Being a teacher is definitely anything but easy. However, these teachers share the moments where their students shocked them with the words that came out of their mouths.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
“You Can’t Tell, You Can Never Tell”
“A few years ago, we had a kid in our district commit suicide. He was at the magnet school, so a lot of the kids in my class had grown up with him, lived near him, and knew him quite well despite not going to school with him.
We got the news the night it happened. We came in early the next day to have a meeting. We had to figure out a way to explain to our kids that an 11-year-old boy was so sad he decided the only option was to kill himself.
Honesty is the best policy, so after calling parents and getting the okay, we talked to all our kids together during our first period. For the most part, they handled it with maturity and empathy. The discussion turned to how we can help our friends and what signs to look for when someone is sad.
One of my kids said, ‘You can’t tell, you can never tell. I couldn’t tell my dad until he was gone.’
I found out from a counselor that my student had found his father after the man killed himself with a shot to the head.”
Her Three Wishes Broke This Teacher’s Heart
“It was my first day as an elementary guidance counselor, walking a second grader to my office to talk to her because her teacher said she wouldn’t pay attention in class. As we were walking, I asked, ‘If you could have three wishes, what would they be?’
She said, ‘I wish my daddy didn’t go away. I wish that lady didn’t get shot dead next door last night. And I wish I could get a job so my mama’s car wouldn’t get possessed.’
I knew I couldn’t counsel her into paying attention any time soon, so I just took her to my office and let her draw me pictures for a while and talk about whatever she felt like sharing.”
She Saved Her With Words
“‘If it wasn’t for you, I’d be dead now.’
I’ll name this student ‘S.’ S was suicidal the day before, had a plan and everything. I was in the hall at the end of the day and stopped to chat with her. We talked for about 10 minutes about her day, and then she walked away. Nothing out of the ordinary.
It turns out that conversation was enough to give her reason to live one more day. We talked every day about basically nothing to keep her going until we could get her help.
I’ll never forget her face or the look she gave me when she said that. I cried like a baby.”
This Teacher Helped Remind This Poor Student He Was Unique And Beautiful
“I was a brand new high school teacher in a rough part of town. It was my first year teaching Math, and I thought I could make a difference. I was naive and thought that with enough patience and understanding, I could break through some of the kids and help them pass high school, and maybe even go to college. Well, I had a particularly troubled student, his name was Daniel. He was bullied because he was poor and gay. It broke my heart seeing him try to express himself artistically with his art and his clothes because some cruel bully would always tear his pages out and rip them up. Nothing infuriated me more than seeing no one doing anything, and that no one cared besides myself. Even the principal didn’t care.
There was one day where he told me something I will never forget. ‘It’s okay if they pick on me or call me names, because I know one day I’ll be successful, and that I’m beautiful. You remind me a lot of my dad. He always took time to ask about my day. Well, I’ll see you next year, you’ve helped me when no one would.’
Sadly, he didn’t return the following school year, but I’ll always remember you, Daniel.”
“B Is Missing”
“I got a call from a student telling me that ‘B’ was missing, and they were going to start searching on the outskirts of town. She’d gone running and hadn’t come home.
We all met in her neighborhood and divided into search teams. A couple hours later, we got the call to meet a central location.
The same kid who had called walked over to me and told me they had found her body. It was one of my saddest experiences as a teacher. I had to call each kid in our class of 18 and tell them the news.
I found out later that a young man who had recently graduated hit her with a car, violated her, and beat her to near death. He then left her in a creek to die.”
Her Advice To Another Student Definitely Showed Some Red Flags
“This year I trained to be a high school English teacher from January to April. I was placed in a school within an area of poverty and was told to be prepared to see some terrible behavior.
As the school didn’t have an employed drama teacher, English teachers were required to do two hours of it a week, even though we had no idea what we were doing.
After some Googling, I found a lesson plan that linked well with ‘Macbeth,’ the Shakespeare play we were studying. The starter activity required the students to make a freeze frame on ‘what it means to be a man.’ One student, in particular, got down on her hands and knees and started doing a push-up variation position.
Another one of my 13-year-old students came over to her and told her ‘That’s a sick position for fooling around, I only ever do it in the butt, so I don’t get pregnant.’ All the kids just looked at me waiting for my reaction. I told her to go and wait outside until I had the chance to speak to her. I reported to safeguarding the second the lesson was over. She continued to tell me other stories about how she ‘couldn’t wait for her boyfriend to get out of jail because she was gagging for a shagging.’
Her mom didn’t want her as a toddler, so she gave her up for adoption. She was an addict. The girl’s sister fostered her but also didn’t want her. There’s no wonder she is the way she is.”
A Dark Family Past
“I was walking a kid out to student pick up, and out of the blue he said, ‘I like my new daddy better than my old daddy.’
‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Why is that?’
‘Because my old daddy tried to kill my mom. And also me. But it’s okay! He’s in jail now and my new daddy is much nicer.'”
She Didn’t Realize How Close She Was To A Life-Threatening Situation
“I teach in an English as a Second Language program. I had a cute, petite Japanese woman as a student once. She told us about her first trip outside of Japan, to somewhere in Southeast Asia. She was walking down the street, and some people in a van tried to talk to her, but she ignored them because she didn’t know them. She told me she was polite to them, but they kept trying to get her into the van and told her they would be her friend. Then they tried to grab her, but at that moment her friends arrived, and the van drove off. She was confused as to why the people in the van wanted her to get into it and wanted to be her friend. I just stared at her and was thinking, ‘Girl, you almost got kidnapped into human trafficking.’ She didn’t seem to realize.”
A Hoarding Situation Was Quite Disturbing
“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 was walking him to his locker to look for an assignment that I knew that I had given him before, and I caught a whiff of this nasty smell – big surprise – it was his locker. I opened 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 stone-faced, ‘To dip the bugs in.’
Never sure what happened to this kid when he left, but that was the most disturbing for me.”
A Fight Every Day To Survive This Nightmare School
“I teach in a Title 1 school district, which is in an urban, poor neighborhood. I hear stuff all the time that I probably should regard as shocking, but honestly, I guess I’ve grown accustomed to it. A couple of examples that come to mind:
- Juniors pregnant with their second kid.
- Students who deal with homelessness. I guess I come across as someone easy to open up to because they launch into full stories about where they have been staying, and how they have get fed. Thank God for Title 1 schools receiving free breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- I have to deal with students cursing at anyone and everyone for anything. Example, Me: ‘Good morning!’ Student: ‘Eff you, See-You-Next-Tuesday, you don’t know me. Get out of my face.’
- I deal with a lot of girl fights that are horribly violent and bloody. They will rip chunks of hair out of each other’s scalps with skin still attached. They will gouge faces with their nails. And they do not care if you are the person they are fighting or a teacher trying to break them up, they will keep fighting that way.”
Years Later, This Teacher Is Still In Disbelief Over What They Witnessed
“After 12 years in an inner-city school, a few things come to mind.
Yesterday, when discussing the physical appearance of justice, I compared her to Lady Liberty and the Statue of Liberty. I asked one student, ‘Have you ever been to the Statue of Liberty?’ Her response ‘No, I’m not going all the way to Canada,’ I just stared. I teach in Connecticut. The whole class was in shock. The best part was when her friend came back from the bathroom, and she asked him the question. He said ‘Yeah, it’s like on the border between New York and New Jersey, isn’t there some kind of issue about who owns it?’
I had a junior who believed mermaids were real, which took 10 minutes of convincing her otherwise.
In my second year of teaching, I was 25 and had seniors. One was 17 and pregnant. After Christmas break, she came back excited that she was going to marry the baby’s father. The father was a 30-year-old clerk at a deli. I looked her dead in the eyes and said without thinking, ‘Wow he is 30? I’m only 25, that is weird.’
I then realized it may have come out the wrong way. She got quiet, and, at that moment, I think she realized it wasn’t normal. I had a ‘you’re kind of messed up’ tone.”
Life “Isn’t Really A Level Playing Field Sometimes”
“I teach young people in a not so great area who, in my eyes, have ‘failed to launch.’
I had a 16-year-old girl who was being blackmailed into doing intimate favors for a 20-something guy she met online, who offered her money for videos of herself and another girl ‘doing things.’ She said she thought it was real because he showed her the cash via Snapchat. She also said they were just fake ‘doing stuff’ but he would post it all online unless she did what he said. Poor child. We went straight to the police station.
I also had the revelation that one student was about to testify against her schizophrenic mother’s ex-boyfriend who repeatedly abused her. This was only when she was back home from being farmed out to foster care.
I also learned my star student was living in a house with not enough resources for more than one bed, so she and her friend had to take turns sleeping.
It’s not a level playing field sometimes.”
This Student’s Summer Plans Sounded Anything But Fun
“When discussing what students want to do during their summer breaks, a student spent a good 15 minutes telling us how he would like to go into the woods with a friend on a long hike until the other person was turned around and lost, and then walk away, leaving them. He then detailed the many terrible things that could happen to his friend if he did so. It was brutal, detailed, and thoroughly planned.
I’m not the primary teacher, just a support teacher, so I defer to the primary teacher most of the time. This was one of the few times I felt so uncomfortable with what was going on that I put an end to it first. I’m not sure if she just wasn’t listening after having heard 12 other students talk, or if she was stunned into silence.”
They Didn’t Even Get To Enjoy A Childhood In This Neighborhood
“I used to teach at a super messed up, inner-city school. In my first year of teaching, I overheard one of my second graders say, ‘Don’t drop the soap!’ I interjected and said, ‘You shouldn’t say that. You don’t know what that means.’ Usually, I wouldn’t tell a kid what he or she does or doesn’t know. I sure did hope a 7-year-old did not know what that meant though!
The next thing I know, my second grader was cracking up and cheerfully saying, ‘Duh, Miss S, that means you’ll get it in the butt if you’re in jail!’ He was not trying to be defiant at all. He seemed surprised it was inappropriate and perhaps may have wondered if I knew what it meant.
I realized how messed up that community was at that point. No childhoods at all for those kids. He was a sweet boy. I hope he is doing well.”
To This Teacher, This Piece Of “Good” News Didn’t Sound So Good
“While student teaching, I had one of my dramatic juniors drop a bomb on me: ‘I’m pregnant.’ I asked her if this was good news or bad news. She told me it was good news, as the dad was 21, was going to help raise the kid, and he loved her. Taking her words as such, I asked her what he did for a job. Her reply, ‘He’s a dealer but only handles Xanax.’
She ended our conversation by asking me not to tell her parents as she hadn’t told them yet. Yep, sure sounded like some good news to me.”
A Premonition Too Terrible To Be True
“I had a student last year who was different. He didn’t get along with other kids and kept mostly to himself. We communicated well when he was in the mood to interact. One day, at dismissal, I walked my students to their buses, and he suddenly stopped and yelled, ‘It’s going to be so funny when that baby dies!’
It creeped me out, but I asked him, ‘Sweetheart, what are you talking about?’ He responded with, ‘That baby in your family!’
I put him on his bus and let him go home. The next morning, I got a call at work from my sister telling me that she had had a miscarriage. I don’t talk about my family in detail to my students, and I know I never mentioned my sister or her baby to that student. Maybe it was just a weird coincidence but it still gives me the heebie-jeebies when I think about it.”
Her Cautionary Tale Might Save Another Female Student’s Innocence
“I’m a professor. One girl gave a speech in class about how at 18, a Marine bought her 13 shots. She had never had a drink in her life. She then finished her story with how she was violated. It was powerful and heartbreaking. She hadn’t even been with anyone else before. She said no one besides the police and her mom knew the story, and that she thanked us for listening. She wanted to tell someone and felt comfortable in my speech class. The class ended with giving all the girls in my class advice on being careful at parties.”
Her Story Included Life-Changing Events That No One Seemed To Care About
“My first year teaching, I had the high schoolers sharing some personal writing. Kids were encouraged to write from the heart, and we’d all sit in a circle and share.
This girl went into this story about how her boyfriend got her blackout wasted, then videotaped him and his friends taking advantage of her.
As she read this out loud to the class, I was thinking about my responsibilities as a ‘mandatory reporter.’ My job is on the line if I don’t take stuff like this to a counselor immediately.
Then she went on to explain how the boyfriend woke her up and made her watch the video of her getting violated. She called up an ex, who came over and shot the guy in a place where he couldn’t do what he did again.
After she shared this masterpiece, I searched for clues that this was all in the past, something she had told others before, and all these psychos had been locked up. She said, ‘nope,’ and made it seem like it this was the first time she had told anyone. I took her writing to a counselor.
The next week, I got called into a meeting for her. I expected this long report about intimate abuse, mental stability, and stuff, but her dad just wanted to make sure her grades were ok.”
They Let A Real Psychopath Into This School
“Two years ago, I got a kid mid-year, which usually isn’t a big deal. His papers came in and it turned out he had been in juvenile lockup, and he was coming from their alternative education program. Ok, that’s a new one, but I’m sure he’s ok now.
The student came in with a shaved head and those tired eyes that come with a sleepless night. Ok, kind of odd, but let’s see how he does. He came in on a lab day and joined a group of some wannabe gangsters who didn’t do anything. By the end of the lab, they had not only done the lab but were quiet and collaborative the entire time. This kid was a motivator. He was great!
The next day, they had another lab, and the kid was with the same group. Five minutes after the warm-up was on screen, one of the boys came to me and asked if he could be moved to another group. I asked him what was wrong and said they did a great job the previous day. He lowered his voice and the tough guy persona dropped and I saw a scared little boy. ‘That new kid is a legit demon, and the other guys want away from him too.’
I was concerned, but I couldn’t move them anywhere else since it was a full class that day, so I apologized and told them to try to get to know him, and I would be close the entire time.
Fast forward a week, and this kid was known schoolwide, and even the REAL gang members avoided him. It turned out he was in juvenile detention for setting fire to his family’s apartment that spread and killed his elderly neighbor. There was also evidence of him torturing animals, and he had been abusive to his mom and younger brother. Being 13, he couldn’t go to jail, so he went for the max time in juvie (two years), and was released on parole. Apparently, as part of it, he couldn’t be around fire.
On top of scaring the kids, he would often make advances on the female teachers and follow them to their cars. He even jerked off in one of their classes while looking right at them. He turned his attention on me when I nudged him to wake up in class and told him to get off his phone. This guy followed me to my car every day for a week and would leave threatening notes and obscene pictures on my windows after I got there in the morning.
The administration didn’t do anything in all this.
It took another week of dealing with this guy before they caught him trying to bring a knife to school and that was grounds to suspend him for a few days. When he came back, he tried it again but this time tried pulling it out and threatening one of the security guys to let him in. He got tased and arrested, and we all were glad when he didn’t come back.
Last I heard, he was somewhere in west Texas, his mom was still under his thumb and his little brother had been in the hospital twice for ‘bumps and bruises.'”