Your teachers always told you there was no such thing as a dumb question. THEY LIED. I have proof. These are the all-time dumbest classroom questions.
This piece is based on an AskReddit thread. Link on the last page.
1. Class couldn’t stop laughing.
Had a student ask me “What are those pyramid-shaped things in Egypt called?”
Never seen a class laugh that hard before.
2. Still? Yeah, I think they still are.
My mom is a teacher’s assistant in a 5th grade class.
A few weeks ago a girl asked,”Are bears still real?”
3. May need to repeat a couple grades.
I once projected a picture of the Earth onto the front white board. A student asked, “How do astronauts stand on a planet like that?”
This was an 8th grade student, being totally serious, not under any noticeable influence of illegal substances.
4. But, what are they made of??
As a high school biology teacher, a 16 year old student once asked me: “Wait, aren’t rhinos made of mud?”
5. Stop causing volcanos to erupt!
After a lengthy explanation of the effects of volcanic eruptions on human communities, I had a grade 6 student ask me why on earth people even make volcanic eruptions.
6. That’s not entirely unexpected.
At the college mid term, I had a guy come who Id never seen before come up to the front to talk to me. He proceeded to ask me what his grade was. Turns out ,he should have known what his grade was because he had never turned in a single piece of homework, had done no quizzes, had never even attended a test.
What did you think you’d have? You’ve got a solid F.
7. I think they need to read the book again…
9th grade ELA, a few chapters into Of Mice And Men:
“What kind of work does George do on the farm?”
“I’m not sure. Probably the same work that everyone else is doing.”
“Oh. It must be hard for him to help out, since he’s a mouse.”
8. Sometimes, even using a map won’t help.
While I was student teaching, I had a student ask where Texas was on the map I was projecting on the screen. The map was of China.
9. Punctation can be tough, but not that tough.
Private writing instructor. A couple of years ago, I had a student ask me if commas were real or imaginary. He was equally dubious about semicolons, which he referred to as “imitation periods.”
He was 26 and very serious.
10. If only we could breath helium.
I used to volunteer teaching at an after school program for 14-year olds. We were doing a project that involved balloons. One boy had blown his balloon but couldn’t get it tied. I tied it and gave it back to him. He immediately tossed it up. As it sank to the floor, his face fell. Obviously disappointed, he asked: “Aw, so they’re not helium?”
11. I think we have NASA’s next astronaut right here.
I was asked by a crying student once if there was a second moon. We were outside for recess and as happens sometimes, the moon was visible. I said no, why? In response, she pointed to the moon and said, but aren’t the sun and the moon the same thing? She was crying because the other kids were making fun of her for thinking the sun and the moon were the same thing.
After I explained to her the sun did not turn into the moon at night and then back into the sun in the morning (she actually thought the moon was the sun ‘turned off’), I did an impromptu science lesson that afternoon with the whole class.
12. Well, why else would they?
I have one or two of these. The most embarrassing question I ever saw was asked in sex ed. In the middle of sex ed, this guy burst out: “Do vaginas have tastebuds?”
Everyone looks at him like what the hell is going through your head…
“Well why else would the make flavored condoms?” he said.
13. You shouldn’t write down everything the teacher says.
Kid: How do islands not float away?
Me: Really big anchors.
He wrote it down.
14. That is not a good reason to learn martial arts…
I teach martial arts to little kids.
I had a kid ask me if he could punch his mom now.
15. That’s pretty much a straightforward as it gets.
This came up all the time when teaching kids how to do their taxes. I must have had this conversation a dozen times.
Student: Sir, I don’t know what to do at this part.
Me: What does the instruction say on that line?
Student: Add box 23 and 24 and write the answer here.
Me: So add box 23 and 24?
I, to this day, have no idea how you teach someone to follow very explicit instructions.
16. Weirdest excuse for trying to get out of a presentation.
Maybe not a stupid question, but I had a student give me the strangest excuse ever to not participate in a final project presentation that we’d been working on all semester and was literally the point of the class. She came up to me a week before the presentations were to happen and told me “I can’t come to the presentation because I want to come out to my parents that night. Now clearly this is a delicate topic and I would typically be overwhelmingly supportive of a students journey to find themselves. However it was a week before the event, she couldn’t pick a different day to tell her parents? Really? It HAD to be the night of the giant presentation she was supposed to do?!
I asked her if there was anything special about that date and why it NEEDED to be that night when she was aware that not attending would for sure lock-in her already failing grade for the class. She just shrugged and said it just felt like a good day for her to do it on.
She didn’t attend the presentations event. She also hadn’t done a lick of work all semester so I have a feeling it had a lot more to do with that than anything else.
17. I really, really wish that they did.
A girl in my honors science class asked the teacher and was 100% serious if ramen grew on ramen trees.
18. Fake news is everywhere these days!
As part of teaching U.S. Government, I ran a zombie apocalypse scenario where the students had to respond to an ongoing crisis in real-time using the actual powers of the government. It was my favorite activity all semester and I went all in, including a large map of the U.S. that would be updated for every day that passed.
As part of this activity, I prepared a handout of a fake news story about the zombie apocalypse beginning in our home town. It had pictures of zombies shambling around and was written all newspaper style.
One day, after handing these out, an 18 year old student raised their hand and said Sir, did this really happen?”
19. You never know what you’re going to be asked in a sex ed class…
Grade 5 Sex Ed. I had a rule that any question can be asked but I might ask you to ask your parents instead of me. One kid gave me a classic example of why I don’t want to answer some questions.
“I heard a story about a man who put his ‘stuff’ into muffins and fed it to grade one kids. Is that true?””Well… that is pretty disgusting and I would think that person would go to jail for doing that”
“Wouldn’t the girls get pregnant from eating it?”
And before I could say anything another student blurted out “NO!! They wouldn’t get pregnant!! They haven’t gone through puberty yet!!”
I am thankful for days when kids remind me that they are still kids.
20. I’m not sure if that’s EXACTLY what the founding fathers had in mind.
While discussing the bill of rights:
“If we got the right to bear arms, why can’t we wear tank tops in school?
21. Maybe they should try and read a history book or something.
In 8th grade, I had a classmate argue that Martin Luther King freed the slaves. When I tried to correct her she flipped out and started screaming, name calling, etc.
22. Look on the bright side, at least they know the sun exists.
Had a pupil ask me if the sun they saw in America was the same as the sun we saw here in Scotland, and why was their sun so much warmer…
23. That’s not how counting works.
I’m a corporate trainer, so hopefully this counts.
I used to train people for an exam that everyone in our field must take to get licensed. If you didn’t pass, you had to go back through the course. Well, I had a dude go through my class 4 times. FOUR.
Here’s the conversation we had before his 3rd exam.
Guy: “What attempt am I on?”
Me: “Wait… what?”
Guy: “Well, I’ve taken the test twice, but everyone else in here hasn’t taken it, so am I taking my test for the first time or the third time?”
Me: “What do you think?”
Guy: “I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking you.”
Dude thought that he might be on his first attempt because he was back in a class with a bunch of people who were on theirs.
As you might expect, he failed. He never got that licence.
24. Not sure it has to do with age.
How old do you have to be to smoke crack? – a fellow student at Waukegan circa 1988.
25. That’s not how it works…
After a massive water shortage: “Can’t we just fill up the reservoir with tap water?”
Wow, how did nobody ever think of that???
26. Yeah, because you’re neck is a necessary part of your anatomy.
If the patient has a brain hemorrhage, can we do a tourniquet on the neck to stop it?
27. Those are two very different places.
Taught English/Literature in a Juvenile Justice long term treatment facility.
Me: This is a map of the United States. Here is the midwest–it’s where your math teacher is from.
Student: Oh snap. We’re in a war with them.
Me: Are you thinking about the middle east?
Student: Oh yeah, is that a different place?
28. This is the moment the teacher wishes they had a camera crew.
Not a teacher but I once heard a student say, “you actually believe in evolution? So you think monkeys just decided not to turn into people?” to another student and the teacher basically looked into the camera like he was on the office, so to speak.
29. Sounds like a band name.
When I was a student teacher I was just finishing up a 2 week unit on WW2. I gave the students 5 minutes before the test to look over their notes and/or ask me any questions before we start it. One of the kids in the front raises her hand and asks “OK, so who were the Allies?”
She pronounced it like the name, Allie.
30. That’s the reason sex ed class exists in the first place.
In 7th grade science class, during sex ed, they were talking about oral sex. A girl in class suddenly blurted out: “Wait you can get an STD just from talking about sex?”
I wouldn’t call the question stupid, she had just had no exposure to sex at all beforehand.
31. Evolution is not something that you can or cannot “believe in”. It’s a fact.
Not a teacher but I once heard a student say “you actually believe in evolution? So you think monkeys just decided not to turn into people?” to another student. The teacher basically looked into the camera like he was on The Office, so to speak.