Virtual learning is a new experience for a lot of people. There's bound to be a few embarrassing hiccups along the way. These teachers and students share their most....memorable moment from their virtual classes.
Content has been edited for clarity.
"I had to defend my thesis over Zoom and many professors came into the call to watch. My thesis was about immune response in fish to parasites. One professor joined late and forgot to mute her mic and we got treated to this little gem:
'Shhhh. Mommy is learning about fish parasites, which is what you'll get if you don't stop peeing in the koi pond.'"
"English Zoom call. Teacher was holding us like 15+ minutes after the period had ended. She said something along the lines of 'keep working arduously' and I responded with 'if she says arduously ONE MORE TIME I'm going to FLIP A TABLE!'
I was not on mute."
"This is from a couple of years ago. I was working for a private college which has several campuses—my campus was the 'online' campus. Each year the campuses took turns hosting an annual writing conference for English/Speech faculty.
With it being the online campus’s turn to host, we came up with the idea to make it a virtual conference which faculty members could attend from home or go to their own campus and attend with their peers in a classroom.
Anyway, as one of the people on the conference committee my job was to host several of the various break-out sessions, make sure the WebEx meeting was working, introduce the presenter of the session, monitor the q and a, etc. I also made sure to mute the participants once it was time for the speaker to start.
So there was no live mic scenario, but one of the participants left his webcam on. During the presentation, he whips out a gigantic party sub and is just going to town on it. So while everyone is watching the presenter’s PowerPoint, you just see this guy (who I had met before and was a legit 6’8) just scarfing down a party sub in a window in the bottom of the screen.
Honestly, it was more impressive than anything.
From my office, I just pinned his video so it’d be largest on my screen, sat back and respected the hustle. In hindsight, I could have PM’ed him that his webcam was on but that would’ve just ended the fun."
"In a math class I was in last year, we were taking a test, which you have to turn your mic on for—their way of trying to prevent cheating.
Some girl apparently forgot that hers was on and started belting out 'Stand By You' by Rachel Platten at the top of her lungs. It went on for the entire song and she was still humming it when I finished the test and left the call."
"Some guy's mother started yelling at him : 'Turn down the freaking sound, I am so sick of listening to your classes the whole day, go to the balcony and continue from there or just bloody drop out of uni' along with a set of few swear words. Our professor muted him so I don't really know what happened next."
"I just did 8 hour zoom calls for 7 weeks training for a new project. On the second week, a man unmutes his call, farts the longest fart I’ve ever heard in my life, then when he finishes, mutes the call. I can see others laughing while muted at his fatal error of thinking he wasn’t muted and so he went to 'mute' his call.
I found this to be the highlight of the week, but the following week the guy does it again!!! Honestly the second time I laughed but then started to wonder if it was some kind of power move..."
"I teach for an online university that requires me to conduct a weekly live session. One morning I was lecturing and a student popped in late. I said, 'Hello, (student name)! Thanks for joining us.' She said, 'Don’t say my name, witch!', just before she realized her mic was on and turned it off. I just laughed."
"Not really anything super weird - was in a meeting with my class for the first day of school, and I had forgotten to mute myself. I then proceeded to start noisily baby-talking my cat, who was in my lap at the time. Embarrassing.
Held up cat as peace offering. Teach didn't appreciate though"
"I’d be doing office hours or one on one conference with students and their parents would be screaming at them to stop playing games and messing around and come down to do x y or z.
One father shoulder rushed into the students room to scream about a dirty mug that was in the sink. Then started screaming questions about who they were talking too and was this an inappropriate adult thing.
Your kid is 20 and taking college classes and trapped at home because the dorms shut."
"During my English class, this one girl forgot to mute herself. While my teacher was talking, she almost deafened all of us on the Zoom call answering her mother's questions.
Her mother (from a distance): 'What class are you in?'
Her (yelling): 'English!'
Her mother: 'Oh, the hot teacher?'
Her: 'Yeah that guy'
Now, even I'll admit my teacher is fairly attractive, but it does take it to another level when you get your own mother involved. Thankfully, our teacher is a chill guy and thought the whole thing was just kind of funny, and kind of just gave a general reminder to the class to keep mics muted. She didn't say anything for the rest of the class."
"We had a student in my class that was logged in on a smartphone, using an anonymous login, who never muted their mic once. They were outside, or near a window, every time. When their mic picked up a sound, it would maximize their blank screen, minimizing the teacher's lesson which was on a whiteboard. It happened a lot. The teacher didn't know who it was and despite all of us begging them to mute, they never responded or did so and the teacher wasn't able to mute or boot them.
The worst part is, since they were connected anonymously they never even got recorded as attending the lectures and failed for that reason alone. All of us suffered for this one idiot who failed anyway."
"We played a Kahoot and the whole time none of us could see the questions. We had told the teacher over and over again and she thought it was something with splitting our screen so she repeatedly told us 'Just switch tabs.' She kept getting mad so we just stopped playing it.
Another time, a student asked if he could share his screen and the teacher said yes and left the meeting and we just watched Peppa Pig for 20 minutes."
"Our teacher was screen sharing and I randomly discovered a pen button. So I clicked on it and turns out you can draw on the shared screen. I just started putting some dots there, thinking 'Oh, this is cool!'. Then the teacher said: 'I don't know who's doing it, but stop drawing on my screen.'
I kinda freaked out and deleted it. It didn't occur to me that everyone could see it."
"Every day in class I put a random background on. One day was an optical illusion, one day a wall of toilet paper, one day the 'This is Fine' meme, one day a sped-up version of a round of Plague Inc. I think I got bonus points on one of my chemistry tests for using a periodic table as my background.
On the day of one of my tests, proctored through Zoom, I had a background on which took the old DVD screen saver, but instead of the logo reading DVD it said COVID. My teacher asked if I could turn it off, as it was distracting for her. I said of course, but I don’t know if that’ll be much better. I was in my mom’s art room, so the background was bright and colorful and significantly more distracting than a slowly moving purple box on a black background.
I took about thirty seconds in Microsoft Paint to make a solid black background, which she greatly appreciated."
"2nd to last class before the final, we are already behind on the material. It's a 3 hour class with a break in the middle, the professor said she is going to rest her eyes for a few minutes.
She emailed us about 4 hours later and said she fell asleep.
No, I didnt do well on the final."
"I don’t have any funny mic stories but I am at a high school. A couple of students were using google docs to chat with each other. It was the start of the year and they didn’t know teachers have a “God’s view” of your class computers yet.
They were chatting about how annoying I was and they hated my class it was day 2.
I just announced, 'I think it’s important we all know that teachers can see your screens ...so please don’t have any conversations you wouldn’t want me to hear or read.'
They both turned blood red. Satisfying."
"I was producing a video for some university professors on a specific medical thing for a virtual learning course. I was all set up to shoot the process, and the teachers excused themselves to the next office to regroup and have a chat. I already had their wireless lav mics attached and fed to my camera, so when I sat down at the camera and put on my headphones I immediately heard their conversation.
They were criticizing me, saying they couldn't believe they hired someone so young, inexperienced in that particular medical field, how I looked, how I asked questions, etc... Oops! At least I made them a fine video. These days I don't put my headphones on until we're about to shoot."
"Ironically my IT teacher forgot to turn of his mic and camera and proceeded to get in a very heated argument on the phone with his ex-girlfriend who he has a kid with.
Did I mention that she’s also a teacher at our school?
Yeah most awkward 5 minutes of my life before he realized."
"Something similar happened in my class, in Zoom you can text something for the entire class to see or you can send something to a person individually. So, a friend of mine thought he sent me 'This freaking idiot can't expect us to do that exercise ... its 8 AM in the morning' but he sent it to the entire class. The teacher saw it, everything stopped for like 30 seconds and then he continued like nothing ever happened. Felt bad for the guy."
"My teacher got scolded by his wife (another teacher in school) because she needed to work and he didn't repair her computer. He was a computer technology teacher and he just keep saying, 'Sorry honey, I forgot. I won't do it again. I promise it will take two seconds to fix it.' in loop because the wife went on a little rant of how he always forgot things.
When he saw the mic was still on he blushed and after a moment of silence just went on with the lesson."
"One week in grade 4, one of my classmates and I were picked to do the morning announcements. We always started by playing the anthem then read the announcements that the principal gave us. They always got two kids to do the announcements because the system was a bit old and sometimes the anthem wouldn't play properly, so one of them would press play and the other would stick their head outside the office to listen if it was playing. If it didn't, the one at the mic would apologize, stop the tape and both kids would continue the announcements.
One day in our week, the anthem didn't play. I was the one at the door. I tell my partner that it's not playing and we continue. Except she didn't stop the tape, so partway through our announcements, the anthem actually gets going and played as background music for the whole thing. We finish things up and one of the secretaries comes by and tells us that the anthem had been playing the entire time. My partner loudly said, 'Oh frick.' The other secretary came in and told us that the mic was still live and the entire school heard a 4th grader say, 'Oh frick.'"
"Back in high school, I was with my friend and our girls' basketball team coach. It definitely was not the best team and the coach was a wonderful person but not a great coach. We had a practice that day and she was telling us how she couldn't make it but someone else from the boys' senior team would step in for the day if enough of us wanted to still have it.
My coach asked me to call around and see if people still wanted to come. I call my friend (MVP) and put her on a speaker (not sure why I guess so the coach could hear her answer ASAP) and I told her the situation. She said, 'Yeah, we might as well still have the practice, our coach isn't really that good and doesn't help us at all, we basically coach ourselves anyway.'
I thought I was able to turn off the speaker before the last few words but the damage was already done. Coach looked a bit upset initially but then said, 'Wait, what did she say? I couldn't hear her.' But the phone was right in between us.
I just said that she said she would enjoy having it and then ran outside the classroom to tell her that she was on speaker phone. This was six years ago and I haven't really used speaker phone since.
The team started improving a little bit when they followed the lead of the senior boys' basketball assistant. Not sure if it was them trying to improve or because he was around more often. They were a much better soccer coach though."
"This didn't happen to me but the Vice President I worked for.
Bluetooth headsets had just come out for the Blackberry phone and the VP got one to be cool. I asked for one but they were limited to upper management. The VP got on a call with other VPs, CIO, and CTO. He was in Vancouver, they were in San Francisco in a conference room with mics and speakers in the ceiling.
VP needed to pee really badly, so he muted the headset and went to the john. People in San Francisco suddenly stopped talking as their eyes turned up toward the ceiling. Someone asked, 'Why does it sound like it's raining all of a sudden?' Early headsets had a bug that would randomly unmute without warning.
After the meeting, the VP stormed past my desk and threw the headset at me. 'It's yours now!' And that's how I got my first, company paid, Bluetooth headset."
"I was working from my future in-law's house back when my wife and I were still dating. I was working in the living room and hopped on an afternoon conference call with my boss and a couple of executive folks I needed to brief on something. The call hadn't started yet, we were waiting for someone to join so it's silent. All of my sudden, my future mother in law walked into the room, saw that her tiny dog had pooped on the rug, and exclaimed loudly, 'DID YOU POOP ON THE RUG!?' I was not on mute. Laughing ensued. One executive pointedly asked, 'Who pooped on the rug?'
Another time, it was a Sunday night. We had a massive incident going on (I worked WebOps) related to a critical server being not coming back online after a reboot for routine maintenance that morning. I had been on this call since noon. Prior to having my Sunday interrupted by this call, I had promised to make dinner for my girlfriend (now wife). She came home from work, there was no dinner, but me in my office juggling two different phone calls and no dinner. She's had enough of this (it was a routine occurrence at the time) and started packing to move out. Needless to say convincing her to not to leave while managing the mute button for two different phones was uh, difficult. My team, my customers and who knows what vendor reps all got to hear my desperate pleas that 'this job will get better, it won't be like this forever, I'm just new and trying to prove myself a team player.' She did not leave and ordered Chinese food instead. My boss and I had a nice chat about work-life balance on Monday and things did indeed get better. We're married 10 years next April so all good now. I don't work in ops anymore."
"In my class, we have our videos turned on but our audio remains muted except for the prof.
Prof decided to unmute a classmate and get him to read the slide only for us to hear him getting yelled at by his parents. That dude just kept reading the slide while his parents yelled at him. Our prof didn’t know what to do and just acted like everything was normal.
He didn’t unmute anyone for the rest of the class though."
"I’m definitely the idiot in this story.
For context, as a joke, me and my friends have been coming up with pretty outrageous names for our Zoom quiz nights.
Anyways, the day after my quiz, I have to show up to a workshop with one of my lecturers. And guess who forgot to change his name? I spent the rest of that workshop muted, video off and only communicating through the chat so that no one knew it was me. And that concludes the tale of Broseph Mengelbruh."