From confidently believing that half of 50 is 0, to outright refusing to learn computer-related tasks in a computer class, teachers share the most ridiculous statements they’ve heard from students.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
I had a senior say she didn’t think it was “fair” (I’ve grown to hate that word by the way) that my exams used short answer questions instead of multiple choice. She said “some of us just aren’t good writers!” I responded that if you’re a senior in college and can’t string a few sentences together something has gone wrong. She stormed out of class.
I’m a second grade teacher. I have a boy who lies constantly, about anything. He was on camera, watching the footage of himself punching a student in the face and he crossed his arms and said, “If I didn’t do it then I didn’t do it.” The worst part is his mom believes every word he says and attacks the school for making him accountable for his actions. He’s going to do something as an adult and go to jail. When they pull him away I know he’s going to be yelling, “If I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it!
I taught Algebra and Algebra 2 in high school. One day, I was helping a student after school get ready for a proficiency test. We were working on a problem and he said to me, “Yeah, but half of 50 is 0, right?” I thought I had misheard him. I asked him to repeat it. He said with all sincerity, “Half of 50 is 0.” There was no guile, no hint of humor in his voice. He wasn’t trolling me. I gently corrected him and moved on. I was baffled.
Later on, another math teacher explained to me his thinking: “He was splitting the number vertically in his mind. Half of 50 = 5 | 0. So, one half is a zero.”
I quit that year. I don’t think like that. I can’t think like that. And I realized there was a whole group of students that I could never reach.
I had one student at a bilingual school in Mexico, who after being at this school and supposedly learning English for 5+ years, still couldn’t speak it and barely tried to make any effort to learn anything. Didn’t do assignments and failed almost every test. When we mentioned it to her parents, their attitude was that she doesn’t really need it because she will just marry someone who will take care of everything for her.
Incident number one: “Can we just not learn this? It’s hard. We should just skip it.”
Incident number two: “I don’t have to get good grades. My grandfather owns a house and when he dies, my family is going to sell it for a million dollars, so I won’t have to ever get a job.
I had a student say, “I don’t need to learn any of this, I won’t use it in real life.” When I tried to explain why math was going to be useful, he responded, “you’re an idiot, watch me get rich without even going to school.”
I mean sure it’s been done but probably not the best idea.
I had a first grader throw chairs and desks at me for about a week (after 2 months of horrific behavior that the parents and administration ignored), one hard enough to injure my knee, before I finally had enough video evidence for the principal to get involved. He (student) refused to speak to me at all. Eventually my co teaching partner got him to explain why he was doing it. “I just don’t like him.”
I feel bad for the kid. He has serious emotional problems. I don’t know if I’d say there is no hope left, because 1st grade is pretty young to write someone off. I hope he gets treatment.
High school teacher here.
“[student’s name], if you don’t start coming to class and doing the work, you’ll fail out of school.”
“School’s done nothing for me. I’m gonna rap to pay the bills, bro.”
Kid was an awful musician. Couldn’t make a beat. Couldn’t write a rhyme to save his life.
It’s not what they said; It’s what they didn’t say. I asked him to read out loud and he just stared at the paper. I soon found out that he read at a kinder level as a 5th grader.
Didn’t want to put in the work himself, instead just waited for someone to read it for him. His comprehension was there but he wanted everything spoon fed to him.
I teach lots of 7-9 year olds and quite often ask them to spell their names for me just so I get it correct for them (Rachel or Rachael etc.) but you wouldn’t believe just how many of these children don’t have a clue… I appreciate some may be dyslexic and that so I don’t expect ALL of them to know but just more surprised at such a high percentage!
“Okay I need you guys to name some countries for me, let’s make a list.”
I get a few examples and then “Africa!”
I proceed to explain the concept of a continent
“So wait, Africa is a country inside of a country? Like Tasmania is a country but it’s in Australia?”
Please keep in my that this was a grade 11 high school class.
English language teacher in Hong Kong. I was teaching them how to write a paper on causes and effects. I asked what some major causes of traffic were in Hong Kong.
“Mainlanders,” one student said, and numerous others nodded. I asked how most Mainlanders travel to Hong Kong, knowing the answer (the underground train). They said “the MTR”. They haven’t realized they’ve just discounted their own argument. “So if they come by the MTR, how can Mainlanders coming to Hong Kong affect the traffic?” Blank faces. Silence.
These are adults.
Had one teen girl claim her 5 year old brother was abused by his classmates in the toilet. We investigated it completely. There was no abuse.
Teen girl demanded we call the police on the other little kid. Then didn’t believe that
a) nothing happened
b) the kid is well below the age of criminal responsibility
c) if the kid did do something, we’d be looking at their family since that type of behaviour can mean abuse at home.
So what the story was, was that the young boys were in the toilet. The other boy was knocking on the boy in the toilets door, telling him to hurry up.
I teach Computer Science in university. I get alot of freshmen that plucked the major because they heard it was a high paying major, but don’t actually like the subject.
But the worst was a recent student that asked if they could just do the assignments by hand. They didn’t want to use a computer, they didn’t really like using them. “People use computers too much, I don’t start doing that.” Also thought computers could do too much, and wanted people to stop using them. This is a programming course. For computers. In a major about making computers do things. You are going to need to use a computer.
Needless to say, I told them this wasn’t probably the major for them…
I once had a student that was telling me about a camping trip he just got back from. He said that while he was in the woods, he found a tick on him. It was filled with blood. He then proceeded to tell me that he got the tick, threw it into a frying pan, and ate it! He said “mmm protein!” That’s when I realized there was no chance in hell for this kid. I still shake my head when I think about it.
When I first started teaching at this one community college, I created some group problems and one was a challenge problem. A girl said that she would drop if the class was going to be this hard and stayed afterwards for a little to patronize me on how to teach. I appreciate wanting to hear more examples but to be told “we don’t do things that way here” my mouth hit the floor. Being a younger teacher is not fun.
This is my second year being a high school chemistry tutor, and my first being an Algebra II tutor. My student this year is probably the least intelligent person at the school and really only got into the elite private school because her mother is a teacher there. I was teaching her dimensional analysis last week and I wanted her to convert miles to inches. I gave her 5280, but when I asked her how many inches were in a foot she put down her pencil, looked at me, and just said “Ummmmm.” I asked her how many inches were on a ruler, something she uses quite often for graphing and whatnot, and she said “I don’t know, I don’t have a ruler in front of me.
I had a student who was always acting up. I constantly tried talking to him about his behavior, and I wrote plenty of referrals. Through out all of this I would email and call his mother, but never got a response.
One day he was pacing around and texting someone. I told him to put his phone away and he said “I cant. Im not too happy right now,” so I said “Will you take it out to the hall and I’ll give you one minute?”
His response really shook me. He said “No, I’ll sit down. I just want my mom to turn the water back on.”
When all you know about a student is what you see in the classroom, it can be easy to forget they may not have a great home life. So I did wonder “Is there hope for him?” but it also wasn’t truly any fault of his own. He just had a terrible home life where he was stricken by poverty.
I had a student who was a hoarder. He was one of those kids that we all remember who had the backpack that was filled with everything for every class. It looked like this kid carried around a small grocery cart on his back. One day, I’m walking him to his locker to look for an assignment that I knew that I had given him before and I smell this nasty smell- big surprise- it’s his locker. Open it to find 89 cartons of chocolate milk stacked inside. That’s not all- on the floor he had a pretty large mason jar filled with what looked like dead bugs. I asked him why he had so much milk in his locker and he said, “To dip the bugs in.” Never sure what happened to this kid when he left, but that was the most disturbing for me.
Me: “What’s your plan? How are you going to graduate treating school the way you do?”
Student” “Oh I’m gonna graduate. If I don’t, I’ll just sell drugs and make that paper.”
Me: “What happens when you get caught?”
Student: “I won’t get caught. I’ve been running the streets as long as I can remember. It’s what I know.”
Student was expelled 3 times for violent behavior and our district office overturned it every time because of an IEP on file for her. The mother is afraid of her own child and has no control over her.
I work at an alternative school for kids kicked out of public school for severe emotional and behavioral issues. A lot of them are going to require government services for the rest of their lives. There’s usually not just one thing they say, but we know that they will never have normal lives.
It’s a little disheartening to hear a six year old scream that he’s going to kill you, especially when you were playing tag not five minutes before.
There’s a young boy who can be very sweet and is an adorable blonde butterball. However he has pretty severe behaviors and gets restrained at some point on a daily basis. I saw his parents one day because they live in government subsidized housing close by and walk him to school. It was 50 degrees out and the little boy was in a basketball jersey and shorts. His parents looked exactly how I expected them to look and were rude to all the staff they interacted with. It just showed me that no matter how much we do, he spends most of his life with his terrible parents.
I had one 4 year old who couldn’t hold a pencil. He couldn’t remember how to pick it up, and didn’t have the strength to push it down hard enough on the paper to get any leverage. He couldn’t color, had no motor skills whatsoever. He didn’t have a dominant hand. His parents liked to leave him at my learning center for an hour, even though he couldn’t use the bathroom on his own. He was 4 years old and didn’t have the slightest grasp of the alphabet, and couldn’t retain anything we taught him. It took a month to get him to count to 10.
My theory on all this is, on top of a learning disability/developmental delay his mom was in denial of, he was a natural lefty who was forced to use his right hand but, because of the disability, couldn’t, and ended up not developing any motor skills in either hand. Poor kid.
University professor here. A student last term never purchased the text book (and thus never did his homework), sat in the back and spaced out all class, failed one exam, and barely passed the other. He came to me during the final week of class to ask me if he could do all of his missed assignments and then asked why I didn’t remind him to do them.
This is university. I’m not chasing after you.
During lunch duty at a high school, had to ask a kid who had a bad rep to move (he pulled over an extra chair to a table, making it so you could not easily get around that area, which was a very clear rule in the school for fire safety reasons). He does, but moves back. I gently remind him again, and say if I see it again I’d have to write him up. He moves back for about 5 minutes. Then, frustrated he can’t hear his friends, looks at me, pulls his chair back to the table, hands me his ID and says, “I’m going to jail anyways.”
Took his ID to get his name (which I already knew), thanked him for cooperating, and then left him alone.
He was in a fight a month later, had to be taken down by 3 school cops, and taken out of school in cuffs.
The students where I teach are… challenging. It’s a rural community of about 2500 people. Lots of troubles at home, and about 95% of all the students straight up don’t care.
One girl was on her fourth attempt of science 10, and was again getting zero because she does nothing and rarely shows up. She was in my class again this year but she decided to do adult basic instead because she will be 18 soon. She failed that too.
Another girl gets high every lunch and comes to class blitzed out of her skull. Just staring blankly at the paper. Called her parents but it turned out it was them who smoked pot with her that lunch hour.
One teacher here is severely allergic to perfume. One kid brought some to school and sprayed it in her face. She was in the hospital for almost a week, barely able to breathe.
Ahh, Monday will be fun.
I work with a second grader who has three new boyfriends a week. Not in a cute innocent way, but a seriously messed up and inappropriate way. She wears really scandalous outfits and walks around sticking her butt out. She goes around telling boys she wants to kiss them and they’re all in love with her. She’s started seeking out the quiet, innocent girls in her class and convincing them to go tell boys that they like them. She glares at us to wait until we’re not looking to talk to the younger kids (kinder and first grade) about really inappropriate subjects. She’s always watching me because she knows I know what she’s up to and will wait until I turn my back to whisper gross things to kids. We talk to her parents every week about her being inappropriate and discussing relationships and sexual things with other students. It’s no surprise that her young, good looking mom or her boyfriend who is at least 10 years younger than her don’t talk to her about it. I knew she was going to end up 16 and pregnant when she said “Miss, do you have a boyfriend?” When I responded no she says “I know why you don’t have a boyfriend, boys don’t like you. They like me though. This week I’m dating three boys and they all want to kiss me.” She makes me cringe.
High school teacher here. Recently had something valuable stolen from my classroom. The student who stole it did it after school hour and was caught on video clearly walking into my room then leaving with the item not long after. The principal and I pulled her aside and asked if she stole it, she said no. Showed her the video of her doing it, still denied it. Brought mom in, mom said she didn’t do it. Showed mom the video of her daughter clearly walking out of my room with it, still denied it. Told them her daughter was going to face an expulsion hearing (not her first offense) if she didn’t apologize, return the item and come up with a solution on how she was going to make it right. Both still claim she didn’t do it, her expulsion hearing is tomorrow….
I understand that you always want to believe your child, but the video is crystal clear and we are offering you an out if you admit to what you’ve done and make it right. Still nope. Kids need to know there are repercussions for their actions and not just blindly defend everything they have ever done. But yet when this story gets told from mom, this school has it out for her daughter and she has done nothing wrong.
My wife told me this story about a time she was lecturing a kid on why he should try to do well in school. She asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up… his response I want to be in jail. Thats where my dad and uncle are. She had no response. Probably the only time in here career that she was left speechless by a student.