It’s tough to be a teacher. Students challenge you in ways you could never even have imagined. But then there are days where they surprise you, and even make you laugh.
Here’s a list of teachers sharing times where their students got something technically, though not exactly, correct.
Many thanks to all the Redditors who responded. Check out more answers from the source at the end of this article!
“Why are you late?”
“The bell went off before I got here.”
2. Oh yeah!
“What side of the road do people in France drive on?”
“Miss, they drive on both sides.”
3. No, that’s on TOP of it…
I’ve got a story from my fiancee’s childhood. They were testing her intelligence or awareness, and showed her an image with a tv in a room. The tv was turned on, showing a cartoon, and had a plant on top of it.
Q: What’s on the Television?
A: A plant.
Apparently she just kept insisting in utter frustration until the administrator bothered to look at the image and not the answer sheet.
4. Three in one!
A man has to get a fox, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river. He has a rowboat, and it can only carry him and one other thing. If the fox and the chicken are left together, the fox will eat the chicken. If the chicken and the corn are left together, the chicken will eat the corn. How does the man do it?
Student’s answer: “Let the chicken eat the corn, and let the fox eat the chicken. Then bring the fox over.”
5. Well done!
The assignment was “Write the following numbers in all letters”
The kid answered :
And so on. I gave him full points.
6. Are we sure about that?
In grade 9 English we were studying The Hobbit. Our bonus question for the test was “What word does Gollum never say?”
The answer of course was “I,” but one kid put down “pumpernickel” and the teacher was like… You’re right. Have a mark.
7. I guess…
Teaching English to middle schoolers in Korea, asked: “Ok, what’s another way you can express surprise in English?” (after going over expressions like, “No way!”, “Are you serious?” “Are you kidding me?”)
Kid yells from the very back of the room: “WHAT THE F–K!?”
8. Some people ARE.
In 7th grade on a test the question said “Why do some people see some technology as positive, and others see the same technology as a problem?” and a kid simply put, “Because some people are Amish.”
My sweet little 7-year-olds overheard a 5th grade boy say, “Don’t be f-ing stupid,” to his friend. They look up at me, eyes wide, and say, “Oooohhh, he said ‘stupid’!”
10. Not what you want to hear…
Phys. Ed teacher here – I always wear shorts teaching. Parent-teacher conferences roll around, grade 1 student comes up to me with her parents – “Teacher, I’ve never seen you wear pants before”.
I’ve never responded quicker to a comment before in my life to clear that up.
11. Good to know.
I asked, “When is a time you have used integrity?”
He wrote down, “I wash my hands after going to the bathroom, even if no one is in there.”
12. I’m not sure if that’s right.
Name two ways to determine the height of a building using a barometer that is exactly one meter long:
1) Take the barometer to the top of the building, drop it, and time how long it takes to hit the ground.
2) Find the owner of the building and say: “Hey – I have this really awesome barometer I’ll give you if you tell me how tall your building is.”
13. Well… what can I say?
College professor, teaching developmental psychology. At the end of the semester, I asked all the students to write down the most interesting or important thing they learned. One wrote, “Babies are stupid and old people still have sex.”
It’s not wrong. Kinda covers the life span.
14. Neither can I…
I wrote an exam where the question was “Can you name three models of DNA replication?”
She wrote, “No.”
15. And a good one at that!
Same kid on the same quiz:
Q. Describe the bus ride at the beginning of the chapter.
A. It was a bus ride filled with action, but also with emotion.
Q. What happens at the end of the story?
A. The story ends.
Kid’s going to be a politician someday.
16. You can do it!
I teach and coach baseball. After our short stop got thrown out on second for the third out, I told someone to “pick up Will,” which in baseball terms means to get his glove and hat so he can go out to the field.
This kid who was new to baseball, a lineman type football player, claps his hands and goes, “It’s okay Will, you’ll get them next time.”
I cried laughing.
Will was the name of the short stop. The kid who “picked him up” was genuinely being nice and thoughtful.
17. Is that even a joke?
I worked in a special needs class for a year and there was the one kid who was very bright, but a very tough nut to crack.
I tried to tell him a corny joke once and he was not having it.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?” “He likely had business over there or was compelled by force.”
18. Dang it!
Not a teacher but I work with kids.
Trying to delicately explain to a 3 year old why she should be kind to her mommy.
“You shouldn’t say those mean things to mommy when she’s sick. Who looks after you when you are sick, and makes you feel better?”
“……. well shoot.”
19. Not college, but places…
I teach English to Vietnamese kids. I asked what is the population of Vietnam? This one kid quickly surveyed the room and said, “More than 15.”
This guy is going places.
20. Forever and ever.
I teach English in Japan.
When teaching my students, I asked “What do we say when someone is being too loud?”
One kid says “Shut up forever!”
I had never said this. No clue where he learned it either. I nearly lost myself, but he wasn’t wrong.
The correct answer is “Be quiet, please,” which I told him was more polite. He just grinned as if he knew, but didn’t care. Smart kid. I’ll miss him when I change jobs.
21. Never again….
Not the teacher but witnessed this in class:
Sociology Prof: “Why do you conform?”
Student: “It has always been my goal in life to blend in.”
Soc Prof: “No more questions for you.”
22. We all have a hood.
I teach forensic science.
We were going to be using iodine to fume fingerprints. Iodine vapor is no joke, so I terrify the students and use only two volunteers with goggles and respirators at the chemical hood. But, we still all go over the MSDS, PPE, and equipment.
I spent maybe five minutes talking about everything and the chemical hood to my class of thirty. Towards the end,
“So. Someone tell me: what is a hood?”
A hand shoots up.
“It’s, like, the place where you grow up.”
I facepalm, the class laughs, and I’m unable to pivot his answer in the moment. (He’s on the autism spectrum and wasn’t trying to be funny).
23. Where’s the document?
I am not a teacher, but my wife is an elementary school teacher.
The kids were practicing their twos times tables and the question said something along the lines of, “John lives in his house with his mom, dad, brother, and grandpa. How many total hands do the people in John’s house have all together?” The answer they were looking for was 10 and they wanted the students to show that 25=10. This young man instead wrote, “Not enough information. What if someone lost a hand?”
He wasn’t wrong. My wife just wrote, “Good thinking” on his assignment and gave him full credit. The kid was bright and knew his times tables, so that wasn’t an issue.
24. That’s not going anywhere…
In science class in high school our teacher was talking about electricity and lightning and the effects of being electrocuted. He asked if anyone happened to know what is the first sense you lose when struck by lightning.
Without missing a beat, a girl put her hand up and answered in all honesty, “Your sense of humor?”
Class had to stop for a few minutes until everyone could regain their composure.
When I used to teach anatomy:
“Anthony, name this bone.”
“Is it a left femur or a right femur?”
26. Wilbur lives!
(On a 3rd grade Charlotte’s Web quiz): Give 2 pieces of evidence that support this statement: “Charlotte was a good friend to Wilbur.”
“She comforted him and she didn’t let him become pork.”
27. For all my German readers out there!
Ok so this story totally doesn’t translate to english, but I will give it a shot anyway:
In German there is this little drawing game called “das haus vom nikolaus” consisting of drawing a house without lifting the pen or drawing the same line twice. Well the act of drawing something without lifting your pen is called “in einem zug zeichnen” which literally translates to “drawing in a train”.
So yes, one kid actually drew a house. In a train.
28. “Don’t pick up hitch hikers.”
Asked, “What is the moral of the story ‘The Little Engine That Could’?”
Answered, “Don’t pick up hitch hikers.”
To refresh your memory, the engine had trouble getting up the hill because he had taken on several more passengers due to their train breaking down.
29. Yeah, that’s mine.
Elementary school kid saw the answer key. He swore he came up with, “Answers may vary,” all on his own.
30. Blown to bits.
Something my brother answered for homework.
My brother was in year 1, and his homework was to draw a balloon “blown up”. He drew a picture with lots of squiggly shapes spread out across the paper.
He took it as the balloon blown up, like a bomb, so he drew the leftovers of an exploded balloon.
His teacher loved it and gave him full marks!
31. Keep it in the family.
“Name something living” Fox “Name something non-living” Fox poop.
Teaching English in Korea going over vocabulary words.
Same kid, a month or so later.
33. Was the other teacher not busy or…?
Not a teacher but a witness. In high school history class the teacher asked “What was the peace treaty that ended World War 2?”
This was a trick question because there wasn’t a single treaty that ended the war. This one kid blurted out “The Manhattan Project.” The teacher laughed so hard he went and got the other history teacher and had the kid tell him the answer too.
34. Up to you.
Teaching grade 5. Students were fooling around during group work so I said sarcastically, “Do I need to stand here and watch you do your work?” to which the student responded even more sarcastically, “Well you don’t have to stand, you can grab the chair and sit.”
There was a buddy of mine in college, J, who was legendary for his witty responses in class.
We were training to be RAs and the residential life person asked, “What are some things that as an RA, you shouldn’t do in your dorm room?” People were saying stuff like drinking, etc.
J raises his hand, gets called on, says, “Practicing medicine without a license.”
The trainer was like, “Uh, yeah, I guess that’s true.”
Same guy was in a film class. Teacher asks, “What technique defined the scene we just watched?”
J raises his hand, gets called on, says, “Long, awkward silences.”
Teacher: “Could you give an example?”