Certain teachers have ways of doing things that aren’t exactly appropriate, and most students won’t realize it until years later.
Here are stories of things teachers did that students didn’t realize was messed up until years later.
1. Sound travels faster than light.
My 4th grade teacher taught us that sound travels faster than light. A kid called Brian asked, “But don’t you see the lightning before you hear the thunder?” I don’t remember what her response what, but she ended with “And that’s why sound travels faster than light.”
2. What an odd rule…
When I was in elementary school, our PE teacher had a policy that he didn’t share with us. Apparently, it was his rule that girls couldn’t wear skirts when we were in the gym. If you were wearing a skirt, he would get you to hoist it up to make sure we were wearing shorts underneath. Most girls were not wearing shorts underneath, and he knew it.
He did it to the girls, myself included, from kindergarten all the way up until fourth grade.
3. Fire safety? Suuure.
When I was in elementary my teacher wanted to show us a video about fire safety, but accidentally opened the wrong file. The whole grade of students cluelessly stared at one man and three girls in a hotel room for a few seconds before the teacher closed it.
4. What the?
When I was in 9th grade my Spanish teacher had us pick Spanish names. I chose “Jesus” but she refused to let me have that name, saying I looked like Antonio Banderas. So, my name was Antonio.
Whenever we would take quizzes or tests she’d walk the aisles, always stopping at me, resting her hip on my shoulder.
Then on a Monday, she had a black eye. Before class she and I were having a discussion about me turning in late homework. A fellow student comes in, goes to the teacher’s desk and says, “Ms. Blank! What happened to your eye?”
The teacher looks at the girl, looks at me, and replies, “Antonio and I got into a quarrel over the weekend and he hit me.”
5. One of many.
Third grade teacher placed all of the boys in class on time-out and had “tea time” with all the girls for 30 minutes once a week.
His reasoning, which he told us, was that “boys were mean bullies and girls are nice and should be rewarded.”
This is one of a dozen or so things that the parents all documented over the course of the year (his first year teaching). Ultimately he was fired.
My 5th grade teacher never let me go to the bathroom when it was apparent I had a UTI. I peed my pants every time and she never said or did anything about it.
7. Odd way of doing things.
After the Columbine incident, schools started to have all sorts of procedures set up in case of an active shooter incident. At my high school, we were taught if an announcement was made over the PA of a certain fake faculty member was to report to the main office, that was our cue to shelter in place and take shelter in the class rooms. Once a year we had the drill and every time it lasted about five minutes.
We had a teacher though that was just a little bit off. I had him for a class during 8th period of my junior year and as time went on, the whole class kind of figured he just was a very serious, quirky kind man. On one particular day, about ten minutes into class, he tells us all to get under our work stations because he heard the coded announcement. We all hid till the end of the period in our positions until the end of class bell rang. Our class room was at the end of the school and it was generally a quiet outside so we never questioned whether this was a drill or not.
This happened two more times during the year. We eventually just figured that he wanted to test us with his own drills.
Looking back on it and by talking to some of my former classmates, turns out he was faking active shooter drills to get the class to shut the hell up at the end of long days.
8. The duster-launcher
He used to launch blackboard dusters at students, with proper force. It’d leave a dust trail in the air.
You’d come in to class some days praying you wouldn’t get smashed by Hailey’s Duster.
He was physically abusive to one student in particular who had learning difficulties. The one time that sticks out most to me was when he grabbed said student by the neck, called him a pest and ignoramus (that was he favourite word I swear he said that 20 times a day) and slammed him on to his desk.
We came into class one day and the teacher wasn’t there. We had subs for the rest of the year and he never came back.
I learned years later that he himself had a breakdown and was now working as a public park attendant.
9. A recipe for disaster.
For me it was when my fifth grade teacher, during our unit on the Civil War, had us debate whether or not the south should secede. I know he was trying to get us to understand the economics of the war, but if you tell ten-year-olds to come up with reasons to justify keeping Black people enslaved, they will come up with some pretty awful things. I remember him pulling aside the one Black kid in our class afterwards to ask if he was okay to tell him our classmates didn’t really mean it.
10. This is awful.
In 8th grade we had a unit on the holocaust. Some students were chosen to be the Jews, and had to wear yellow stars, hide during off periods, and get treated pretty poorly by other students… This was all supposed to help kids understand how horrible it all was.
Didn’t realize until years later how messed up it was once I really thought about it.
11. Unfortunate story.
Grade four teacher spent days making our class memorize the lyrics to Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Trouble Water’ then had us sing it to her when she was stressed. Often multiple times a day. She was replaced a few weeks before the end of the school year. Years later we learned she had a mental breakdown – which was the reason she was replaced. She never taught again. Almost 30 years later and I still know that song by heart.
12. Don’t drink and teach.
My English teacher seemed like an ordinary guy to me in high school, only now that I’m an adult I realize he was drunk in most lessons. I heard he was fired after a few years of my graduation.
13. Levels of messed up.
I go to a private Christian school. When I was in 1st grade, my class performed the traditional “Thanksgiving Play” which reenacted the interaction between the pilgrims and Native Americans.. If you had dark hair and dark skin, you were a Native American. If you had light hair and light skin, you were a pilgrim.
We also sang a song that goes: “Ay-ay-ay-ay-ay, Indians say yo-ho!” And teachers would enforce dancing like a chicken.
Later in the song the Native Americans reply to the pilgrims with “Pale-face, YES!”
Also had a PE teacher who used to dress up every year as a “big baby” and he would hit people on the head and hit girls in the butt with his bottle. He got fired for writing love letters to students.
14. Can you not?
9th grade gym teacher told me “It’s okay if you sit out of running the mile. It must be hard to run with those melons.” I grew up with his daughter too so it was extra weird.
15. Not the right punishment.
I got caught with a small amount of weed at my high school. While waiting for my parents to come and get me, two teachers talked about bending me over and spanking me.
16. Burgers over anything.
My grade 7 shop teacher had a bottle of Pepsi that, depending on how late in the day shop class was, would get significantly less Pepsi colored. Shockingly, he only had 3 fingers on one hand.
My favorite story though was, a bunch of us were at the local burger shop (we were in High School at this point) and Mr L. came in. We got to asking him what he was up too now and he told us he was teaching at the local composite school Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. It was Tuesday at 2ish. When we mentioned this he grabbed his coat and ran out. He came back in 2 minutes later saying “Ah, screw those little brats.” And waited for his burger.
17. The ‘jar of punishments’
He 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, to speaking out of turn, to forgetting a pencil. The punishments all centered on public humiliation. And 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 sexual “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, and while he wasn’t fired the jar of punishments was gone the next year.
18. Red alert.
In middle school, I had a math teacher talk about statistics.
Somewhere in there, he said that statistically, 3 out of the 7 girls in the class will be strippers at some point in their lifetime. He even had a joke about how all the boys were probably hoping it would be Tina (the hottest girl in the class; not a real name). Everybody laughed. We were actually miffed/confused when he was fired later.
Looking back, all I can say is WOW, how did I miss how wrong that was?
19. There are no words for how awful this is.
In the 3rd grade we used to say the Pledge of Allegiance (USA) every morning before class. Then one day the teacher said that the Black students in the class didn’t have to get up and say the Pledge because ‘they weren’t really citizens.’ As a kid I was jealous of not having to do it every morning but as an adult I think it abhorrent. Mrs. Dubee if you’re reading this, then I’m surprised you’re alive, you racist animal.
20. No more mints.
In 7th grade, my algebra teacher got me some mints from Victoria’s Secret, because she knew I liked mints. (I don’t recall her buying anything for any of the other students.) She also bent over in front of me a few times and was wearing a thong. At the time I was sorta like, eh, whatever. Now it’s…just kind of weird to think about.
21. Not at ALL safe!
We had a teacher make us smell bleach to learn the difference between acids and bases. I got the question correct but my brain cells paid the price.
22. Channeling the devil?
Had my hand slapped with a ruler because I was channeling the devil while I drew, apparently. Thought I was a sinner so I learned to write with my right hand.
Thinking back on it, super messed up.
23. The old days were some weird.
I had a 2nd grade teacher (not my 2nd grade teacher, but she taught the other 2nd grade class in the adjacent classroom) who use to give students “birthday spankings”. Over her knee, and one spank for each year (so luckily we’re only talking 6 or 7 spanks). After the final spank, you’d get a pinch “to help you grow”.
Never got them myself, but saw it many times. At the time, didn’t think much of it. Hell, kids thought it was fun. Looking back on it now….well, damn. You can bet that wouldn’t fly these days.