Learning can be a great experience, but it's up to to the teachers to truly inspire students. These are the stories of students' worst experiences with their teachers, the ones they'll always remember--for better or for worse.
You’re An Orphan, So You Did It
“My teacher and pretty much the whole school knew I was a foster kid. I was painfully aware of this so I kept to myself. I didn’t make many friends and spent all of my time at home playing in the woods. In the middle of the semester in third grade, someone goes into the teacher’s purse and steals money from her. Not a small amount either, like hundreds of dollars. Without sending anyone to the principals or even investigating the situation, she calls my foster parents and tells them it was me, because, ‘orphans lack manners, we all know it was him.’
She demands my foster parents pay up, which they did, without even defending me. When I got home that day I got a nice beating from my foster father for being a thief. When I got to school the next day with bruises on me, she knowingly looked at me and said, ‘got what you asked for, huh?’
That was 20 years ago. I went to her funeral 5 years ago just to make sure the grim reaper did the job.”
Couldn’t Keep Their Mouth Shut
“When I was 15, my mental health was really really bad and I ended up going to a psychiatric hospital for a few months. Once I was stable enough to go back to school, I found out that one of my teachers decided it was okay to tell a student where I’d disappeared to and because teenagers are awful and also because I wasn’t exactly well-liked, everyone else in my grade quickly found out about it too.
I ended up being harassed and bullied to the point where I had another breakdown that resulted in going back to the hospital. I never ended up going back to school. If that one teacher had kept her mouth shut I might’ve been able to finish high school.”
Literal Torture In School
I was around 11 at the time it began with this teacher. She would:
- Give me underhanded insults, saying things like ‘She’s a prime example of a good student, she can always choose to ignore what she doesn’t want to hear.’
- Humiliate me in front of other children. I have learning difficulties and couldn’t grasp the instructions to solve math problems. I was so devastated I sat next to a wall crying. She would tell the next kid who asked for help, ‘You are just like her, all you want to know is the answer.’ I have Asperger’s, which was undiagnosed at the time.
- Punish others students by not letting them research anything she knew I would enjoy, so they’d hate me.
- Similarly, when we were going to get singing lessons, I said: ‘This will be my favorite lesson for sure.’ She closed the book and said, ‘Because of -her-, none of you will get any singing lessons.’ And the others got mad at me and told me I always ruined things for them.
- Rearranged the seating in the lunch hall, so that the people she knew bullied me the most would be at my table. While giving her a seat so she could watch it. When one of them blocked me from sitting, she’d laugh at me saying ‘Having a problem? Maybe you should ask him nicely to stop? Teehee.’
- Humiliated me in front of my mother. There was a parent meeting and she asked me ‘Do you feel proud about telling your mother how well you are doing in school?’
- Told me I was spoiled on my birthday. I was 12 years old.
- She found out I had a natural talent for learning languages, which made her angry because I didn’t need to do my homework. So she changed the lesson so that we needed to remember what words we had for homework, listen to her read a sentence, then remember and translate that word. This was impossible for me, I just don’t have the ability to remember things like that. So I would continuously fail and she’d leave me notes like ‘Do your homework’ and ‘Stop being lazy.’
In the end, other teachers didn’t dare speak up to her, so they’d be dismissive and abusive to me as well. Other children picked up on it, so they’d make up lies so teachers would scold me and punish me. Saying things like I stole their toys. Another time a kid ran up to me and repeatedly kicked me. When I pushed him off, other classmates showed up and told me they had seen the whole incident and that he hadn’t hurt me at all. Another time, I was pushed off a hill and injured my head, so I went home crying. The second I came home the kids were outside my door telling my father I was a liar and they hadn’t even played with me. At the time, I hadn’t even had the chance to tell him what actually happened.
I also couldn’t shower at school, because the girls in my class would invite boys to see me naked. When I stopped showering at school, the girls told me ‘That never happened.’ And my teacher, of course, took the opportunity to call me nasty for not showering and told me mockingly, ‘If the boys run into the showers, I can help you and tell them to stop.’
One teacher in a woodcraft lesson told me to complete the project of another girl. He didn’t want to bother with me, so he just assigned me on others tasks. I told him I didn’t dare to do it, because I was afraid of ruining it for her, as I had no experience with that task. He ignored me, then eventually he grabbed my wrist and shouted in my face, ‘You don’t defy me in school!’ The next day he saw me in a hallway and chuckling, saying, ‘It wasn’t so bad, was it? I was just joking.’ I didn’t dare go back to that room.
I began losing my temper in school, at one point I even got violent towards a younger kid who repeatedly threw sand at me. My teacher and I would argue regularly, with me going home in frustration. When my family called the school to sort the problem, they were just told, ‘We are going to make changes.’ Which they didn’t. When we had a class meeting in school, I brought up that I was being bullied. I was told to bring it up the next week. Next week I do so, my classmates shout at me ‘That’s old now! You should have brought it up earlier! We won’t discuss it now!’
When I transferred to a new school, as we only have classes 1-6 here, the teacher contacted the school in advance and made sure I was alone without any of my old classmates, except those she knew bullied me, and the abuse went on in that school as well. They were told nobody would stand up for me. I tried to make friends and they’d make fun of me. One kid started shouting at me in the hallway and I was terrified, curling up into a defensive position. The teacher walked by, ignored it, unlocked the door and just told me to go inside. My sister and I told the principle of the problem and she said, ‘I can’t help you unless you tell me their names.’ And I said they never told me their names, they just bully me. My grandmother asked the school if they could have a person monitor the situation during the breaks. They said they would. And didn’t. I dropped out of school after a week.
As a last insult to the whole ordeal, some kids showed up at my door. I had one friend out of this ordeal, who didn’t dare stand up for me, but I didn’t dislike her for it. They told me, ‘If you don’t come back to school, she doesn’t want to be your friend anymore.’ We have never spoken since then, so I don’t know if they only did that to hurt me or if it was something she actually said.
I haven’t been able to finish my studies since. My anxiety is so high that if I try to study, my mind goes into a defensive mode anytime I hear someone talk, clearing my head of anything I’m studying. I find it hard to be in public places because my mind tries to pick up on anything said and process if it’s a threat. Anxiety has taken over my life.”
Mrs. Tansa a.k.a. Satan
“Ah, Mrs. Tansa. You can rearrange her name to spell Satan. She was my fourth-grade teacher and she would make fun of you anytime she got. My favorite moment regarding her was when I was riding my bike and I saw a bunch of police a few doors down from my place. I walked up and noticed a police officer with the same last name on his name tag and I asked him if his wife was a teacher. He said yes and I said I was a student in her class and all he said was ‘I’m sorry.’
We had a kid who was on the autism spectrum in our class and after her making fun of him for missing a question, she called him the r-word. He got mad and threw a chair. Back in the day, parents could sign off on having your children spanked. So she grabbed him and spanked him right in front of us. She sent me to the principal’s office about 2 weeks in because I moved in from a different state. I didn’t say ma’am to her when she addressed me. I was from the midwest where we don’t say that. I had never heard of it actually, but she threatened to spank me and I knew she wasn’t allowed to do that. She sent me to the principal and I waited for my mother to come to get me.
This was in rural Mississippi. I saw a ton of things that really blow my mind looking back on it especially compared to where I went to school before I moved to that state. Mississippi has some of if not the worst public education in the country. I moved to Texas after that where I came across the phrase ‘Thank God for Mississippi’ because their schools and education were so bad, even Texas couldn’t compare.”
“My 5th grade teacher told the class EVERY personal detail about everyone. One girl was sick. BEFORE she even got sick, she made these cloth friendship bracelets and would trade them with her friends. She was gone one day and my teacher gossiped about how sick she was. I don’t remember her exact wording, but she told everyone that if they had a bracelet they should be careful because she wore them and probably had diarrhea and obviously her wrists were in that area when she wiped.
They had this big lice epidemic in my town too. The school nurses went class to class and checked all the students. If the student had lice, they would privately call the parents and the kid wasn’t allowed at school until it was dealt with. Obviously, students would go missing for a couple of days and you could put two and two together but my teacher would blurt out the names of the infected.
Santa was also supposed to come to our class but she told us she told him not to because we were all too old to believe in Santa anymore.”
Husbands Numbering Three
“I hate one of my former teachers, Miss Dawson, formerly Mrs. Kinsley.
If you could design the worst, meanest and most rat-faced teacher possible, you might come close to how bad she was.
She would verbally berate students and if you spoke without raising your hand, you got sent to the principal’s office. If you didn’t get your work done in the required time, you had to stay after class to finish it, even if you had another class just after, she didn’t care. She also used a ruler that she would threaten to hit us with just because she could. She never did but the threats alone were enough.
She got married three times during my time at the school. Her first husband committed suicide.
Her second husband divorced her because he suddenly realized he was gay.
Her third husband left her for her teaching assistant who was one of the nicest ladies I have ever met.
I wouldn’t normally say this about someone, even with my lack of a filter, but she deserved all the bad things that occurred to her in her life.”
Sarah, Plain and Tall
“In 1991, I was in 4th grade. I was having a tough time because my mother had a malignant tumor on her stomach and she had to have a complete hysterectomy. Emotionally, it was very tough for me to deal with.
My 4th grade English teacher, Mrs. Jackson had given some quiz off the book, ‘Sarah, Plain and Tall’ which we had read. Emotionally dealing, I spaced out during the quiz and made a bad grade. When the results came back, she was announced that “Jacob and (Me) made the lowest scores on this quiz! It was so easy and you two did the worst!’ It was humiliating on so many levels. I told my mom, who was in the hospital, and she actually called from her patient room only for Mrs. Jackson to lie and claim she never said it. She did lie.
Then my mom wanted me to bring my homework over to her room after school so she could help me with my work for that class, as my mom was a teacher herself. In trying to help conjugate some verbs my mother wrote on the back of a worksheet. Well, I turned in the worksheet.
A couple days later, my mom had a bad spell and I was really worried. In class over the intercom, it was announced for me to go to the principal’s office. I was seated in the principal’s office and immediately began to cry as I thought my mother was dead. The principal came in and saw I was crying hard and started to make sense of things. She calmly told me that Mrs. Jackson turned in my worksheet because she thought my mother had done my homework!
And when my mother got out of the hospital, she was raring to go at Mrs. Jackson at the school. However, Mrs. Jackson had to take a medical leave because her grown daughter had gotten brain cancer. Years later, I saw that Mrs. Jackson sort of retired but got a job at a major auto parts retailer as counter help. Forget her. Still to this day I hate her.”
An Evil Math Teacher
“There was this math teacher I had in my junior year of high school. It was an AP Calculus class, and she was adored by so many in the class. My best friend was in the fast path to valedictorian, and my other friend was salutatorian when we graduated. This teacher loved them and fawned over them. They understood the concepts easily.
I was, admittedly, only in the class because all of my friends were. I was smart, but math was never my strong suit. I struggled a lot and would ask my friends for help in explaining certain proofs. The teacher didn’t seem to have the patience for helping me, so I turned to them instead. One day, the teacher pulled me aside and told me I shouldn’t weigh Friend A and Friend B down, and that I should work on my own problems myself without involving them. As we were leaving class later, I heard the teacher tell Friend A that she should choose her friends carefully, and not hang out with anyone that would hold her back because she was really going places with her life.
I cried that night. 10 years ago and I still remember it. It made me feel terrible and I stopped trying in that class. I went from a respectable B+ to a C- partly out of spite, and partly because I didn’t have a teacher that would take the time for me like my friends did.
As we all went separate ways in various colleges, I got a message from Friend B years later that the teacher was retiring and they wanted to go back to our hometown to do a surprise party because of how much she meant to them. ‘No thanks, I would rather write a dissertation on the flavors of my own vomit.'”
The Worst Science Teacher Ever
“My sixth-grade science teacher, whose name I have blocked from my memory because she was so god-awful, was the worst.
We had spelling tests. In science class. She required writing in cursive. And she docked points for handwriting not being up to her standard. I’m a leftie, with mediocre to terrible cursive writing.
If your book cover had a tear in it, or you wrote on it, she’d give you a five-minute detention, just long enough to miss the bus.
She told a friend of mine that he spelled his name wrong and that there were too many letters in it. He didn’t, and there weren’t.
She was also incredibly misandrist, and it was impossible for a male student to get a grade better than a low B. As an example, I was in a group project, two guys, two girls. We turned in a single report but got individual grades. My friend and I both had high Cs, the girls had perfect scores.
I went from a straight-A student to straight As and a D in her class, because that’s how terrible she was. Next year, I was back to straight As, once I had a teacher who wasn’t misandrist, unfair, and cruel.
When I got my first term report card, my parents were quite obviously annoyed, and they scheduled a parent-teacher conference. When they got home, they were still angry, but not at me, and told me to do whatever I could to get a good grade, but they completely understood why I wasn’t doing well in that class.”
My Way Or Fail
“I completed all three math credits and didn’t need a fourth for senior year. I was looking forward to taking a break from math and spending time in choir.
Instead, my guidance counselor put me in an unnecessary math class. I cannot overstate how much I didn’t need this class. I had all my credits available. I passed all my previous math classes. I did not need this dumb class.
She put me there because she was concerned that when I eventually took math classes in college, it’d be harder for me to understand and deal with. The fact that it should be my choice did nothing to change her mind. My mom was initially on my side until she met with my counselor to give her a piece of her mind. Then she walked out of my counselor’s office and told me to deal with it.
He was, hands down, the worst teacher I’ve ever had. Either in college or outside of it. And I once had a college professor who not only did not show up for the first three days but also based his lessons off of whatever the headlines in the newspaper were the day of the class and the quizzes were just vocab words. But back to the worst teacher I’d ever had.
This guy would spend 30 minutes on a lesson, step back, declare, ‘That’s not the right way to do it,’ erase everything he’d written on the board, and spend the last 15 minutes of class teaching the ‘correct’ way, and then give us quizzes that counted towards our grade the very next day. No amount of complaints fixed anything because the department and the principal specifically allow that to be done.
Predictably, I, and most of the people in this class as well as others, started to fail the class. Halfway through the year, I started going to one of those tutoring places. The first time I met with one of them, they stated that he was teaching the absolute hardest way of learning to do the problems, proceeded to teach me the easiest way to do them (which I excelled at, thankyouverymuch), and helped me with homework, and test prep. I took the next test, and failed.
Naturally, I was very confused. I did it the way the tutors taught me and I’d gone over the review sheet extensively with them for weeks. I didn’t even get partial credit for my work or my answers. I asked him what had happened and if I’d done them wrong somehow.
This teacher, this wet sock on your foot equivalent of a human being, looked me in the eyes and told me that it was because I hadn’t done them the way he taught in his class, he’d marked it all wrong.
I’ve never come so close to decking someone before or since and I’m not entirely sure what, exactly, kept me from doing so right then. I can only imagine that God actually is real and decided that he needed to intervene and prevent me from punching this guy in the face.
No amount of complaints worked because, again, everyone in the administration allowed this. They knew it was happening. They outright allow it. They let the teachers have that freedom.
I spent days, weeks, months, outright crying every night because I just could not understand the material. I poured my soul into studying for this class, and I’d still fail. Not even by a little bit, just outright failing. And my mother would scream at me every night, which added to my stress.
It’s a weird feeling when you suddenly wake up one day and feel nothing. No stress, no worry, no joy, nothing. I entered a state of apathy. I stopped caring. About anything. I don’t know how I did it, but I can only imagine that my body decided to just shut down for survival by instinct.
The first thing I can remember feeling after that day was about four months later and it was relief. See, I’d been worried from the very start of the school year about college. I knew if I failed my unnecessary senior year of math, I probably wouldn’t get into the college of my dreams. I’m happy to report that I did. However, the acceptance letter basically stated that if it hadn’t been for my high score on the S.A.T., that my grades for my senior year of math would’ve kept me out. Basically, my worst fear had almost come to pass.
It’ been six years since I graduated high school and I still don’t feel motivated for anything. It took me months to be able to actually feel emotions again, and a couple of years before I could worry about something without being bedridden for the next day, no matter what it was.”