep bouncing that ball in the hallway?" and one of them just looked at me and said "If you were 10 you'd do it too."

I was like... yeah. I guess I would.

-Kighla

Bandaged. 

I had a bandaid on my elbow (one of the big ones) and my student was trying to work out what it was. (It was a drunken fall). I said ninjas had got me. He said it sounded like a "nin-jury". I laughed out loud.

-anna_blue

While in reality it was a gin-jury.

-gaenji

Everyday. 

This kid isn't dumb, but most of the things he says are. Just because he talks a lot and likes to argue. This kid goes to a private school which is open for 11 hours every day, even though the school day runs for 7 hours. If parents need to drop their kids off early or pick them up late, they have that option.

He told me that he really wanted to get a dog, but his parents won't do it because there would be no one home to take care of the dog most of the time. The rest of the conversation went like this:

Me: That makes sense. Puppies and dogs need lots of attention. It wouldn't be nice to leave them home alone all day.

Kid: well we could bring it to doggy day care

Me: every day?? If someone is taking care of your dog for 8 hours every day, is that even your dog?

Him: well that's what they do with kids!

So real and so sad. That moment has stayed with me for a few years now.

-CSIBNX

Cool.

Giphy

Scout leader - doing first aid with some cubs, I ask one lad 'how do you treat a burn' and he replies 'with respect.'

-Nuntum

Got Milk?

When I was teaching subtracting across zero (507-254) to second graders one kid said "it's like when your mom needs milk and you go to your neighbor and no one is there so you go to the next door."

-randomfunnypun

Don't Speak. 

I don't know if this counts but I was teaching a public speaking class. It was mostly 9th grade. They were all nervous about their first big speech, and I tried to ease their nerves by saying, "I promise giving a speech won't kill you."

Then, some kid shouted, "DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE IN HISTORY HAVE DIED WHILE GIVING A SPEECH???"

-GinjaDiem

 four hundred some miles away.

Hmmm, I hate the word in describing this kiddo, and it wasn't so much what she said, but did. She certainly wasn't stupid, but as an at-risk youth counselor I can say she was very low functioning. She went AWOL one night outta the blue. Not one staff saw her leave. Usually when this happens, kids go do dumb kid stuff like going to a park to drink and smoke; teenage fool. Well, we didn't see her for two days! We finally got a phone call from a person who had taken her in, four hundred some miles away.

When she got back to our facility she had this nervous look, knowing I was gonna scold her. I didn't, I was so impressed! I asked her how she did it, and she said she kept hopping busses. I guess none of the drivers had the heart to kick her off, so there she went. I took a very big risk in the fact that I congratulated her on her journey. Her eyes lit up when I told her she had managed to travel farther then any kid that had ever gone AWOL. She never did it again and actually graduated the program with success. Still a booger, but I'll always remember that booger.

-coloradofishtapes

Daddy Who?

I was on lunch duty one day and a middle school boy jokingly said "Mr., you wanna buy me an extra?" I replied with "Do I look like your daddy?" He replied, straight faced, "I don't know, you might. I ain't never met him." I bought him an extra.

-originalsanitizer

"How's chess going?"

Giphy

Used to teach chess to elementary level kids.

Would run "Chess Camp" over the summer. 20-40 kids come in every day for a full "school day" but every period is basically a chess class. Lasts a week.

On the first day, I would tell kids they need to Lose to get better, which is true in a game like chess (especially in the beginning). I would tell them "You have to lose 50 games before you can improve in chess."

Well on about day 3 I'm walking from the field to the class and see one of my students, 2nd grader, walking the other direction and ask him off-hand "How's chess going?"

And he responds "Well, I've lost all of my games so I guess I'm doing great!"

-NeverEndingHell

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