We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. But then again, we aren’t all entrusted wth the futures of thousands of children.
This piece is based on a Quora question. Link on the last page.
I think I was in the fourth grade. My favorite teacher was Mrs. Q. She was tall, young, with dark hair, dark eyes and a deep tan. She touched the kids in a nice way, and we, the little boys, practically swooned.
And then, there was the rumor. None of us exactly believed it, but we had heard that Mrs. Q had posed for Playboy. But none of us took it seriously. It was just something we whispered to each other.
Then came the morning I walked to the bus stop to find my friends gathered around a magazine. They were transfixed by what they were looking at. I walked around to see what had captured their attention. I stopped breathing when I saw the pictures. There was dear Mrs. Q. Buck naked.
In seventh grade, there was one boy that our home room teacher hated. The kid was kind of a goof but never did anything really problematic until one day when he got mouthy with this teacher.
Then the teacher gave the kid an art eraser – you know, one of those rubbery squares about an inch or so long – and announced his punishment: the boy was to push the eraser around the perimeter of the room, on his hands and knees, with his nose!
The class watched the kid struggle inch by inch around the room and laughed, as you might expect a roomful of 12-year-olds to do. But the teacher just watched, almost greedily, with such a look of pleasure that I knew at that moment he shouldn’t be a teacher. That was my first exposure to cruelty for pleasure – sadism. It made me sick.
My homeroom teacher last year. We already knew she was liberal as she was a huge Bernie Sanders-supporter and we spent the bigger part of that year covering British and American politics.
We did not know that she was the leader of a nearby nudist community, though.
Mia Kristine Martinussen
We have a sports teacher at our school, who perfectly fills the stereotype; big, monstrous, aggressive and macho. Hes actually a nice teacher, and a good one at that. Yet it came as no surprise to us when he told us he once did powerlifting competitions.
In an assembly we had he was telling us all about what he was like when he was younger. He was, and still is a prepper and he loves to camp alone in the woods. He used to professionally windsurf all across the world. He was in the army for several years.
Then he finishes his speech by telling us he loved to be in musicals and was a great singer. He said he loved acting and performance too.
A woman stormed into class, slapped our (young, female) teacher, and called her a horrible name.
We found out later that the woman was another teachers wife. The two teachers were having an affair.
Shannon Dorothy Parker
One of my pharmacology teachers had an affair with one of the students in my school.
This is not the shocking part, every student knew about the inappropriate affair. It was one of those times when the gossip literally spread like wild fire.
She (the teacher) and he (the student) were doing many unmentionable things.
However, what she was unaware of was that he had many such opportunistic arrangements with many other girls in school, albeit she was the only teacher in the flock.
Until one day she caught up to his tomfoolery. And she totally lost it.
She yelled and screamed and cursed. She slapped and pushed him. She cried and wailed and made a spectacle of herself.
She was lucky; they did not fire her. Instead, they gave her a chance to voluntarily resign.
When I was in 3rd grade, there was a class bully by the name of Chris. My cousin Ryan was also in the class, and we were buddies. One day Chris decided to pick on my cousin. Incensed, I punched Chris in the face and knocked him clean out of his chair.
Horrified by what I had done, I quickly turned to see if the teacher had seen. She hadn’t. She had her back to the class writing on the chalk board and had missed the whole thing. I was so relieved. I attended a private school that employed corporal punishment and I was so sure I was going to get paddled.
I found out years later from my parents that she had actually seen the whole thing and had quickly turned to the board to hide her huge smile. She had been aching to punch Chris herself for months.
Chris never bothered me or my cousin again.
My grade 3 teacher, Mrs. Nel was a no nonsense fiery redhead. We were terrified of her! She did not tolerate any laughing or talking in her class, and homework not done would almost be a death sentence!
After homework one night, I watched a local sitcom about a long distance passenger train that would travel from town to town picking people up and dropping them off and it usually had a story about one of them.
Well, guess who I saw on the show!
Mrs. Nel! She was sitting in one of the coaches with a lady friend and a crook came into their coach trying to rob them of their valuables. She and the friend attacked the crook and managed to shove him out of the window. He was hanging on for dear life and MRS. NEL took off her high heeled shoe and smacked his fingers until he let go!
Well, the monster of grade 3 turned into a celebrity overnight! Almost half the class saw this sitcom and we bombarded her with questions. She tried to deny it at first but we were not having any of that. In the end she burst out laughing and thanked us for our interest!
No one could take her too seriously after that. Grade 3 turned out pretty awesome in the end!
Willemien Van Vuuren
I went to Catholic grammar school, and had nuns for almost all my teachers. They were mostly very stern women, with very little personality and even less sense of humor.
In 8th grade, we had a trip to New York City. After touring some museums we all had lunch in Little Italy. My group sat at the table with Sister Patricia, who was pretty new at the school, and a few decades younger than most of the other nuns.
Everyone at the table was shocked when she ordered an Old Fashioned (a cocktail made with Rye Whiskey). They couldnt believe a nun was drinking alcohol. It was no big surprise to me, my grandmother had two sisters who were nuns, and they drank like fish every time they visited.
Someone asked- Sister Patricia, are you allowed to drink? She replied- What Mother Imelda doesnt know, wont hurt her! and took another sip.
“Hey Davis, remember your old 5th-grade teacher?” Sure. “Well, he was just arrested.” What for?
I was surprised because he never did anything suspicious or sinister. He never appeared threatening, he was just a normal dude. I didnt let it bother me for long, but it sure was uncomfortable to think about.
More impressed than shocked. At age 11, back in the mid-80s, our class had a teacher who was an old lady and we loved her, but at that age would not have imagined her as anything other than a very sweet old lady. When we were learning about the 2nd World War she brought in old photos.
It was her, an incredibly beautiful and brave very young woman of no more than 19, who had travelled from England to Berlin after the war, with the Red Cross, to help provide emergency aid to the people there, and help them rebuild.
The whole class was shaken and amazed, not just that she had once been young, but that she had, at that time and climate, a noble enough heart to see ‘enemies’ as people and reach out to them, feed them, clothe them, find them housing and give them hope.
We all learned so much from that and saw her, and the world, in a new light. God bless that teacher.
I was always a little bit of a problem child. Its not that I had a problem with authority per se, I just had my own way of doing things.
In 4th grade, I got a teacher with a reputation for being a disciplinarian. He delivered on that reputation. I wouldnt say we disliked each other, but he did not give me much leeway. One of his go-to discipline moves was to send a kid to the corner. That means standing in the corner, facing the wall, and not being allowed to touch the wall. No leaning or anything like that.
I would spend hours, sometimes the entire day, standing in the corner.
But again, it was almost a business relationship we had. I remember one morning, class started. Charles, do you have your homework today? The question was ceremonial because he knew (and I knew he knew) the answer. Nope. Get in the corner. This line wasnt delivered in a scolding way, just business-like. In the same way that a cashier would say That will be $1.32. Okay, your change is $3.68.
Despite this, I think we had a positive relationship, especially with the benefit of hindsight and my adult perspective. He did his best to nurture my positive qualities and did his best to squelch my negative qualities. Both with mixed success.
Many years later, in a fit of nostalgia, I googled him. On the first page of results was a story from a newspaper in Florida (far from his home in Las Vegas) about a guy with his name being arrested for possession of crack cocaine and solicitation of a prostitute. I wouldnt have believed it was the same guy had they not also shown the mugshot.
Two years ago I shared a Facebook post about my elementary school PE teacher.
He died at the age of 77.
He was one of my favorite teachers ever. He was nice, easy going and let us play a lot of soccer.
There was a Wikipedia link attached to the post and I opened it to see what it was about. This is the time when I discovered that he was quite an accomplished person.
He played soccer professionally for almost two decades and he was the head coach of the national soccer team of Cuba between 1971 and 1975 and 1978 and 1982.
Was I shocked and surprised? Absolutely.
Peter T Mayer
From the beginning of the school year, I had known that my senior year English teacher was an interesting guy. He volunteered in the Peace Corps, ran ultramarathons, and (obviously) loved books.
But one day, my teacher nonchalantly brought up that Joe Gebbia (the co-founder of Airbnb) had asked him for a picture of the two of them together because Joe was preparing for a TED Talk.
Before leaving the United States in the Peace Corps, my English teacher was driving cross-country, and met Joe at his yard sale, where he bought a piece of artwork that Joe had made – the artwork that was hanging in my English classroom all year!
After the two talked for a while, Joe offered to host my teacher in his living room, which ultimately sparked his idea for Airbnb.
Its incredible how something as small as staying on an air mattress in a strangers living room can result in something as huge as Airbnb.
This incident is from my initial weeks in university.
Undergraduate students, in their first semester, have to study a course on C programming. I was no exception.
Everything went normally. In any case, I knew our university would have, arguably, the best faculty and research in the country. The professor teaching our course was Dr. Nitin Saxena.
I came to know from the third and fourth-year undergraduate students that he is considered a genius among the earlier batches. Well, it sure feels great learning from a cool professor.
So, I decided to check out his rsum.
He received one of the most prestigious prizes in the field of Computer Science, for creating an algorithm for checking primality of a number in O(log6n) steps.
Fun Fact: This semester, I am studying a course by him, and a course by his Ph.D. supervisor, and a course by his Ph.D. supervisors Ph.D. supervisor.
The stuff of legends for mere mortals like me.
As a Freshman in community college, I noticed this teacher was extra nice to me (by the way, he was male). I worked at Cheesecake Factory and an ex-employee offered me a job at a Gay Bar – I dont have any issues with Gay people so I took the job based on the money that was offered.
So there I was 6 months into my new job knocking down about $500 a night, just bartending.
Guess who walked in? That very same teacher that was so nice to me! I bought him a drink and he asked if I was Gay – the answer was NO, but I would always say Its a secret, strong enough for a man, but made for a woman I was the only straight guy when I started there, when I quit, there was 5 of us.
We had a blast and I wouldnt change it for the world, it gave me way more confidence and I met great people there. As for my teacher – his secret was safe from the college.
When I was a young lad in high school, I was too big a geek to get a girlfriend. I was way too book smart for my own good, and wasnt tough enough to hang out with the jocks. I had the usual teenage hormones, but no girl would get within ten feet of me if she could avoid it.
As if that werent temptation enough, there were three female teachers in their mid- to late-20s who were very attractive. It goes without saying that these three lovely teachers were the objects of many fantasies, and not just for me.
I tried to improve my luck with the opposite sex, because I had a cool friend who was effortlessly able to chat up girls, and I hoped I could learn from him. I guess I did, but not in the way I hoped.
This friend told me of his sexual adventures, name-dropping here and there. He never went a weekend without getting lucky. He hooked up with dozens of girls.
A few years after we graduated high school, he and I met for coffee and were talking about an upcoming school reunion. The subject turned to some of the females who were going, and he was mentioning the ones he had slept with.
Suddenly he said, Maybe [20-something teacher] will be there… I miss her.
My heart froze in my chest. My mouth dropped open. Perhaps I was a little too naive for my own good, even in my 20s, but I somehow thought it impossible that a teacher would show any interest in a high school kid.
…So if youre surfing the web and think, God, it seems like every week a teacher is getting arrested for screwing a student, all I can say is, they just never got CAUGHT before.
One of my math teachers in High School (2007-2010) was a millionaire.
He wasn’t the greatest teacher nor the smartest so discovering it was quite a surprise.
Teachers in Alberta earned about 55-60K per year back then, which was the highest provincial educator salary in Canada. He had a family with two kids, for which he was the sole provider. This was a crappy public high school which is still ranked 3rd from the bottom in the entire city (and 11th from the bottom in the province, out of 270 high schools).
So where did his wealth come from?
He bought a house a few years or so prior to teaching me. After a few years, Alberta economy boomed due to the astronomically rising price of oil. His home went from ~400K to around 2 mil due to ridiculous demand. Suddenly he was a millionaire (on paper).
In addition, being a math teacher he was aware of the basics of compound interest, finance, etc so over the years he accumulated nearly a million in a nest egg as well. He was in his mid-40s at the time.
One of my favorite high school literature teachers, the one who taught my 9th-grade class, had multiple surprises in store, some more pleasant than others.
I learned she was the best friend of my other favorite literature teacher, who I had in 12th grade, when she came into the room near the end of class one day, walked up to my 12th-grade teacher, and just collapsed into her arms bawling her eyes out. From what little we could understand through her sobbing, shed just found out that she tested negative for breast cancer and was crying in relief. That was a nice aww-moment.
Two years later I was home for a holiday and my mom showed me the local news section of the paper, asking hey, wasnt this one of your teachers? Sure enough, it was my 9th-grade literature teacher. Shed been arrested for having an affair with a freshman or sophomore (cant remember which). What makes it really sad is that while in school, wed all seen her husband and 2 or 3 pre-school-aged children around on multiple occasions.
I immediately felt bad for her husband and kids, and then wondered what my 12th-grade literature teacher thought about it. I also wondered if the breast cancer scare had given her some sort of existential crisis and that was her way of acting it out. The only one I wasnt too concerned with at the time was the kid she slept with since all indications were that he was a willing participant. (Not justification, just explanation: I still believed then that the social repercussions for him would be limited to a mixture of laughter and congratulations from his peers.)
But I do wonder now if its a stigma that follows him around, dogging his relationships as much as it would if he and my former teachers genders were reversed, to say nothing of the STD risk. Depressing all around.
My fifth-grade teacher was a kind woman. I have no idea how old she actually was, but you know how it is when youre a kid and every adult looks impossibly ancient. For the mid-eighties, she had a very dated hairdo; she looked like a backup singer from the sixties.
Really nice lady, let me start a classroom newspaper and everything.
One day, she was teaching a history lesson and just happened to mention that her father was one of the last living American WWI veterans. Whoa!
This blew us away. The war of our parents generation was Vietnam. The war of our grandparents generation was the Korean conflict (my grandfather was a Navy veteran). World War I seemed impossibly long ago, back beyond the furthest grainy black and white reaches of our imaginations.
The next day, she brought in a photo of an earnest-looking young man in uniform and held it up next to a snapshot of him in his chair in a nursing home. He was in his late nineties, I think. We scrutinized the two photos carefully…it was definitely him. She let us look at his medals (no touching, of course). I think she was touched that we were so interested. She pulled down the map of Western Europe and showed us all of the places he fought.
It was our first brush with living history from that long ago.
Shocked, to say the least. I was taking a class at a small college. The course was business marketing taught by a very pleasant soft-spoken prof. You had to sit in the first 3 rows just to hear him. He wore glasses and stood about 5 feet 6. He was also diabetic. He revealed that to us when he told us he bought as many cases as he could before the artificial sweetener in 1970 was being banned. He was knowledgeable about marketing and the course was entertaining as well as challenging.
No shock so far.
The local newspaper at the time, as well as the police, were bewildered by a series of bank robberies. Seems a bespectacled soft-spoken robber had robbed 3 banks in about 3 weeks. No suspects!
We didn’t think about the bank heists…just normal news in a city that gets it share of crime.
Until…the class met for the usual Tuesday morning lecture.
Guess who wasn’t there? Yep. Seems our professor was the perp. We found out a few weeks later that he just wanted to see if he could get away with it.
Always made me wonder.
Our class was horrible. We were notorious for being loud, crazy, disruptive, and generally doing no work. This poor teacher had our class two years in a row. She was very old, maybe 75. I remember one student counting all the wrinkles on her arm. Every other week, this teacher would put her head in her arms on the table while us kids would run amok. Other teachers were much more stern with our class, but she was very gentle and would even laugh at our stupid antics sometimes. Our nickname for our teacher was Aarons Jacket because she would frequently wear a jacket with a random phrase sewn onto it that said something like Aaron is going there. What a beautiful day (Who was Aaron and where was he going?)
So when we found out that Aarons Jacket had been in beauty pageants when she was (much) younger, we were definitely shocked. She even showed us black-and-white photos of her pageant days. Of course, she was beautiful and almost unrecognizable as she was very old at the time.
Did we start behaving in class and acting respectfully towards her? You bet we didnt. No teacher was exempt from our madness. I doubt, in her young and beautiful years, that she would have ever imagined herself, in the future, trying to teach Japanese to a set of undisciplined monkeys. Looking back, I feel so sorry for her. We probably aged her by 10 years.
A teacher at high school who taught philosophy of life (basically about religions and their customs) announced that he had one glass eye. I believe there was a slight difference between his eyes if you looked closely, but you wouldnt suspect a glass eye if he didnt tell you. However, if you sat in front of him on the right side, he would not be able to see you. Of course, he would in principle, but that was sort of his blind spot. I would often sit there and draw—unnoticed.
One afternoon in high school we heard some commotion behind our classroom.
Everyone in all classes in that block peeped out of the window. Two of our female teachers were fighting; pulling on each other’s hair, cursing and screaming. Soon it was clear that one was accusing the other of being a husband-snatcher. They were both married.
Two male teachers saw them and ran to separate them. They were then guided to the staff room.
When my Mom was 16, she traveled to NYC for a school trip. The class was walking around Central Park and were told they could have some time off until they would go back to the hotel together in the afternoon. When my mother asked the teacher whether he had some advice as to where to go, he got a visitor guide to NYC out of his pocket and handed it to her.
She started leafing through the booklet until she noticed handwritten comments in a margin. As she thought these were notes, she tried to find the page again, only to find the names and phone numbers of girls working at the listed escort services.
After the teacher walked out of the hotel that evening, she could never look at him the same way again.
Vicky van der Zee
My science teacher when I was twelve in my first year of high school was in charge of the schools kayaking program and helped to train my friends. I later found out that he went to the Commonwealth Games for kayaking, and was so good he won multiple medals. Whoa!
A boy in my class asked my science teacher what he did with the medals, did he display them on his mantlepiece, or frame them on the wall, or keep them in a special chest, only for his eyes, to perhaps be passed on as a family heirloom.
Instead, my science teacher just shrugged and said:
I think I threw them out.
Needless to say, there were a lot of open mouths in the lab.
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