Teachers are heroes, and are heartbreakingly undervalued in our culture. But even the best of them can't get through to everyone - especially kids, who are notoriously mean.
JuniperJumps asked teachers of Reddit: What's the worst thing a student has ever said to you?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
What a bleak outlook.
That it was pointless for them to do any work because people like them never did anything good with their lives and they were ever going to be able to achieve anything good.
That breaks my heart, if they honestly believe it.
As an educator, kids come to you with all kind of beliefs. My job is to help them build a different understanding of the world around them.
There are some sickos out there.
That she was actively trying to get pregnant with her 20-something year old boyfriend. And that her parents liked him and wanted her to get pregnant because he had a good job. She wanted a baby to love. I was subbing in a seventh grade class.
Had to make a few CPS calls for that.
Damn. I was thinking maybe junior or senior in high school, and that's bad enough. But seventh grade??? So glad you did your job and reported it!!!
Talk about a low blow...
I'm a student, but this is what I heard once, a girl asking the bio teacher 'how many miscarriages will it take before you finally have a baby?' She had had two miscarriages, just cruel.
That's so f*cked up... Hope she's doing okay.
"Your class is bunk."
Really, that's the worst. I teach in a title 1 school.
I love working at title 1 schools! In my area most title 1 schools have a high proportion of mexican students, and that means there's definitely going to be a lady there who sells tamales after school. Praise be to tamale lady.
Witnessed this exchange between a 7th grader and his teacher:
Student: "Are you pregnant?"
Teacher: (obviously horrified) "No."
Student: "Oh. Well, it looks like you are."
Twist: male teacher.
My sister walked up to me one day and said, "You look like you are pregnant, but you're not."
Wonder whom he voted for?
I'm not a teacher, but at a graduation at 16, I witnessed one of the boys going up to a teacher he'd always been a little sh*t to (and she had a reputation as a harsh teacher, but I'm not sure if I'd think that now 10 years later), and open his arms and ask her for a hug, after all, it was his graduation day.
I swear the teacher was nearly in tears because the moment was so sweet, and when she went in for the hug he just goes "Sike!! You really thought b!tch?!"
The look on her face was heartbreaking.
What an absolute dickweed. Those sorts of moments can make an entire sh!tty year worth it for a teacher.
Oh yeah, he really was.
He was always one of those "edgy" kids, but apparently he also later joined one of those "patriotic" anti-immigration neo-nazi groups that "just want to protect our women" and then prowl in towns trying to look real tough.
His picture was even in some foreign magazine's online article about the group.
Not to me, but my principal. "F*ck you, you racist piece of Klan robe wearing piece of sh*t."
My principal is the nicest, mildest man you could possibly imagine. He's the complete opposite of a racist piece of sh*t.
Current education student. One of my professors said that she (a white woman) once sent a student (a Mexican-American boy) to the office, and he immediately replied with "You hate me because I'm Mexican!" Her response was an immediate "No, I hate you because you're a jerk."
Not sure how well that would go over now, lol, but she was a very assertive teacher who was had in very high regard. Even in the time period not just anyone could get away with that.
Well I briefly was an adjunct at a law school teaching some basics of Estate Planning, and a student told me that they didnt care.
I'd worked so hard to try and be engaging, to be honest and novel in my approach, and just seeing that student's blank face as they scrolled along on the internet while I was trying to teach, was pretty depressing.
But I had Gregg, who was the sweetest, most engaged, elderly guy I've ever met.
So Gregg evened sh!t out for me.
I can see how that would be frustrating. At the same time, my law school required a 4 hour course on income tax. I did not learn anything about income tax law, but I did have the best fantasy football team ever that semester.
Ouch - 4 hours on income tax? I got my LLM in Tax, and even I think that's brutal!
This is a failure of both society and parenting.
To me? That they would murder my infant son for a dollar. Various plan to try and get me fired. Various racist comments. Long discussions from students about time they've served in jail, their drug experiences, and what crimes give what times. Screaming violent threats to the entire classroom. Various girls planning to be prostitutes after they drop out of school. One girl asked me how to potty train her 5 year old brother since her mother is out clubbing all the time. I could go on, but I wanted to give a general idea of what I hear on a daily basis.
Inner city school? In my state, that's where they put all of the new teachers and teachers in training. Either that, or poor rural schools. Teachers fight for positions at suburban schools, but often have to "pay their dues" with IEC positions in the worst performing schools. Even when a teacher gets their B or A class certification, the deal is that they have to go to the worst schools for at least 2 to 3 school years. After that, they are free to pursue employment at any school they are qualified for.
Suburban middle class, unfortunately.
This is *super* specific.
I had a student write me that they hoped I get the bird flu and die, but before I die I infect my entire family, watch them die, and then die knowing that I was the one that killed them.
Was there any context to this, or was this totally out of the blue?
Student got caught plagiarizing (added dumbass factor, was they used my own published research).
If you get caught I have a very simple policy and process to manage this situation:
I assume you plagiarized because you got scared, variety of reasons, but scared nonetheless. So I begin by asking if you had problems with citations: You answer yes- we pretend like it never happened and I work with you to fix the assignment. We're both happy, I get to teach directly, you learn the material and we've both gain an ally.
You answer no- I show you the evidence, give the assignment a D, invite you to not come back to class for the rest of the semester, and you've earned yourself a D in the course. You choose to fight the D, fine- I'll file paperwork, provide evidence and I'll negotiate the grade with student services to a passing D. Like a STI, it's a gift that will keep on giving. Most higher education institutions will have the D average into your overall GPA and even if you repeat the course with another instructor.
Student fought the grade and said this to me and wrote it during the hearing when Student Services Dean and Student Advocate upheld the grade since I refused to change the grade to an F.
There are some things that are pretty much universally irritating: self important people, someone cutting you off in traffic, or those scam robocalls, for example.
Sometimes things that seem like they are only mildly irritating or inconvenient for others drive us up the wall, though.