Kids are smart. Some of them are scary smart - like kindergarteners who can do times tables, or elementary school students who can do long division in their heads. Let's hope these people end up running the world someday.
eaquino03 asked teachers of Reddit: What is your "this student is so smart it's scary" story?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
50. Two Second TurnaroundGiphy
Had a kid that was about 5 years old... he was a bit disruptive in class. So I figured I'd shut him up for a bit. I asked him to add all numbers from 1 to 100. "That'll keep him quiet for a few minutes."
To my surprise, he answered almost instantly, 2550. "It's just 51 x 100 / 2"
I think he went on to create something that eliminated matrices or something.
49. Moving Too Fast
Not a teacher but during one of my calculus courses in college, some kid (around 17 years old, I was 23 then) was part of the same class but he was still in high school.
He was a foreign student and was on a scholarship. Said he was from a poor background and his scholarship would be immediately revoked by the sponsors if he didn't get any single A-. Mind you, my school proffers a bell-curve grading system.
We were sorry to hear this but he followed laughing saying "but A- is really easy to get. It would be so embarrassing not to get it."
In my third year I met him again. This time he was a year 1 college freshman doing a year 3 module which had at least 3 prerequisite modules to partake first.
48. I'm The Nightmare
I actually had a teacher (eventually) say that about me, to my face. She was a very experienced teacher (and a good one too) who taught my senior year AP English class. When we did the beginning of the year practice AP test I apparently got the best score that she's ever seen on the first day of class. She later told me that she knew from that moment that I was going to be an absolute nightmare....
And she was right.
47. Portable Inventions
I knew a kid that built a computer to where he could carry it as a backpack and easily just pull it around and play some games. Idk. It was cool.
46. Keep Me Mouth Shut
Not much of a teacher, but there was a peer that sat next to me (this was in 6th grade by the way.)
He had helped so much of his other colleagues on their math, English, etc. And kept scoring nearly 100% on each math tests, my friend told me he had an IQ of the unknown, probably a high schooler or something (I can't remember. ) Besides all that, he decides to misbehave and literally get a tracking form every time he had inhaled. Disappointing, I feel bad both for the guy and all of the teachers that had to deal with his bull crap. I feared, being in class with him, that he might 1 up me for making a stupid remark.
45. A Language All My Own
Not a teacher but, my older brother with autism was able to create his own language with numbers at the age of five. My parents told me about how he coordinated each of the 26 letters with the corresponding number and would write full paragraphs with numbers. That in itself wouldn't be completely buzzard except for the fact that he was able to write full comprehensible paragraphs at the age of 5. Oh, and I forgot to mention that he was mute up until the age of 11. So yeah. Couldn't talk, but wrote in numbers.
On a more relatable mention, he also beat Sekiro the video game in 2 days the week of release. Autism is an interesting phenomenon.
44. Young And Still Smart As Heck
Well, I'm 11 currently and my mom has recently told me that I taught myself how to read when I was 4 when she was sick and she couldn't speak. I have always been a curious type and I like asking questions, but I couldn't get answers from asking my mom. So what do I do? Figure out how to read so I can look it up on Google.
43. Fast And Smart
I am not a teacher, I am a student. I would not consider myself scary smart. I had a physics final which took about 2 hours. Someone in my class asked the teacher if anyone in the class before me had aced it. Nobody did. I finished the test in 4 minutes and 46 seconds. I had aced it. I think I set a new record at the school.
42. Compare And Rejoice
My son was like this! I didn't even realize it was so impressive until his sister didn't talk like he did, and the doctor said she actually was advanced in her vocabulary. Now he's 3 and still amazing me. I know I'm screwed when he gets older, because he's definitely smarter than me.
41. A Memorized History
Not a teacher but an adult with a lot of really young cousins. I was hanging out with my 8 year old cousin one day at a party (I was keeping an eye on him so his dad could go get him some food) and then this kid he just starts talking to me about dinosaurs. Not like a usual 8 year old talking about how he likes a T-Rex cuz it's big or something.
Like he starts talking like a paleontologist using all of the dinosaurs scientific names, telling me which ones lived at the same times as other dinosaurs and which ones didn't. Telling me what their diets were and cool facts about things that are special about the individual species. It was like a college lecture about the history of dinosaurs but from an 8 year old. It was wild. And he would get very flustered when other adults would try and relate it to the Flinstones because the Flinstones has it all wrong and it bothers him.
40. Not Cheating, Just SmartingGiphy
Reporting from the student side: I loved mathematics as a kid, and my grandpa was great at doing all kinds of calculations in his head - naturally, I've learned a lot from him.
Multiplications, divisions(were my favorite), squaring(and some cubing), and square roots. All this I've learned from grandpa, somewhere between 5 and 7, much of that in my head.
Teachers have asked more than once How do you know this? Where do these numbers come from? Some didn't believe I could actually do this without writing down anything but the result, they said I need to write down how I calculated to believe I wasn't cheating.
I ran through all the mathematics problem sheets that were meant for grade 1-4(Austrian school, 5-10y/o) in a little more than half of grade 1. Eventually ended up making my own ones.
39. Way Ahead Of Ya
Not a student, but a member of the University faculty. I teach an advanced mathematics course in a New England University. At the beginning of the semester I posed a problem on the board, that with the accumulation of the year's teachings, students would be able to comprehend at the end of the semester.
Fast forward a few days into the semester and I see this faculty member in the class cleaning the boards, or so I thought. Before I could correct him, he had left the room and i found that he had actually solved the problem.
38. Intelligence Is Contagious
A kid was playing with a rubic's cube in the yard. I decide to see if I can't teach him how to solve one. He listens, observes, and a week later he can solve it faster than I ever could.
Another week later, he has a 2x2x2 and is figuring out how to solve it.
Another week later, he has a 4x4x4 and understands that it's harder because it doesn't have unmoving bits.
Another week later, he's got a 5x5x5.
Now, it's spreading, and half the class have cubes.
37. 2nd Grade Life, 6th Grade Brain
I teach preschool special education. I was talking with the class about space and our solar system. A child who cannot read yet raised his hand and said "if the sun is called sol, then that's why it's called a solar system? Because the planets go around the sun?" I was like yes! It is! And he continued "so, solar panels are called solar because they collect the sun? Interesting." I was surprised at his connection and said "yes! And you will get a book to take home today all about the solar system." He returned the next day and had memorized all the names of the planets, their distance from the sun and each other, and the times it would take a rocket to reach his planet. We stumbled into his "niche". He is now in 2nd grade but goes up to 6th grade for science class.
36. Boy And Boyfriend
Not a teacher, but growing up there was a boy in my class who was super far ahead of everyone because his mom (who didn't have a job, but was a typical rich mom) would buy text books and teach him advanced things at like age 9. He moved in 6th grade and I haven't seen him since.
My boyfriend is also a genius. He's an extremely fast learner, shoot, he can learn a lot in a little time. Sometimes when I'd have trouble with math homework I'd call him and read the problem to him, then he would give me the answer and explain how to do it. The only times he can't help are in classes that he's never taken, even then he can read my text book and explain everything to me.
35. Born To Prosecute
One of my friends joined an interschool law competition a few years ago. Basically, the teams were given a case, chose their roles and had a trial a few weeks later. He was 11, and most of them were 16/17. He was prosecution lawyer, and persuaded the magistrates towards the ONLY guilty verdict of the day.
34. Future Tech
I had a little guy in my PreK class who was scary smart. Now all of these kids were bright. They were doing US 1st to 3rd grade materials at the age of 4 as Korean ESL students. But Andy had an eidetic memory.
We were discussing the concept of parades, a spelling word that week. Parades aren't really a thing in Korea like they are in the US or Canada. I've only ever seen them at the larger amusement parks. So we were watching a video clip of the Macy's Day Parade. Before I can say anything, Andy perks up and exclaims, "That's the Macy's day parade from 2007! I was there!" And proceeds to tell us about each up coming float (got each one right). He would have been between 1-2 years old at the time.
He was a sweet kid, he loved to debate upcoming technologies and was obsessed with cell phones. I often wonder what he's up to now.
33. Chugga Chugga...Whoah
Not a teacher. Once had a job in a railway where I was qualified in, and most of my duties surrounded, the signal panel inside the station.
A friend and her 5yo visited. The 5yo watched me work the panel for ten minutes and described ALL the moves possible including the ones we only used once or twice a year.
Not a teacher but there is this one kid in my class that knows more than my teachers, so whenever the teacher gets something slightly incorrect, the student makes sure to tell everyone, and the look of the teachers face is priceless.
31. Quick Math
Had a dude in my primary school (UK) and in year 4 (around 8-9 years old) he suddenly was able to tell you what day of the week you was born on if he knew your date of birth.
30. So BoredGiphy
Not a teacher, but when bf was in elementary school, principal pulled his parents into her office and told them that he was above IQ for his age (and also an 'I know more than you' little jerk. He told his parents that "he will always be right, and will be extremely stubborn about proving you wrong. We have programs for these types of kids, and it's considered to be a disability". He proceeded to gain a reputation of the kid who slept in class, got called on by the teacher, looked at the board, and got up and corrected the teacher's work. A total nightmare.
I like to pretend I'm so smart that my school didn't know what to do with me but in reality I know that my school is just absolute garbage.
I got invited to be one of 20ish highschoolers in America to get an all expenses paid trip to go work and learn in a national laboratory and present our findings to the senators of a few of the states. I'm by no means a super genius and quite frankly don't know how I got selected but it was a fun experience that boosted my confidence... Until I went back to school and I was told to play with blocks for a week in the Special Ed closet.
28. Non Cheating
Not a teacher, and I don't know if this counts, but for a test in one of my subjects, we were told to put our books on the floor, and one of my classmates put his book on the floor with the revision sheet under the clear cover thing that they put on some workbooks. The kid didn't end up cheating though, he put the book in a position that meant he couldn't see the revision sheet. He was across the aisle from me as well, so if he had left the revision sheet where he could see it, I would have been able to cheat too.
27. Steep Learning Curves
Not a teacher, but we brought in a field construction worker to be a foreman. This job required the use of a computer but he literally had never used a computer, or operated a mouse in his life. He actually picked it up super fast. In a month he was creating digital design drawings and navigating 3D models.
26. Just Above And Beyond
Not a teacher but I had a friend who had a 25 (originally 50+) slide show case going over string theory for a project which we were allowed to do the topic in. The teacher cut him off through one of his slides and gave him an immediate A+. He always did his work and would consistently place high in any test. In my opinion the teacher should have told him to do something we all could understand so he wouldn't waste his efforts, but he always wanted to prove he was intelligent.
25. Cut Off A Sense, Heighten The Others
I teach chemistry and I had a blind kid in my class for a year (his eyes were removed from cancer at age 2). He aced all my tests and was always the first to grasp any concept. Just an amazing mind. Since then I have never underestimated the power of listening and imagination.
24. Owning The Older Kids
K so this happened first semester, I'm a high school teacher, and right now I'm teaching juniors. ( for those who don't know, juniors is third year out of four) So this class full of 16-17 year old dudes and girls are just doing there work on the first day of this school, and a 6th grader walks in and goes: "Sorry I'm late, I'm getting used to my new wake up time from elementary." He is passing my class with an -A ..this is AP Chemistry. I'm worried he will become too smart and use his gift for evil, he is a bit of a rascal.
23. The Worst Setbacks
I taught in a therapeutic day school a few years ago. I had a student in my class who was a severe behavioral problem, even for a therapeutic setting for behavioral kids. He would hit teachers and kids when he would have a meltdown. He was crazy high energy and only in fourth grade. I learned he had an IQ in the high 140 range putting him around 15 points below Einstein. He could comprehend college level texts, he could perform math problems by only being shown once how to do it, and had the most in-depth social understanding of people that I have ever seen.
It's such a shame. He has the capacity to cure all of the worlds problems, but lives in a trailer with like 10 cats, a mother who doesn't pay attention to him, her boyfriend who beats him, and his grandma as the only positive influence he sees in his life.
22. Fooled Ya
My SO didn't learn how to read until he was in 2nd grade. His kinder and first grade teachers, as well as his parents, thought he was reading when he actually would just memorize stories. He learned to read in 2nd grade and quickly started reading at a 4th grade level. He's pretty brilliant.
21. He Pulled It From The Air
I'm a teacher and my own youngest son is crazy smart. I teach special education so there is no correlation but when my son was in first grade he was helping his brother who is also extremely bright do his sixth grade math. My youngest is now 17 and is a dual-credit high school / college student taking such things as precalculus at the college level. He taught himself to code and is on his high school robotics team. He seems to learn things by osmosis. When he was 3 years old I would ask him how he knew the things that he knew and he would just shrug his shoulders and tell me that he just knew them. I don't know where he learned this stuff. I certainly am no math whiz.
I was at a calculus competition with a honest-to-whatever math prodigy. The kid was answering ALL the group questions in just a few seconds, got a perfect score on the individual test, and he's won so many other competitions like who wants to be a mathematician. Guy was ridiculous.
Not a teacher, but when I was in school I had a friend that could bargain for grades. Examples: English teacher also was the drama teacher he did absolutely no work in class.
Told the teacher he would come in after school twice a week to build her sets for the school play. She gave him a B.
History teacher was the debate coach,
He wagered his F for an A if he could beat any 2 students in any 2 subjects from his debate team.
Mopped the floor with them, at one point had the team captain whining instead of providing evidence.
Brought the teacher some kind of antique Japanese family artifact to raise his D to a C.
I hear he found a guy who owns like 8 properties in Bali and he just manages them for a few grand a month and free housing.
18. It's Tenuous Ground
I'm not a teacher, but I have another child in my class (ninth grade) who has autism. He's super brilliant but also socially unaware. He obsesses over guns and weapons of all sorts and has explained to me multiple times over how he started researching from a young age how to contain the unlimited energy from a black hole into a spherical shape, designed to contain it. I laughed until he showed me the notebook he had filled with research. So yeah, I'm not sure what to do, I'm not super crazy about a black hole being within 1000000 light years from me but also I don't wanna get stabbed and/or shot.
17. It's Exponential
I work as a private teacher in Poland and I have this one student who is in grade 7 and just started learning algebra few weeks ago.
She told me that her school stuff is easy and wants challenging questions. My boss told me that I can give her challenging questions and make it difficult.
I made like a list of questions, from easy to difficult, by difficult I mean it's even hard for high school kids. I gave her a high school level algebra where you have to do substitution, or polynomial division, or finding constants. Concepts that are for 16 years old students.
I gave her a simple example with only x2 and she managed to solve questions with like x6.
16. A Bike For Your Thoughts
I had student in the 9th grade that was pretty good at writting. In fact, she was WAY better than most of the my colleagues when I was in college. Hell, I'm positive she was better than almost everyone I know, including other teachers and professors I know.
If you're able to able to write a complex texts at an almost professional level when you're 14, and you're a student at a public school in a poor area of a third-country, I'm pretty sure you're the reincarnation of Shakespeare.
She actually won 1st place on "essay contest" with schools from her city and other 4 cities. She won a bicycle.
15. I could do this, but with identifying cars.
One of my kindergarteners just "knows" multiplication, and not just the basic 5s or 10s. In the beginning when his parents told me I played along with 2x2 or 10x10 but you can tell him 17x14 and he knows it instantly. So cool to watch.
My daughter was like that at 3. My sister is a kindergarten teacher and she just loves telling people she taught my daughter multiplication as a toddler. Really, she was distracting her in a store, and my daughter was counting by 2's. My sister said "can you do that with 3's?"
My daughter thought about it and then just did it. They went through this all the way to the 7's in ten minutes. My sis told her it was called multiplication and to this day takes credit for it.
My daughter is currently in 6th grade, taking both Algebra 1 and Geometry. She isn't a genius or prodigy- she isn't doing so well in history. Probably because, for example, instead of taking notes on the Haitian Revolution yesterday, she started writing all the exponents for 3. She was proud to show me she got all the way to 3 to the 50th... some people just "feel" numbers and enjoy them more than other things.
14. Not bad, not bad at all.
I had a student ask for an extension on their paper because they were representing our nation in the world science festival...
They came in 3rd, and the paper was an A+.
13. The magnitude of this...
Had a first grader figure out exponents on his own.
Edit: also to note, the kid knew numbers but we had to read the directions to him because he couldn't read well enough yet.
That's just the way he was raised.
More power to him!
He holds most of the power in that family.
12. He will never lose his keys.
I was doing a 500 piece puzzle with some kids (I was a preschool teacher). We finished the puzzle, except for one piece, which was nowhere to be found.
Kid comes in takes one look at the puzzle on the table, says, "oh, are you missing that? I know where it is." Reaches into another completely different 500 piece puzzle, rummages for like 10 seconds, pulls the piece out, fits it in.
I ask him how he knew it was there. He said he had done the other puzzle for a bit and noticed it. I asked him how long ago. Christmas, he says? It was February at the time. Kid was maybe 5 at the time.
Might be more memory than intelligence, but that was crazy to see. Such a great kid, in somewhat dire circumstance. I hope he's gotten all the opportunities he deserved.
5-year-old memory is the best memory. I'm at the point where if I forget something in class (where I put my keys, what page we were on yesterday, what color James colored his duck) I just ask them. They always know.
11. Mood when I'm on Twitter.
I once had a pre-kindergartener who could read, and cried because he was so upset with how dumb the rest of the kids were.
My mom would write little notes for preschool me and stick them in my lunch box. My teacher noticed I could read them and would have me read them to the class everyday after that. I cried, but from embarrassment lol
Sad thing is that feeling will haunt him his whole life.
10. Maybe there's hope for us.
We had a four-year-old in preschool. He was sitting under the table writing down numbers for a long time. He had no time to talk to us. When he came out and we looked at what he had been doing, he said he wrote down all the multiplications. It turns out hes brother in 5 grade was learning the multiplication table, and this little brother really wanted to do the same, but did not have a multiplication table. He counted on his fingers to add each column, and got the table right. A few days later he knew multiplication.
He would also comment on dates. If someone told they had their birthday on june 12, he would say "that is in 184 days" almost immediately. On an excursion we passed some statues with birth and death dates, and he would casually sum up: He was 78 years and 110 days old, She was born 33 years and 120 days before him etc.
I think he was maybe more focussed and willing to understand, than necessarily so smart.
Edit: Since got some traction. This kid is really the whole package. He is enthusiastic about everything. Gymnastics, science, art, math. Not at all to compete, just because it is what he likes. Other kids just follow him, and he is the often the center, and he is kind and nice. Never seen him push, hassle or brag. Just enjoys taking in all facets of life. I just wanted to show him I could see who he was. I treated him as an adult in conversations and feedback. He was of course childish in many ways, but behind the noise of childishness was a wise soul I wanted to know and encourage.
9. Checks out.
I taught high school math. One of my freshman students divided 1134 by 63 in his head in less than a second. I let him finish the problem, and then after he arrived at his answer, I asked him "How did you do that?" He looked at me with this blank stare as if he was thinking 'You can't do that?'
He proceeded to say "Well I doubled 63 and then multiplied that by 10, and then I saw that 1134 was just the difference of those two numbers, so 18." Looked at me like it was nothing. I told him good work and moved on.
I'm only above average at a few things, but one of them is mental math. When I saw that this kid could do this calculation that I couldn't, I was so happy. It was one of my happiest moments as a teacher. I didn't help him in that moment, but to know I played a small part in his math education felt so good.
Edit: Okay, I get it--you're all geniuses. I wish I had you all in my math class :)
Do an easy math to get as close as possible. 63 x 2 x 10. 1260.
Wrong answer, though. Too high. Subtract 1134 from 1260. 126. hmm.
He ALREADY did part of the math in his head with the 63 x 2. 63 x 2 = 126.
So two of those twenty 63's were making it wrong, so instead of 20 it's 18.
Something weird I just noticed:
1134/63 is 18
1+1+3+4+6+3 is also 18.
Multiples of nine have this property.
8. I was an early talker too. I ran out of things to say.
I work with 18-24 month olds and we have an 18 month old who can have literal conversations. Perfect sentence structures, perfect verb conjugation, perfect pronunciation (even L and R!) Knows all the alphabets, numbers, colors, shapes, by sight.
Some of the others know some of those things but I've never seen a baby this advanced. I sometimes forget she's only one year old because she seems more like 3.5. Just tiny like a one year old.
Her dad brought her back from a well baby checkup telling us that the doctor asked "does she say any words yet?" and we all lol'd cause she has full conversations!
My son spoke in full sentences by 18 months, reading by 2.5, could add, subtract and multiply etc before preschool. He's now 21, unemployed and spends all day playing games online 🤷🏻♀️ Still smart as though. Just lazy 🙄
He might feel like he can't live up to the pressure - like everyone thinks he is reallly clever but he doesn't feel it and doesn't want people to notice. If he doesn't try he remains clever but just lazy, if he tries and fails he's no longer clever. I was definitely like this because I hit a lot of milestones early. Just something to bear in mind. Maybe try and build his confidence again. Good luck though - I'm sure it can be super difficult and frustrating for you.
7. And now she smashes protons together.
Not a teacher but a proud big brother. My baby sister was 5 when I came home from college for the summer after actually figuring out calculus. And I explained it to her.
And she wrote it down in her journal. Yes, she kept one from the time she was about 4.
Fast forward after she skipped a few grades in elementary school and she was taking calculus in high school. And could not understand why it was so easy. And reread her journal, figured it out , and called me, laughing.
She has a PhD in high energy physics and does research at CERN. Yeah, that stuff. Desperately proud of her.
6. A good teacher knows their limits.
I'm a piano teacher on the side. Teaching a four year old how to read sheet music before she can read books. I ask her to find the Cs and she will point then out on the page ect. She can also do math really well and understands the concept of multiplication. Also another student that just started and plays by ear and composes her own pieces at 8. She also speaks 5 languages which I didn't find out until I told her I was learning German. After teaching her for 3 months she's already to the point where I had to send her to a better teacher.
What are the 8 year old's parents like? What do they do for a living?
Her parents are immigrants so it explains the numerous languages. The mom had just gotten a job as a bus driver and I never met the dad so I'm not sure what he does. I think it's more to do with the girls bright mind and instead curiosity. She was always excited to learn and would ask questions.
5. He should work in banking.
I have a 5 year old this year who has stolen my wallet more times than I'd like to admit. From my pocket. Without me knowing. I now wear a wallet chain like I don't remember what decade it is. He still tries but he hasn't figured out a work around. Yet.
Nah man, he's even smarter then that. Now that he's trained you to be obsessed with the wallet, and you think that's all he cares about too, he's in the clear to start stealing other things. Check your desk.
Oh he steals everything but my wallet is definitely the one that blows my mind. I how no idea how he did it so many times.
4. But her grades.
Obligatory "Not a teacher" comment.
There was once a kid in the grade above me in middle school that hacked the school database and deleted everyone's grades. He was expelled.
EDIT: This was about 6 years ago. And it wasn't just as easy as using a teacher's username and password, as teachers only had access to change grades in their own classes. He was caught because he bragged about it. He was just one of those kinds of kids.
When I was in 6th grade a kid took down the school internet using a school administered laptop.
Kid took the fat highlighters, cut them open and removed the insides and replaced it with bud. Sold them at school. He was caught, but only because a kid snitched after they were caught getting high. Absolutely brilliant.
High - lighters
It's right there in the name.
2. There's no harm in being informed.
My mom was a student teacher in the early 1970s. She recounts the story of a gifted first grader that nobody really knew how to handle. Every day her mentor would give the child a copy of the New York Times and let him read during her class.
Much later my mom was working as a speech therapist and had a severely autistic child that would come in daily. After their lessons he would spend his free time drawing elaborate (and accurate) city maps on the whiteboard. It was fascinating!
1. Astronomy is joy and joy is universal.
Worked at a special purpose preschool designed for kids on the autism spectrum. Did an intake day with a kiddo (4 y/o) where i was just trying to have fun and see what kind of things he liked. Did some time on the computer where we surfed around YouTube a bit. He searched up a video about our solar system, and began to explain to me the difference between the inner solar system and the outer solar system (what they're made of, sizes, electromagnetic fields to compensate for distance from the sun, etc). I had to Google everything he ws saying, because I had no idea if it was true.
Spoiler alert. It was.
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We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.