Kids are full of surprises.

From the moment they step into your room you really have no idea how they're going to behave. On any given day things are going to change.

If you're a teacher who reads their schoolwork, you also have no idea what to expect from their work.

u/StarCheck581 asked:

Teachers of Reddit, what is the best plot twist you didn't see coming in your student's writing?

Here were some of those plot twists.

Awww, Das Nice!

I had a student who was obsessed with Silverback Gorillas. I mean, EVERYTHING he wrote was about silverbacks. Even fir the most random question, for example, about Shakespeare's sonnets, and his answer would somehow quite logically twist around to his gorillas. After a while he added a character - the Queen of Sanzibar. She controlled this wild and often violent band of gorillas. At the end of that year, I ended up moving away and at my farewell lunch he gave me a card which says "there will never be another story about the Silverback Gorillas of Sanzibar because the Queen of Sanzibar is moving to Australia." Blew me away. I never thought his stories were analogies of our school/students or that I had made that much of an impact on his life. Humbling.


Misheard And Beloved

When my nephew was 6 or 7 or so they had to write a description of how to make a sandwich. My nephew proceeded to write a detailed account of how to make a " Sand Witch" which includes getting a mold of a witch and putting wet sand into it get the idea. The teacher said in all her years of teaching that no kid had ever done that. She asked to keep a copy because she thought it was so funny.


Something I Have Come To Know

I had a second language learner who wrote about the death of a close relative. He talked about feelings of extreme sadness, and then said, "I have come to know that this feeling is called grief." It was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever read.


Burn Burn Burrrrrrrrn

Teaching middle school, gave an "About Me" essay early in the year. One student wrote about how they had a rough home life, parents divorcing, etc. It was very well written and heartbreaking until the last paragraph where he talked about finding religion in the past year. "I've learned not to judge people who do wrong, because only God can judge... and they will burn."


Medea Vibes

One of my kids got a writing assignment to write a new ending to a story. It was a classic star-crossed lovers narrative so I figured they'd do a happily ever after.


The female protagonist ended up using the dude for his knight status to escape the thumb of her father, then killed him and went out on her own.


A Flooring Twist

A student once wrote a story under the assigned heading of All That Glitters is not Gold. It was a first person narration told as a comedy about a mother telling her daughter on her 21st birthday about the night she brought her home from the hospital. The twist was that the mother was talking to herself in what was due to be the child's bedroom, her child had actually died the night they brought her home. This. Floored. Me.


Redefining Zombie

I teach high school maths, so the opportunities for stories are more limited. I set an extended assignment on mathematically evaluating what would happen in a zombie outbreak - looking at what happens to the human population based on how fast zombies can turn them, if there's a cure, if zombies can raise the dead from graves, etc.

The last part of the assignment was to model a zombie situation of your choice, come up with some survival strategies, and show mathematically how they helped humans.

Most students picked a pop culture zombie style and used that as their inspiration. No problems. At the time, there was a big election going on, so one student decided that anyone under the sway of a particular political party must be a mindless zombie, and recreated the events of the entire election in his mathematical equations. It was a fantastic spin on it that made marking much more fun!


Write On, Dear Girl

I worked at a bookstore that had a spooky story contest for Halloween and I had to read a lot of stories by elementary students.

But there was this one.

On the first pass I guess I didn't like it, but when it came back from another reviewer I happened to read it again. The plot wasn't astounding. It was actually kind of a bad story as far as that goes. What was amazing was that the student changed her vernacular depending on whether the speech was spoken by a character or part of the narration. This is not elementary stuff. It was really incredible and such a small thing that I was so surprised that I even noticed it. It is literally a technique that was considered groundbreaking when Zora Neale Hurston did it and she's one of the greatest American writers ever. There's no way this little fourth grade girl knew about Hurston. She was just doing it naturally. I was blown away.

I tried my best to advocate for that story—even suggested a special prize. My boss would not give. I hope that little girl is still writing.


Reusing A Cliche

I know there's already a lot of "I'm actually a student" takes here but damnit I want to share mine.

We were assigned to write a full length poem in a creative writing class. Our instructor constantly reminded us to avoid clichè symbolism and metaphor, the example he kept bringing up was not to write about "wearing all black in a cemetery."

Now I'm terrible with symbolism and metaphor, every time I try to write symbolically it always reads back to me as forced or cliché. I wrote and threw out three poems and accepted my fate on the day it was due.

But that morning I took out another sheet of paper and titled it "Wearing All Black in a Cemetery." But it wasn't about death and sadness, rather the main character was dressed in all black because he was a grave robber. The poem had him getting caught and sentenced to life in prison. My instructor loved it.



Teaching 8th grade English: a student was writing about a supernatural investigator. About two thirds through the story the narrator is listing all the greatest horrors he had seen. The list ended: "I once saw an English teacher named Mr.[my name] slough off his skin and devour a classroom of students. . ." It was a great surprise (and story).


Well, That's...Dark

When I was a kid I wrote a story about a boy who made a fully functional plane out of LEGO. It took him several tries to get it to work, but he finally did and his parents watched him proudly as he flew around their seaside cottage. Then there was a gust of wind that blew him into a cliff and a wing broke off. He ejected and died because his parachute was a garbage bag that he held open above him.


Love Love Love

We have a national literacy and numeracy test called the NAPLAN in Australia. Instead of following the instructions for the writing task, one of my very traumatized students wrote this completely random letter to tell the recipient about how much he loves his teacher. I had a big sob when I read it. Sweet kid.


Oooh, A Chemistry One

I gave my research student a day to think of something to research with. More likely a plan to come up with. BTW, I'm a pharmacologist and the next day she came up saying, Professor, I read a newspaper and found one interesting thing that I want to try. I was like great! What is it? It talked about mixing vinyl with soda. I want to incorporate two receptor with one Enzyme to see the outcome. I'm not gonna lie, how vinyl and soda mix can bring such an idea was twisting.


Words Words Words

Not the teacher, but the student.

In 7th grade we had writing assignments with a handful of words we learned during class. There was, originally (take note of this) no word or page limit.

I was a particularly imaginative kid.

I, ah. I wrote 5+ pages of a full story, because while I managed most of the words on the front page... I had a plot going and the last word wouldn't seem right unless I cut the story too short.

I hand the papers in, grin on my face, even some illustrations in there because books with illustrations at important spots are my fucking jam, and the teacher looks like I just passed her a bomb.

Long story short, I think my teacher's plot twist was the fact I could write so much when I didn't speak a single word during class (other than a quiet "Here" during roll call), and probably the fact most of the goal words were on a single page while she had to read an entire short story for the last word.



I had a year 6 student write a multi-chapter love story with a thinly disguised version of herself as the protagonist who wins the love of her best (female) friend (who was also a thinly disguised version of the writer's bff).

It was so tender and wistful and sweet that it made me teary. I showed it (in confidence) to an older teacher who was mentoring me at the time. I felt as though the student was coming out to me, and I was unsure what to do (if anything). A few days later she came out to her family, who were very supportive.

I don't know how the situation went with the crush on the bff. They both went off to high school shortly after, so I don't know if anything eventuated.


And The Band Played On

While writing about The Magic Treehouse Tonight on the Titanic, one of my students was writing about the people once they got into the water and wrote "The people in the water looked up and saw an incredible sight." and I was expecting it to proceed with how the boat was sitting out of the water at a steep angle, or how the propellers were visible as the book describes -- nope. "The band was still playing!" was what followed.

I don't get many big twists since I teach little ones but that's the one I still like to think about sometimes because it would have been an incredible sight, for sure.


Image by tookapic from Pixabay

Can you see Harry Potter at a football game in the Midwest? Chowing on a corn dog, throwing back some good ole Pepsi-Cola? Or can you picture the Harry universe living and loving in the great U. S of A? What would casting look like against the backdrop of the great harvest plains? I have so many thoughts and ideas. The first thought, the change would never work. Keep the story alive on British soil.

But, for fun, let's chat about the idea.

Redditor u/Cuish wanted all the Potter heads out there to share what American tweeks would occur in the Potterverse within America, by asking:

If Harry Potter was set in the United States, how would the story change?
Keep reading... Show less
Luke van Zyl/Unsplash

Life isn't as simple as one may think. It's not always easy to take a step back and look at the big picture, but when there's over seven billion people on the planet, there's no way things are as cut and dry as they seem.

Everyone's experiences are different going through life. We may not be able to see the complexities it if we haven't lived it ourselves.

So we went to Reddit because we wanted to see what's not as simple as people think it is.

Keep reading... Show less

Double standards are something we all live with and, quite likely, find extremely annoying. Things like men being expected to hide their emotions—or not have them at all—or women being expected to stay home and support a couple's children, everyone is generally harmed by double standards.

This is especially true when the double standard isn't clear until someone violates it and then has to deal with anger, ridicule, or sometimes even violence as a result.

Content Note: this article mentions suicide and sexual assault, reader discretion advised.

Keep reading... Show less
Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIF Giphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIF Giphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIF Giphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!