Current and past students share their most traumatic, interesting and embarrassing moments they had with their teachers. Some bad and some just awkward. Take a look at the weirdly relatable stories written by people who've been through it all. Content has been edited for clarity.
“It Was So Awkward”
“I was bullied in high school for 4 years because I came from another country and had troubles with the language and the culture, but I was also very quiet. When I found the courage to talk about it, my mom sent a letter to my math teacher, who was responsible for my class. That guy hated me because despite my best efforts, I wasn’t good at math. When he received the letter, he made me stand in front of the whole class and said, ‘Who here thinks she is bullied?’
Of course no one raised their hand because they all hated me, and that was just so awkward. The teacher then said, ‘See? You’re not bullied.’ And he said I should do better to concentrate on my studies because I would never graduate.
Thankfully I changed high school the next year and never saw him again. Also I graduated with an A+ in math. So HA!”
“I Was 5 And Felt Humiliated”
“So when I was in kindergarten, I didn’t make it to the bathroom in time and wet myself. Went to the nurses office got new clothes but instead of panties, I had to wear a pull up, not a big deal. I guess it was a school policy for kids my age, I don’t really know.
When I get back to my class, my teacher loudly says, ‘Oh good, the baby is finally back,’ or something like that. She also knew about the policy and asked if I was wearing a diaper so every other student could hear. I was 5 and felt a ton of shame and humiliated.
I started crying and trying to get out of school a lot because of it. My teacher often referred to me as a baby for the rest of the year. Also she would constantly ask if I needed to potty or if I was wearing a diaper, like I was a toddler or something.”
“The girls in our elementary school were given ‘the talk’ before the boys. The basic puberty stuff, your body is starting to change, you might starting developing, sweating, all that stuff. They made a huge stupid deal about keeping it quiet.
Saying, ‘It’s the girls’ little secret. Don’t go spreading it around school.’ I really did not see the big deal at the time.
Anyway, my best friend was a boy and naturally, I skipped right off to tell him why suddenly half the class had an assembly all by themselves. Somehow, my teacher heard about it, got me alone, grabbed me by both arms AND SHOOK ME. ‘Keep. Your. Mouth. Shut.’ It was so awkward and weird because I did not see what the issue was.”
“I Was So Scared, I Just Nodded My Head”
“Back in grade 9, I had music class as an elective. The class was at the back of the school where no one really goes to unless they have to. It was half-way through lunch and I had nothing else to do so I figured I’d just go to class early and just watch videos on my phone. I walk to the classroom, open the door and find my teacher (who was married, later divorced) having relations with one of my classmates. They immediately saw me and I just stood there for a few seconds before leaving and closing the door behind me. I didn’t go tell another teacher because I simply didn’t know what to do, I was that surprised.
So fast forward class ends and before I can leave, my teacher grabs my arm and asks me to stay for a few minutes. I said yes since I figured he was just going to ask my not to tell anyone and by that point I still didn’t know what to do. But oh how wrong I was. For the next five minutes, he talks about all the things he’d do if I told anyone , fail me, accuse me of improper actions, get me expelled. I was so scared, I just nodded my head, I didn’t know what else to do.
The classmate on the other hand started a rumor that I had cornered her in the music room and tried to force myself on her and how the teacher had saved her and comforted her. So everyone in the school though I was a predator. I tried to defend myself but with all the threats and bias against me there was nothing I could do. Only towards the end of grade 10 did a teacher catch them having relations in the same music room. The teacher was fired and my classmate was transferred to another school. Luckily people connected the dots and realized that I was telling the truth and I was no longer a social pariah.”
“My 4th grade teacher had a reputation for making one boy in her class an unpopular scapegoat each year. Lucky me. In previous years, I’d been just another kid in the playground, but within two months the other kids wouldn’t play with me during recess. One day I refused to go outside for recess. She asked why and I foolishly told her that the other kids didn’t like me. When they came back in, she marched me to the front of the class, and asked for a show of hands, who didn’t like me. Fourth grade kids (mostly) did what fourth grade kids do.
I broke down that night and told my Mom what had happened and what had been going on all along. She marched into school the next day, got a meeting that included the principal, and tore the teacher a new one. I was still stuck in that class, but the teacher moved on to a new victim. Funny thing how self esteem influences academic performance. My school used to give us a Stanford Binet IQ Test every year. My score dropped ten points from third to fourth grade, then rose twenty points in fifth grade when I had a nurturing teacher.”
“What is it with 4th grade teachers? Mine was named Mrs. Ganz, and she had a TA named Ms. Hardwick. One time, I noticed that my math homework was graded incorrectly, with several correct answers being marked as incorrect. I showed it to my parents, they confirmed that I was right all along, and told me to show it to the teacher. Well, this made Mrs. Ganz very mad, and she took offense at me trying to correct the TA’s mistakes. She held my work up in front of the class and said ‘This student got a B, but because he questioned Ms Hardwick’s grading, now he’s getting an F!’ Apparently, this happened to several other boys in the class as well.
This same woman had an Indian student named Sanif who was picked on by the whole school. Sanif was called Sniff by practically every kid in the school. One day, Mrs Ganz had us do a spelling bee. She specifically gave Sanif the worst possible word to spell; she told him to spell ‘sniff.’ The look on that kid’s face was heart breaking.”
“I Thought The Attention Meant I Was Special”
“When I was 14 years old, I was accepted into an arts magnet school. It was a pretty big deal in the city that I grew up in. Prestigious artists came in to teach young students that displayed promise, I guess. I was accepted into a creative writing department, one of only four freshmen to be accepted. It was the biggest deal of my life. Within a few weeks this semi-famous and important 55 year old man began assaulting me. In front of his classroom. In front of everyone. He didn’t even bother trying to hide it. I was young and stupid and for awhile I thought that the attention meant I was special, and when I quickly realized how awful it was I felt like I couldn’t do anything because everyone saw it and no one was stopping it.
He made me believe, as a freshman, a 14 year old child, that men touching a young girl in front of her peers was totally normal. So I stayed quiet for four months. My fingernails fell out. I began having intense panic attacks. I finally spoke out and he lost his job and the school attorneys advised my parents not to open up a legal investigation because they said it would further traumatize me. When I initially came forward, the director of the school refused to listen to me. It was a nightmare. When I graduated school, I moved out of the city and he found out where I lived and began stalking me. He ended up kidnapping me and taking me back to his home studio and showed me a shrine he made of me. He continued stalking me until my friend’s dealer called him and threatened him. It all stopped. I tried to move forward but it took seventeen years of suffering to finally go to the press. It was a complete nightmare.”
“When I was in high school, I got a lot of nose bleeds. Like a lot. So I got one in the middle of class and I asked the teacher for a tissue, she said she didn’t have any so I asked to go to the toilet to get one then she said no. Soon I asked again when blood what dripping from my hands and she yelled at me for ‘repeating myself’ which is apparently bad. Soon a puddle of blood was on the table then I got sent to isolation for ‘disrupting the class.’ I was then suspended for ‘acting inappropriate during class.’ She was then fired for putting my life at risk. I gotta say when you get a nose bleed like that, you really see how much blood is inside of you.”
My Only Detention
“The one and only detention I ever received occurred in somewhat related circumstances. I was in third grade and had a math teacher that had this stupid policy that every math test, after she had graded it, needed to be brought home and signed by our parents and returned to her within 2 days.
During that school year, my mom got in a terrible car accident in which she got hit head-on by a semi-truck. She almost died and spent several months in the hospital. We had a math test a couple days after her accident. My step-dad spent the whole week in the hospital by my mom’s side, no doubt stressed out of his mind and not knowing if she would pull through. He didn’t want to bring my brother or me to the hospital, as he didn’t know if we could handle seeing my mom in that condition. My brother and I were left home alone all week, with neighbors occasionally checking in on us to drop off meals.
Anyway, I hadn’t seen either of my parents in days, and obviously couldn’t get either of them to sign my test. When I tried to explain the situation to my teacher, she cut me off and said she ‘didn’t allow excuses’ or something, and gave me detention the following day. Since I didn’t have anybody at home who could pick me up, I had to walk the 2 miles or so home from school after the detention.
A week or so later, when my brother told my step-dad about everything that had happened, he showed up to pick me up from school (which he’d never done before, as we took the bus to/from school) and absolutely tore the teacher a new one, almost bringing her to tears.
The teacher never apologized to me, or looked me in the eyes again, for that matter, and I forged signatures on every other test that year. Also, I had gotten 100% on the test that led to my detention.”
“No One Did Anything To Protect Me”
“I was a super overweight child (diagnosed with PCOS at 14, had WLS at 19, am now an incredibly healthy 24 year old). I attended an elementary school with 60 children K-4, and my class had 11 including myself. I was the only one that was overweight. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
My elementary school teacher constantly called me out for not being able to run as fast as anyone else, encouraged the others in class to pick me last for teams, asked why I was sweating like a pig when I wasn’t working very hard, would make me attempt to do sit ups and push ups while the others watched and made fun of me. It was incredibly traumatizing. The school didn’t require the kindergarten class to have gym, so this started in first grade when I was 6.
We had gym class once a week and I would get so nervous that I would throw up. Every single week. I was also a really anxious and sensitive child, so knowing that I would have to go and be embarrassed for 50 minutes was way more than I could bear. I think the school nurse figured it out after a little while, sometimes she took mercy on me and let me stay in the office, sometimes she made me go. But, no one ever asked why. No one ever told my parents this was an issue they were having with me. No one did anything to protect me.”
“I had a science teacher that didn’t particularly like me in 6th grade. Also my ears are kind of pointed outwards, something I am completely okay with now but back then was super self-conscious about. Once in class, she got super annoyed by me and legit decided to stop class and draw a caricature of me on the board. It was a human head with monkey ears and an arrow pointing at it with my name.”
“Everyone Laughed At Me”
“In third grade I had a teacher tie me up to my chair and tape my mouth shut. I was a super smart and hyper kid who had just been prescribed medicine for my asthma. Which will make you crawl out of your skin. My original teacher died in the beginning of the year and we had 4 temps before Ms. K. She was 25 no degree and should not have been teaching. She screamed at me ‘punk rock kid’ and tied me up. I then wouldn’t shut up so she taped my mouth shut. 28 kids laughed at me, one kid drew scissors from his desk and motioned to cut the chord. I remember making eye contact with Sean and shook my head no. Told my parents got switched out of the class and the teacher was fired. The other kids’ parents in the class threw the teacher a going away party because ‘that kid and his brothers were always trouble.’
Other than my 3rd grade class I’ve told maybe 3 people about that. As I’ve gotten older it explains so much of some things in my life.”
“In 4th grade, I had wild Hermione hair and obviously my hormones were changing and I was ‘becoming a woman.’ I had good hygiene and brushed my hair and changed my clothes, all normal things fully expected from a normal human being. That wasn’t enough assurance for my 4th grade teacher. She got me a brush and deodorant insisting that I smelled and that I didn’t brush my hair.
She would ask me in front of the class, ‘Did you take a bath today? Did you brushed your hair?’
She began sending me to the nurse insisting I had bad hygiene and put my desk at the back of the room away from everyone else.”
“The Third Week Of School She Told Me I Was Going To Fail”
“Mrs. F legitimately hated me.
You’d think that would be a weird thing to say. A grown woman hating a nine-year-old. But she did. I don’t know why. It doesn’t really matter. By the third week, she outright told my mother that I was going to fail that year because I was bad at math. My mother laughed this off since it made no sense. I was a straight-A student in Germany. I faltered with math sometimes, but my teachers always helped me.
We had recently moved to Louisiana. Just for a year since my father was between duty stations. Back then (and probably still now), schools were allowed to paddle children. Yup. Paddle. Disrupted class? That’s a paddlin’. Got into a fight? That’s a paddlin’. Lucky for me, my mother told them on day one that they were not to lay a hand on me. Unfortunately, I was not aware of this.
Mrs. F took every opportunity to threaten me with a beating. For some reason, the classes were arranged in a huge circular building, separated by partitions. Whenever she paddled someone, she dragged them out into the middle, so every class could see. When she couldn’t paddle me, she would make me stand there and hold the paddle outright with both arms. That thing got real heavy, real fast for a 9 year old. And that was the mildest thing she did to me.
Shortly after telling my mother that I would fail, she started to sabotage me. If I had a question, she wouldn’t answer it. If I didn’t have a pencil, she wouldn’t give me one. She moved me into the back of the class. Eventually, she turned a desk against the back wall and put me in it. Then she hung streamers so that she wouldn’t even have to look at me.
I stopped getting work sheets. There was no one to pass them to me. I stopped turning around to watch lessons. Why bother? I just came in every morning, sat in my chair and daydreamed. Sometimes I told my mother some of the things that happened, but she clearly thought I was exaggerating. I just accepted it as normal after a while, I guess.
Once, I raised my hand to go to the bathroom, but she either couldn’t see me or didn’t care. It got so bad that I just got up and ran to the bathroom. When I got back, she threatened to beat me, then made me stand out with the paddle for the rest of the day. The next time, I just sat in my chair with my hand raised until I peed my pants. I don’t remember how she reacted. I doubt it was much kinder.
Toward the end of the year, there was a pizza party. I don’t remember what for. I was mostly out of the loop anyway. My little ‘cage’ had been removed for it because my mother volunteered to help out and actually picked up the number of pizzas they asked for. Mrs. F told everyone they could have 2 pieces of pizza. I ate my first one, went back for the second and she closed the pizza box in my face. Told me I had already had my pizza. My mother told her I had only had one.
It was bizarre standing there seeing my mother argue with this woman about pizza that she had gotten herself. Livid that I was being singled out. After giving Mrs. F an earful, she walked out with me and took me home. I was sure I was in so much trouble. Then she asked me to tell her everything. I did.
I don’t know what happened, but those last couple of weeks my desk was with the other kids again and Mrs. F never said another word to me. I still failed. I hadn’t done any of the work. And that experience shaped the rest of my schooling.”
Cruel And Unusal Punishment
“In daycare/preschool, this kid hid toy dinosaurs in my nap bag, and when I got caught taking them out, the teacher made me move to be by her desk. My parents picked me up early for a doctors appointment and walked in to find the teacher, head back asleep, with me under her desk while she used my back as a footrest. At the appointment, it was found that I had two deep bruises from her heels digging in. I was 4. I never went back to that school and the teacher was fired.”
“Home Life Got Significantly Harder After That”
“In the 8th grade, I had book reports to do for 4 books all due on the same day that was way too overwhelming to do at the time. I had some serious domestic violence going on at home between my parents. Spent all my time taking care of my younger brother, cleaning up the house, cooking, and crying from all the stress. It was worth 20% of my grade and the day before it was due, I broke down and told my teacher everything; down to the time when my brother bled from his head from being hit by my dad, to the most recent attempted murder upon my mom. If I had even received a B, my dad would’ve beat up my mom for giving birth to a stupid kid.
He called child services, my parents received the call, and gave me the silent treatment for 3 days. They told him I lied just to get out of the assignment. The social worker told my teacher what my parents said and made the rest of my year a nightmare.
He treated me with such pettiness after that and threatened to call my parents whenever I had either spoken too loud in class, or whenever I was distracted in gym. He called my parents for my ‘bad behavior’. Home life got significantly harder after that, and my parents told my entire family continuously how stupid I was for telling him. They laughed at me when I cried or got upset about it.
Years later after repressing everything I was diagnosed with severe PTSD from childhood trauma as a witness and victim of domestic violence and it took me 3 years in therapy to get over it – it was quick, but it was tough as it was during my university years and I ended up having to take an extra year of school to catch up mentally. I was ready to speak up about my struggles again when I couldn’t function anymore as the traumatic flashbacks occurred twice a week for hours at a time. I couldn’t do a single thing except tremble and live in fear. I was 18 by the time I was ready to reach out for help.
Mr. G, I really do wonder if being a petty 33 year old to a 12 year old child made your quality of life better. I hope that there’s proper procedures put in place to protect children from such experiences.”
“I Thought I Was Going To Jail”
“When I was in 4th grade, I passed a note to a girl I liked. It was a super tame note, just said something like ‘I think you’re cute, will you be my girlfriend?’ Typical 4th grader stuff, really.
Teacher saw me trying to pass the note and intercepted it before it reached the girl. She read it (not aloud) and pulled me into the hallway.
She said what I was doing was wrong, and that it was harassment. She said it’s the sort of thing men go to jail for. She kept saying ‘harassment’ over and over in that little talk. I barely even understood what harassment even was, but I knew it was bad. Made me feel like such a creep, like a predator. Made me cry from embarrassment and fear of going to jail.
After I was done crying, she let me go back into the classroom.
Gotta admit, that really messed up my view of women for a while. Made me think of girls as scary and unapproachable. Took me a while to break out of that, too.”