Ah, the innocence of a child, so precious, but also so deceiving. Lacking the knowledge and sadly understanding of how the world works and how awful people can be, it is all too easy for kids to accept whatever reality they have to suffer through as normal. And despite the hope that at least they will be safe at school, that is not always the case.
Users of the popular site Reddit took time to walk down memory lane, recalling the strange, the unusual, and the definitely not ok situations that happen while at school, caused by a teacher no less. It's appalling to think that some of these teachers might still be out there, up to their no good ways, even to this day.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
"I had a fifth grade teacher who singled me out. He would request that I stay after school for 'extra help.' OK. He would tell the class that I was taking too long on a test. If I went too fast, I was a show-off. On those occasions, he loved to show the class my test and point out how many of the answers were wrong. I was always verbally called out.
My homework would 'disappear' and answers on my tests would either be changed, erased, or marked wrong even if they were right. I always was failing. He told my mom I would end up as a teenage mother and that a single woman had no right to raise a child. My parents had also just divorced that same year. I took the divorce like a champ because they were not a good match.
He took privileges away from me because he felt like it. Kids stopped picking on me because he did a pretty good job. Then, he had the audacity to ask my mom if he could tutor me from his house. My mom gave him an earful at that point. As if the two hours after school wasn't enough. My mom was a big advocate for me but she didn't have a good solid backbone to really drag this guy through the mud like she should have.
I now think he was grooming me. It was completely messed up. That was also the same year a lot of other stuff was going down at home (non-divorce related) and the first time I ever considered killing myself.
He wanted me for the next school year so he fought to hold me back. I missed so much that I was held back and my mom placed me in a different school. I didn't make it out completely unscathed. I still harbor hate for that man along with anxiety for being put in a spotlight and other things. He had me pulled out of everything I loved to do. He went on to teach for another 8 years before retiring."
"In junior high, my best friend had a secret relationship with our English teacher. To my knowledge, it never got more physical than holding hands and kissing, but only because her parents became suspicious and reported him. They would go to the movies together, hang out during lunch breaks, email, talk on the phone and 'run into each other' at random places. This is ultimately what tipped her parents off after they picked her up from the mall and saw her with him. They went through her emails and ended up reporting all of it to the school. Nothing happened. I was also really close to him but nothing inappropriate happened between us.
It never seemed weird to me at the time because I honestly thought we were 'so mature' for our age and he was the young 'cool' teacher. We thought it just proved how much older we seemed. Then, we got to high school and realized it was creepy. Then, I became an adult and realized he is actually a pedo.
I don't live there anymore, but, last I knew, he was still teaching."
"I went to a tiny private school from my second grade year to the eighth. Six of those years were spent in the same intermediate classroom with nobody my age. This class was 'taught' by the director of the school, and her idea of teaching was, 'Read it in the book and figure it out.'
The only thing she did was grade papers and write notes on the board for us to copy. If I asked for help in math, she would hand me a piece of chalk and tell me to go to the board. I'd stand up there all day sometimes, on the same lesson for up to a week. She expected every single page in the textbook to be done at the end of the year, and thus, I was still in my seventh-grade math book halfway through eighth grade. She never helped and never explained. She just sent me to the chalkboard and accused me of not trying. If I asked to get a drink of water, she'd accuse me of procrastinating, but then turn around and tell me I didn't drink enough and that I was hurting my kidneys.
Here's the kicker: before I went there, I was tested at my old school and was determined to be a gifted student, however that works. By the time I made it out, I had fallen so far behind that it took two years of high school to claw my way back to average."
"Most people who know me seem to think it was my sixth grade science teacher who had a once a year lesson on what pot does to you and got his classes stoned as part of that particular day of lessons. He never got in trouble for it and retired after 30 some odd years of teaching.
Oh, how times have changed.
In reality, it was my advanced biology teacher who was the most concerning. In his class, girls were encouraged to sit up front and wear tight revealing shirts and short skirts. The extra cute and gorgeous could parley one on one filmed 'favors' for good grades. He was quietly arrested and removed from education about seven years after I graduated.
To be honest, from the outside, it looked odd and many of us students constantly joked about his behavior with respect toward hot female students. He was caught because a janitor walked in on him with a cheerleader. Apparently, he had quite a large number of videos from over the years with his students."
"In Kindergarten, back in, probably, 1979, we had this mousy 'Sissy Spacek' looking teacher. She had it as a policy that every kid who came into the class, first thing in the morning, had to kiss her on the cheek. I don't even remember if I did or didn't do it that morning. I know that another kid and I in that class looked VERY similar. It could have been him that didn't kiss her, or it could have been me. I don't really remember.
I was sitting in class with my back to the teacher (we had large round tables with maybe four kids per table) when class started and she called me out in front of the class, that I had not kissed her. I was an EXTREMELY shy child and this was THE worst thing that could have happened. The whole class's attention focused on me.
I basically froze and ignored her order for me to come up to her and kiss her in front of the class. I had my legs/feet wrapped around the legs of the chair I was sitting in. She got mad, stormed over to me and tried to yank me out of the chair. The chair went with me and then flew from me to loudly clatter across the floor and I freaked out. I was bawling, screaming, etc.
She realized she messed up big time and backed off as I continued to cry. I'm in my 40s now and can still remember it quite vividly."
"My brother's first-grade teacher is honestly one of my most hated people.
My brother has always been a big dude. We both started 'developing' fairly early on and he's always been a little on the portly side. He was taller than the other kids and a lot heavier. At that age, he was very friendly and affectionate. He was a big hugger and would hug anyone and everyone without any thought to it, but wouldn't force it on people. If they wanted a hug, he'd give them a hug. If they didn't - OK, no hugs. He was cool with that. There was no problem with it in preschool or kindergarten, never had any incidents.
But, basically the second he got into first grade, his teacher started in on him. I do not know if she was just old-fashioned, if she came from a well-meaning place, or if she just zeroed in on him because she was a freaking witch, but she did not approve of him hugging people. I will admit, at first it was probably concerning - here's this big dude, at least half a foot taller than everyone else, holding a smaller kid? It did look a little suspicious.
But even after it had been established that everyone was cool with his hugs, that he wasn't forcing anyone to do anything, and that he was a sweet and understanding kid who just wanted to show people that he cared about them, she would punish him for hugging someone. She would yell at him in front of the class, hold him back at lunch and recess, call home, and send him to the principal. Anything she could think of doing, she would do.
My mom declared freaking war on this woman and did her best to get her fired. I think she ultimately succeeded because my mom raised enough chaos with the principal and school board and I don't remember hearing about that teacher being around after that. Unfortunately, she couldn't be fired in the middle of the year and my brother couldn't be transferred to another class with a teacher who didn't hate his guts. There were weekly standing meetings with the principal about this teacher's behavior wherein she was told to leave my brother alone, daily phone calls (sometimes multiple) were made, and it hit a point at which my mom would go into work late most mornings to walk my brother to class and tell the teacher that if she got a phone call for something as stupid as a 7-year-old hugging his friend, she would NOT be happy about it. Spoiler alert: she got phone calls anyway).
I honestly think that this witch is why my brother hates school and learning in general. Before that year, he was always very eager to learn and was a very avid reader. Afterward, it was like pulling teeth to get him to do anything school related. He started acting out.
The biggest incident was when he stole another kid's test and wrote his name on it. My mom had a talk with his second-grade teacher. She tried her best with him and honestly went a ridiculous amount out of her way to try and help him. She knew what was going on. Even after the test-stealing incident, he didn't get in a lot of trouble, but I don't think that anything she could have done would have fixed it.
My brother is also a very shy person and never really shows any kind of affection now. He has gotten a little better in recent years, but he still hates school and is really struggling in college. I honestly don't think that he's ever going to do well in any kind of schooling because his heart is just never gonna be in it. I place a lot of that blame on this teacher."
"The music teacher at my elementary school did all kinds of creepy stuff.
The story that stands out for me was that every Easter, he would have us do the Bunny Hop, except it mostly consisted of us standing still in a bunny-hop pose while he came around to 'inspect our tails.'
We knew something wasn't right about him, but as kids, we didn't really understand the full extent of the creepiness. It was just something to joke about.A bunch of parents finally complained to the school about him. Shortly afterward, he moved to a different school district, supposedly because he would be able to make more money from private lessons there.
Yes, he offered private, in-home music lessons. A friend of mine took lessons from him briefly. Apparently, he insisted on 'absolute privacy' while the lessons were going on. The door had to be closed and her parents weren't allowed to open it."
"I've had more than a few messed up teachers, all from the same rural small town school. The classes were 18 students on average and went from Kindergarten through twelfth.
The first was the science teacher who looked down all the girl's tops while checking their work in sixth grade.
The second was the gym teacher who ignored any injury or bad behavior as long as the injured party was female. I had my glasses broken and got a bloody nose from getting a ball to the face, but he wouldn't even acknowledge I was hurt, let alone punish the guy for throwing it at me.
Finally, there was the female sixth grade health teacher who brought an inappropriate book in to teach us about the birds and the bees. We could look at it anytime we wanted and it was definitely not approved material for 11-12 year-olds. She got fired for that, but they were forced to rehire her a few years later since no one was interested in working in the middle of nowhere."
"My fourth grade teacher turned off the lights and played a Hillary Duff album or movie soundtrack, on repeat, during 'reading time.' She bragged about having perfect skin and pedicures. To fourth graders. She told us within the first week of 'getting to know you' time that she hated kids and would never have any. She was probably in her early 30s, decently attractive (but not as hot as she thought she was), and got fired halfway before the year was over.
I had another teacher, in the eighth grade, who would give candy to me and his daughter (we were both in his class together) during tests and down time in class. No one else. I wasn't all that close to him or even to his daughter. He was rumored to have been fired from three schools for being inappropriate with girls. I have no idea if this was true. He definitely left three schools abruptly during the school year under vague circumstances. My friend's sister was one of the girls who accused him at one of the schools. She also was 'easy' and probably was not getting great grades. But for that to happen at three schools? He was an amazing teacher who never gave me that vibe. He reminded me of Robin Williams.
Another teacher, in tenth grade, broke a wooden desk by slamming a hardcover textbook down next to a sleeping student's head in an effort to scare him awake. It was not done as a risky practical joke, but out of rage. He also kicked his own metal desk and dented it because he was mad at a student for not paying attention/getting an answer wrong. I am pretty sure he hurt his own foot, too. I heard about an instance in which he made a student wash his hair in the bathrooms because he styled a 'faux hawk' and the dress code did not allow 'extreme hairstyles.' This was in January, though, in a school that was all separate trailers. The kid had to walk from class to class, outside, with wet hair in the middle of winter.
There was another teacher I had in the ninth grade. You could just tell she was either a late bloomer trying to prove herself as hot to teenage boys, OR a stereotypical sorority type who refused to stop trying for the attention of teenage boys. She wore a pound and a half of makeup, tightly fitting clothes, flirted with boys, kept boys after class just to hang out, picked favorites and didn't even try to hide it, and was just an all-around terribly unqualified teacher. At a private Christian School. She taught Bible. Ha."
"One of my teachers had a 'jar of punishments' for whenever you broke one of the 'rules.' Both the punishments and the rules could be created by the students, and if you broke the rules you had to draw a punishment. Rules included everything from insulting another student and speaking out of turn, to forgetting a pencil. The punishments all centered on public humiliation. Because it was a class of high schoolers given almost full reign, every class devolved into nothing but trying to bait other students into being punished or convincing the teacher they needed to be.
Punishments included forcing students to get on hands and knees while pushing a penny across the room with their nose and saying 'Beep beep I'm a jeep,' performing the highly inappropriate 'call on me' dance, requiring students to scoot up and down every aisle of desks on their butt like a dog while barking the whole time, or making one kid spend an entire class at the front of the room, facing the wall, wearing a literal dunce cap.
I forgot a pencil one day and had to stand at the front of the room while every student in the class balled up a piece of paper and threw it at me. One kid threw an entire notebook. I then had to crawl around on the floor and clean up all the trash.
The teacher ended up getting reported at the end of the year after I and several other students complained about it unofficially to a different teacher. While he wasn't fired, the jar of punishments was gone the next year."
"During Thanksgiving, in Kindergarten music class, we would sing holiday-themed songs, of course. I thought my music teacher was weird because he used a microphone. While he sang the song, we would all hide around the room pretending to be turkeys. When the first verse was done, he would creep around the room while singing softly and pounce on a hiding kid, scaring them! It was always exciting and fun! When he would find you, he would pretend to eat your arm, make gobble sounds into his microphone.
He would always start commenting on the non-white kids first.
'Oh no, you're too burnt to eat!' he would say sadly or mock angrily.
Now that I think about this, I realize you could tell the difference between the truly innocent sheltered kids and the ones who knew saying stuff like that was not right. The innocent ones would laugh their butts off because they didn't get it, of course. They were looking at this kid as if he was just being compared to food, but the rest of us kind of just stood there staring at him like, What the heck?
It seemed like he 'found' each kid in order of melanin and he would always end with the white kids. When he found them, his whole demeanor would change.
'Oh, this one is done just right!' he would happily exclaim.
Then, the non-white kids would stand there and fall silent as the white kids would crowd around him to be tested and told they were good. The innocent, sheltered kids then kind of changed at the end of the game, the white kids felt happy, and the non-white kids felt sad. What a jerk.
When I was a teen, I was telling this story to someone who also had him as a kid. They are 10 years older than me. Apparently, he did the same stuff to them. For years, this freaking jerk planted that seed in countless little minds."
"I took a trip to this school-sponsored leadership retreat in high school. It was a kind of week-long camp experience in which we did all of this team building stuff. I should probably mention that this was a public school. I went with a friend of mine and it was actually a pretty good time. The only kind of odd part was on the last day.
A bunch of the other students (as in all of them) gathered around a bonfire and were singing these Christian songs. My friend and I were not really into that, so we just kind of hung back by ourselves. Later, we were supposed to take an anonymous survey about the experience. Neither of us made a big deal about that part, but we did both mention that it seemed kind of exclusionary, especially considering the whole point of the trip.
Despite being anonymous, one of our teachers who was along for the trip recognized our handwriting and decided to ask us about that part of the survey individually. She initially just wanted to know more about why I felt that way, so I told her that I'm not religious and it just kind of took me off guard how it seemed to happen all of the sudden.
She said something to the effect of, 'I'd be interested to talk to you in 10 years and see if you haven't changed your mind.' Even at the time, it seemed pretty condescending. But, later on, I realized how really not cool that was.
Oh, it's been about 17 years since that happened... still not religious."
"I used to have homeroom in the morning that was overseen by one of our PE coaches. But, not the stumpy middle age coach - the young handsome, looked like he almost made it to the majors, coach. The girls adored him. I mean ADORED him.
They would all sit on his desk, talk to him, and giggle at everything he said. Then, some of them started doing things like playing with his hair and tugging on his clothes. Before the end of the year, he would have multiple 15-16 year-old girls sitting on his lap over the course of the morning.
At the time, I just sort of laughed it off, if not had been a bit jealous even. But now I realize, holy crap! I found out a few years later, he had been fired from his previous school because he and the school nurse got caught doing things in a utility closet. I am not going to lie, I'm kind of curious what ended up happening to that dude."