Many students have had teachers who profoundly impacted them for the better or worse. Teachers' jobs are difficult and often require enormous mental and emotional strength. Unsurprisingly, this can result in burnout or in some extreme cases melting down in class. These stories will leave man of us extremely grateful for the work our teachers have in our lives.
"My math professor in college was going through a divorce, and they were fighting for custody of their two younger children. You can tell he was irritated because he wore his emotions on his sleeve. One day, he came into class about five minutes late, and he was physically shaking. He was violently crying and apologized to us and said the class was cancelled. He apparently lost the custody fight with his ex-wife."
"Physics teacher came into class late. Walked past the podium and walked into the chalkboard. Like, he would have kept walking if it wasn't there. He then picked up one of those plastic pen things that you put chalk in. Proceeded to try to write on the chalkboard even though the pen was empty. All the while mumbling incoherently.
We found out later he had a stroke and managed to drive himself to the university. He didn't return to teaching that year, and as best I recall, he ended up retiring due to health complications.
He was in his 60s, and along with the stroke, he had fallen and hit his head. He passed away about eight years later."
"I feel legitimately bad about causing this one. Junior year of high school, my literature teacher was from Wisconsin and had a very thick Midwestern accent. This was in the south, so a number of her intonations were very noticeable. In particular, words with an -ag syllable stuck out (for example 'Bag' would be pronounced like a mixture of 'Bay' and 'Egg').
She was reading a passage from Beowulf to the class one day, and to paraphrase the modern English translation, came across the following sentence:
'Beowulf killed the dragon with the dagger.'
It was too many Midwestern syllables too close together for my friend and I to handle tactfully in our 16-year-old mindsets, and involuntarily, we laughed. Upon attempting to cover it up, it probably sounded more like a snicker, and she did not take it well. I wish I could say that she scolded us, but it was so much worse than that. She shut the book, looked at the floor and straight up cried for what must have been 45 seconds, but felt like an entire 45 minutes. Dejected, breathless sobs. Once she had recovered from this, she picked it back up where she left off, like it hadn’t happened.
Even though, generally speaking, I really disliked that teacher, it sucked knowing that our immature reaction caused her to feel ridiculed. We didn’t have malicious intent, but the result was the same, and we of course apologized to her privately after the fact."
"My seventh grade teacher tragically lost an infant. She was delivering her first baby after several failed rounds of fertility treatments, and three miscarriages. Finally, a baby boy. She was so excited. She got pregnant at the beginning of the school year, so she could have her maternity leave over summer break.
She went into labor about six weeks early. The baby boy was born limp and blue, with the cord around neck. It's vitals were basically at zero. He was revived only to die of pneumonia at three days old. They never got to hold him while he lived because of multiple treatments, surgeries, and the illness, as well as from her recovery from emergency c-section.
She came back from break and it was obvious she was still very much affected. She was not her usual self at all, not to be unexpected, due to her tragic loss.
This one kid, Forrest, was being an absolute demon making annoying noises, throwing things, running commentary. The teacher asked him nicely to settle down three times, he persisted. Finally, she lost her temper and told at him to 'sit down and shut up or be written up!' Forrest responded with, 'Maybe if you weren't such a terrible woman your baby wouldn't have died. Must suck to know you're such an awful person your own infant killed itself to escape you.'
My teacher went blank and started shaking. She just broke down. Those horrible harsh sobs. You could practically see her agony as those tears flowed and her body wracked so hard I thought she might break in half. She went to the office, and we had a sub for the rest of the semester. The teacher ended taking the entire year off to recover and then transferred to a new district.
And Forrest remains a monster to this day. But now he's a police officer."
"A couple of students were arguing across the classroom - one of them thought he'd be clever and tell the other to 'go hang yourself.' My teacher ran out of the room crying, came back in 5 minutes later screaming at him that her dad had hanged himself, called him a horrible boy, and she straight up quit. Like, that week.
Everyone kind of....jumped him...after class. Perhaps a bit far but I think somewhat deserved."
"Grade 10 science class, we were taking turns using some kind of lung capacity measuring device. Breathe into a tube and a small plastic ball gets raised by the force of your breathing, something gets measured somehow.
The teacher takes his turn, apparently trying to show off with how hard he can breathe out, somehow breaks the measuring device.
The teacher goes into a rage after realizing he broke it, briefly tries to fix it, gives up, picks up a metal garbage can and throws it in anger, storms out of the room and doesn't come back for 10-15 minutess, at which point he returns and acts like nothing happened.
It was more bizarre and amusing than anything else."
"Mrs Bradshaw, who was a terrible teacher and should've been forced to retire before the Truman administration, came into class and put on an impromtu one-woman play about why students should donate to the United Way charity fund that was running. This included, but wasn't limited to, her throwing a shawl over her head and putting on a really racist accent to be a foreign child getting their first set of crayons.
We all laughed and snickered at her, and she threw a fit that lasted the whole class period.
A few weeks later, she said something to me and I talked back (I don't remember what) when she turned around and fast balled a ruler at my face. I ducked out of the way and the kid behind me took it in the eye (he was wearing glasses)."
"Shop class teacher had an awful Vietnam flashback and ended up flipping over his desk. Turned out a student put some acid in the teacher's coffee during first or second period and it kicked in around third or fourth.
The student was never caught and the teacher took the rest of the year off. He had a sort of Bob Ross hippie gentleness that a lot of kids took as being weird or weak. He just wanted kids to appreciate shop class like he did. The kid who supposedly did it was a little monster, I knew him for years after, and he turned into your typical 'townie'."
"I was a teacher's assistant in high school and heard more teacher gossip than most, but kept it to myself.
Short version: a teacher was pregnant, by her husband, who had died of a heart attack during the conception. Obviously, this messed with Mrs. V quite a bit, and no teacher brought it up, nor did I.
Somehow, some idiot in her class found out, and when I was helping out in the room next door and heard sobbing in the hall, I signaled Mr. H that I would check it out.
It was Mrs. V. She was a wreck, and all I could do was hug her while she babbled out something about a Chad in her room that had said she'd gotten knocked up somewhere else and killed her husband to cover it up.
I went into the next room and proceeded to berate this freshman before sending him to the office, calling the principal before he got there. As a TA I really didn't have much pull, but I was so dang furious that our awful principal actually listened. The Chad was suspended for 10 days and moved to another class, with the warning that one more word about Mrs. V would cement an expulsion.
I had another student continue the lesson. They were all kinda shell-shocked by what had just happened, followed by my vicious, profanity-laden tirade. Enough to stay quiet while I went back out and let a teacher cry on a 17-year-old girl until help arrived by way of every female teacher that could come and help her.
She went on leave after that for I think a couple months. Lots of therapy, according to the teachers that knew I didn't spread their gossip. Thankfully, she returned, and later on gave birth to a healthy boy, whom she named for her husband.
The Chad? Expelled before she even got back. Mr. H, my teacher, overheard him running his mouth the first day he was back.
When she returned, she thanked me with some embarrassment and presented me with McDonald's for lunch."
"A few years ago, I took a class in design theory. It was the pet project of the head of the college, and taught the design principles behind everything from common household objects to room layouts to entire organizations. It was an absolutely brutal class, but uniquely informative.
One day, towards the end of the semester, we went over the use of humor in design. The professor spent the entire class talking about how laughter and amusement can be used to engage an audience and change how people see a situation. The whole time, he was laughing, cracking jokes (and good ones, too), and generally making sure the class had a good time.
And at the end of the lesson, he told us not to underestimate the power of laughter; after all, it was how he had gotten through the lecture that day.
His father had died a couple days prior. He broke down crying after he told us.
It's probably the most impactful lecture I've ever attended."
"I had a teacher we called Mr. Jigglez.
Now, I heard he was on some weird stuff, I heard he was infected by devils, I heard all manner of rumors, but from the mouth of Mr. Jigglez, none of that was true. See one day in the middle of class he just stopped giving a lecture and somehow became stricken with the idea that he was Jesus. I'm actually not making this up. It does sound like nonsense, even writing this, but I assure you it happened. 1998 was the year, to be exact. He left the classroom and stood in the hallway waiting for class change and then picked students to bless. He'd walk up, bless a student, and then walk away, all the while preaching loudly that he was the coming of Christ. I'm not sure if it was a SECOND coming in his mind. Who knows? Maybe it was the first. That was unclear. But one of the students wasn't receptive to his 'blessing' and swatted at Mr. Jigglez' hand.
Mr. Jigglez grabbed him by the throat and drags him down the hallway promising to personally carry him into the underworld. He actually just carried him into a biology teacher's classroom. She tried to talk him down, but it wasn't working. The police and EMS arrived quickly enough, no one was hurt.
Now, I think everyone assumed Mr. Jigglez was fired, but the next year he was back. Everyone had a version of the story and a theory for why it happened. Some say his wife was cheating on him. Others said it was some medicine-induced psychosis. But one day at lunch we were talking about something unrelated and I just asked him point blank what happened.
He was on some kind of psych meds, had run out, and forgot to refill them before hitting empty. His pharmacy was out of that particular medicine, told him it would be five days before they got it in, and he thought he'd be fine for that five days.
He was mistaken."
"The one that sticks out is my history teacher, who was a level 10 incompetent at anything. She usually blathered on through class, about stupid things. She was always very well put together, dressed well, hair done- it’s just there was no substance to her teaching or conversational topics. One day, she started talking about a coworker she was very close to when she was young.
The story started out innocent enough where we were all basically ignoring her, and pretty soon it veered off into this terrible reality.
Her coworker had gone home from work, and died in an accident on the way home. This had to have been 30 years ago. She was crying, saying how much she missed her, and how crazy life can be. The way she explained the story was so sad, too. They had made plans the following day, and my teacher was excitedly waiting for that coworker to come in.
I disliked that teacher immensely, but I felt so sorry for her. She stood there, crying because her friend was gone. I don’t think at 15 I could imagine that sort of loneliness, or pain. But now, a good 15 years later I’ve had her experiences, and I sympathize with her."
"This one 'cool' guy named Davey tormented our English teacher for no reason. She was very sweet and passionate about her job but this guy was a prick. He would write things like 'witch,' 'pig,' and other random insults on the board before class.
The one day that caused the breakdown was when he stole the remote for the wall mounted TV. Her class was the time period that had the daily announcements so the TV was heavily used. So she searched for the remote, couldn't find it and had to stand on her tip toes to control the TV from the button on the front.
A little bit through the announcements the TV turns off. Everyone's reaction was 'weird' so teacher got back up to turn the TV on again. A minute or so later went off again. Of course, at that point, it starts getting suspicious and she jokes, 'Okay is someone playing a prank on me?' No one says anything because no one knew Davey had the remote.
He repeats turning it off two more times directly after she turned it back on, and she snapped. 'OKAY who has the remote' 'Who's doing this!' and being immature 9th graders we all start snickering cause that stuff's funny.
After no one fessed up she starts unloading about how she had been having a tough time lately and started spewing out all this information about her personal life just ranting away. And during the middle of her rant, Davey turned the TV on and started flipping through the channels.
The teacher let out a savage yell and burst into tears. She threw the classroom door open and ran out. She was gone for like 20 minutes and returns with the JROTC teacher. Literal hard as steel drill sergeant. He was calmly talking to us how what we were doing as a class was awful to her and the perp needed to step forward and freaking DAVEY had the balls to turn the TV off and on. DEAD SILENCE. You could have heard dust falling on the ground and everyone was like we're dead. At this point, someone who knew he took it quietly pointed at Davey.
The drill instructor went over to him and pulled him up out of his desk by his shirt collar and screamed in his face 'DO YOU HAVE THE FREAKING REMOTE' feet dangling off of the ground his whole arm was shaking as he took the remote out of his pocket and showed it. He was done for now. He was swiftly removed from the class by the drill instructor and teacher while they we all sat there for the rest of the class doing nothing until the bell rang."
"During my freshman year, the culinary teacher went on leave while she had a baby. We made a pact to not talk at all for the whole time we were there. We had a little radio that we played music on while we worked, and we only played Country Roads (this was before it was a meme).
After a few weeks of this, we all got pretty tired of it but decided to stick it out. One day, the sub was explaining the recipe for us, and she just started begging us to say something. We all kinda just looked at each other as she started crying and none of us knew what to do. She walked out and didn’t come back. We all felt bad. I still do."
"Oh boy. Algebra teacher, 7th grade.
I'm not gonna say her name out of respect, but this teacher arrived mid semester, and replaced the teacher before her. The first teacher, Miss A, was really kind, sorta airheaded and giggly, and a totally incompetent as a teacher. Our school was in a rural area, lots of kids didn't really care about their education at all, so her class was full on chilling, eating, listening to music. It was the best class of the day. Also? She had A/C, and after spending 3 hours (she was our fourth period) in the heat while moving around classrooms sucked. So, math class is heaven.
And then Miss A got fired because apparently she wasn't submitting anything to the school board, who knew?
We have a month not taking the class, which yay free period! But not yay because we're sitting outside in the sun, boo.
And then one day they announce our new teacher arrived. Same classroom, same schedule. Oh boy, here we go.
Miss B, the new teacher, is the most stern faced woman I have ever laid my eyes on. I'm talking her frown had a frown, she physically could not seem to smile, her eyes said boot camp and her frown said immeasurable disappointment. I felt like she had a deep and personal hatred with everybody and everything. This lady was almost 300 lbs, 5 feet, and easily the scariest woman I've ever seen. She looked old too, like 60 years old and like she could be a prison warden and not a teacher.
We promptly decided we hated her. It was mutual, she hated us too. You could tell.
She starts simple in class, and then at the end of the month we're somehow doing complex algebra and we're literally so behind on everything. She notices we're so slow and asks us what the last teacher gave us, upon us literally saying 'nothing' and describing the situation, she seemed shock, cancelled our tests, and restarted literally everything.
This time, she took a slower pace, worked us up bit by bit, and then we realize, holy cow our teacher is a really nice and kind person and what the heck why does she look like she could break us in half in her sleep.
But no, Miss B quickly becomes a really loved teacher in our school. Three months after her arrival, her birthday is coming up. How do we know? Because one of our classmates broke into the office to steal her records and see if she had any military background on a bet. Turns out she didn't, who knew? But he found out her birthday is in two days.
Our class buys cake, party streamers, chips, someone gets a freaking karaoke set. It's wild.
Her birthday comes, we make our way to her classroom on the fourth period, bell rings, students exit her classroom, and they give us a thumbs up and wish us luck, we enter her classroom,
As we march into her classroom, someone is setting up the cake in a vacant desk on the corner of the classroom and lighting the candles, setting down the karaoke machine, and open a mini cooler with coke and refreshments in.
And then we turn and look at her, and she's crying. Like, full on sobbing, big hiccuping breaths, her glasses pushed up so she can hide her face, and her cheeks are red.
We stop singing, people stop moving, and we're all like, well we broke our teacher time to die.
And then we all sorta just start crying and asking her not to cry. As you can tell, we were very emotionally nature 12-year-olds. And then she starts laugh crying and tells us she's crying but she's very happy and we're crying because we made her cry and then we start laughing too and yeah it's a mess.
So, we all sorta dry our tears, the full 23 students go up and hug her and thank her, we cut the cake, give refreshments, and give her one heck of a birthday party. She says she hasn't celebrated her birthday in a long time since she doesn't have a family anymore, and that she won't forget that day. Bell rings, we clean up, head out with smiles on our faces.
Students in her next class were bringing in cake and coolers, see us, start laughing, and the teacher is smiling so hard for the first time since she went into our school.
I'm in 11th grade now, and I love remembering that day, makes me remember school isn't all that bad."