Teachers Share The Most Creative Way They've Dealt With A Misbehaving Student
Sometimes students just need some motivation, and creativity does the trick.
Thanks to Reddit user Dapends for posting the question.
Over the course of 2 and a half weeks I slowed down his mouse's tracking speed until it was at the lowest setting. He was getting so aggravated and I just said "sorry but we have a full class and there aren't any extra mice." Then I flipped it to full speed tracking the day we had all the students clean their keyboards and mice.
My wife is a preschool teacher at a private school. She told me that she has this kid that consistently acts up and tries to be the class clown, so she makes faces at him when he is the only one looking at her and it drives him crazy.
My friend is a college professor and he told me whenever he sees a student using his phone in class, he walks up behind him, looks over his shoulder and says "What's Grindr?"
Kid in my high school science class used to say loudly, even to the teacher's face, his belief that you could pass any multiple choice test by always answering 'C'.
On one test day, teacher walks up to him, hands him a multiple choice test, and says, "I made this version of the test JUST FOR YOU!". Kid blanches, but furiously fills the test out with everything EXCEPT a C.
Turned out, on his version of the test, C was the correct answer every single time.
Four students said they were on a road-trip and missed the test that they had because their van had a flat tire. The teacher allowed them to make up the test. On each of the four students' tests the professor wrote the last question as this: Which tire had the flat tire? Needless to say... they had been caught after that question and confessed.
My stats professor said he saw a group of really talkative and distracting kids doing well, and he thought it was fishy.
He looked at the tests and saw that they were all the same answers, then he looked at the seating chart and noticed that they could all look over each others shoulders to the front of the class where the smart, quiet girl sat. Solution: Give her a different test. Only her.
When he handed back the tests, he told everyone who got under a certain grade, like a 50% to come see him. Each student got like a 10% or something. When they were alone, he basically said, "well, this is your punishment for cheating. Don't do it again." I thought that was awesome.
These two girls in my economics class were cheating all the time. They turned in this paper on the Federal Reserve that didn't get picked up with the plagiarism checker but they both turned in the exact same paper as each other. I told them you guys did a great job on this paper, you get 50%, and you get 50%. In retrospect I shouldn't have done it in front of the class.
I taught math last school year at a high school.
There was this really disrespectful kid in my class. He was a senior and he quickly decided the class was beneath him and stopped coming.
The way I approach grading is half the grade is attendance and participation. I feel like I can teach any kid math and help them get really good at it as long as they come to my class and do what they're supposed to. The other half of the grade was going to be their comprehensive final.
Guess who comes into my class one week before finals with some sob story about how he needed me to pass him for blah blah reasons. Yeah.
So I tell him 'OK here's the deal...' (story continues...)
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Half your grade is attendance and participation. Half is the final. That means you can't get more than a 50% right now. However, I also don't fail anyone that gets at least a B on my final. If you were able to learn the math without being here listening to my spiel every day, fine, you pass.
Of course there was no way this guy was going to pass my final. I was teaching trigonometry and he couldn't even do basic algebra worth a darn. Given his attitude toward me I have to admit I enjoyed this thought. Passing my class is SOOO important to him a week before finals, but not important enough for him to attend my lessons. Justice = Served.
So he says 'what am I gonna do I don't know the stuff?' So I tell him. 'OK. I have a review here of all the types of problems that will be on the final. It's what we are working on all week. you come in every day and do your best and if you need extra help I'll help you at lunch time and you can try to pass my test. That or you can just give up.'
Of course he realizes it's futile and gives up right? No. He actually comes in, works hard and spends every minute of every lunch in my classroom getting individual attention. And he gets an A on his final!
When I grade his test and he sees he got an A his eyes actually tear up. So I point to the test and say 'look at that math!.. that's some hard damned math. Most people can't do that math but you know what? You can! I wonder how many other things you can do, that other people told you you couldn't do. That you told yourself you couldn't do!
He agreed and thanked me profusely for all my help and for not letting him take the easy way out. I don't think I'll ever teach a kid a more important thing than that.
I taught English at a ritzy private school. We weren't allowed to discipline the kids for any reason, no matter what, because the school was making money from the tuition.
For the most part the kids (grade 5-6) were pretty good but there was this one kid. He was a little brat about everything, always disruptive, bullying the other kids, throwing pencils, writing swear words on the white board before class, never listening, etc.
I started eating a lot of kimchi on the days I taught that specific class, which gave me wicked indigestion. When I walked by the kid I would let out these horrible silent creeping hot farts. No one ever blames the teacher and after a couple weeks he became known as the farty kid.
He was still a little brat, but it made me feel better knowing that he was knocked down a few pegs.
I'm a Stats teacher. There was a kid in my class about 6 years ago. He was getting D's and F's all year, but then somehow ACED a multiple choice test, first time I ever gave it. I didn't realize it, but I had accidentally left an answer key at the front table which happened to be the answer key he saw & copied. I asked how he did so well and he told me, after he bragged to everyone else, "I just worked really hard this time". OK, fair enough. Maybe he did?
So the next time around, I did the exact same thing but I left the same answer key at the front of the room, never moved it. He used it again and this time got a 0. I pulled him outside the class and said "how did you go from 100 to 0?" He was cool about it when he knew what I was getting it though. "Mr. Teacher, I have to come clean, I copied the first one and then tried to do it again." I said I know, and told him he could retake the 2nd test if he also retook the first test, which he did.
He passed each test by 1 point, but it was legit, so I was proud.
I used to do this thing where I would let my students 'cheat' on their exams.
You know the rules- you get one index card worth of notes to carry in with you. Oh you clever kid, you've used an 8pt font or used tiny little letters to cover the card with scribbles. So clever. No one has ever thought to do that in the history of time- you got me kiddo, good one.
The thing is, the exams aren't even the point. They could be open book if I wanted. No, the 'point' is to make students write out all their weak points- the stuff they think they'll need with them to 'cheat' from.
The mere act of writing out stuff on a card pretty much ensures they'll know most of it going forward, and often that 'cheat sheet' represents more effort (re note-taking) than they've ever put forward in class. The worst students generally create the most elaborate sheets.
I was an English adjunct for a few years -- my favorite story involved a kid that I caught cheating.
She was probably my least favorite student in class. She would spend the whole class obviously distracted, either texting, or trying to subtly talk to her group of friends (they all sat next to one another in the back of the room). I could tell that they thought they were being sly, but I had a policy of basically not giving a crap what you were doing as long as you weren't annoying your neighbors.
Anyway, they all put the minimum effort into the class. None of them gave a crap, and I'm pretty sure none of them really deserved to even be in college. Eventually, they started to annoy me, and I had to constantly stop class (this is in COLLEGE) to shut them up. But hey, they were passing (barely) so they didn't care.
One of these girls submitted an essay to me right before spring break. And... well, it was obviously plagiarized. How obvious? It was literally a sample essay from a grammar workbook type website online.
I failed her for the assignment, gave her the usual plagiarism "I-caught-you" speech, and reported it per department rules. At this point, she could still pass, but she'd have to be perfect.
Right after spring break, another assignment was due. Guess what? Yup! She plagiarized that one, too. So I set things up to "catch" her, called her in after class, and told her what I'd found. Her response? Well, she didn't plagiarize as she DIDN'T. WRITE. THE. PAPER.
"I didn't write it. My friend did."
"...you realize that's plagiarism, right?"
"No, I didn't write it."
I explained to her that she had just admitted to double plagiarism, as not only did she not write her paper, but the person who uh, "wrote" her paper didn't write it. She apologized and asked for another chance. I had to stop myself from laughing. I asked her why she thought she deserved one, after I had just caught her cheating less than a week prior. She look dumbfounded, and went into a rant about how college isn't fair and how I'm too hard (for the record: we only had four 800-word papers in this class).
She also thought she deserved credit for plagiarizing the paper (her story changed halfway through) from two different websites.
I reported it to the department, which triggered an academic trial. A trial is exactly what it sounds like. We both sit in a room, in front of the dean, a council of professors, and a student representative. They hear the case, and then your fate is decided.
If you show up, you usually can prevent yourself from getting kicked out of school, as you can basically say anything and they'll feel sorry for you. The one thing you can't do is not show up, as that essentially means that I have free rein to make you look like a bad person and get you expelled.
Welp, in class the day of the trial, all her friends were in class talking (loudly) about how they were going to write about how bad of a professor I was on our reviews. Because I did my job, basically.
I went in that day and -- surprise! (story continues...)
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She didn't show up. I had images and comparisons between her paper and the site she copied her work from. I had detailed accounts from other students about how she was disruptive in class. I had copies of my syllabus that outlined exactly what plagiarism is. I had a recording of what she told me during our last conversation. She was expelled.
I still have the letters her friends wrote (I received the "feedback" at the end of the year, all anonymous, mind you) in an envelope. One of the letters is a page long run-on sentence that says no one liked me and that I was the worst professor ever. The other is basically identical. I only taught for two years, but these were the only two negative "reviews" I ever received. All because I just wanted to teach and not have people plagiarize in my class.
Before I left, I checked up on both students. Both dropped out. Both had plagiarism charges on their record. Screw them. I hope the three of them are still complaining about how hard college was somewhere because they couldn't handle writing 800-word essays.
There was a kid in my class who ALWAYS was cheating on my tests and quizzes. I caught him several times and contacted the parents, but nothing was ever really done about it (aside from the fact that he got 0's if I caught him). I don't think his mom ever really believed he was cheating as much as he was, and there were plenty of times I probably didn't catch him. Once on the midterm, he missed the test.
He came back the day I gave the kid their scores back which also had the answers, but not the questions. I saw him "sneakily" talking to his friends and they gave him their papers that had the answers on them. I didn't say anything, but the make-up midterm has the same questions with all of the answer choices moved over by one letter. Little cheat got a 3% on a multiple choice midterm. I assume he must have read one question and then copied the rest from his friends.
Not secretly, but I learned to take copius notes and have a file on every student. Lazy students will often try to throw the blame on the teacher.
I had two students request a meeting with the Dean of Students to discuss my unfair grading, and I showed up with a stack of evidence. Every substantive in-person interaction was documented on the front of the file, and I included copies of every email and note on the inside.
There's nothing more embarrassing than coming face to face with your own laziness and being unable to wriggle free.
They started paying attention after that.
I was in a class where the professor had the two blatant plagiarists stand up and read both of their papers at the same time. Halfway through without even looking at them and his eyes turned to a wall he said out the last conclusion statement.
Turns out they stole from his own body of work and they changed just enough of the paper to make it past the checker (but he reads every paper anyways). It was the most awkward and hilarious thing I have watched to this day. He then told them that each paper they wrote would be read out loud by them after each submission and he would personally grade their papers. They also had to sit at the front and he would call on them with every open ended question first.
To be clear he was furious that these two stole from him, called it their ideas, change it into a weaker structure and complained about their low-grade. He crushed them, it was great.
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My favorite English teacher once led a discussion about Vietnam War novel "The Things They Carried" into a discussion about drugs and paranoia in order to mess with the dude that always showed up to class high.
She didn't look at him ONCE- just kept saying stuff to mess with him (while, might I add, actually leading a very interesting conversation about drug abuse in Vietnam).
I was sitting across the room from him and he looked like he was dying.
Our bonus project in physics was making an eggmobile; a vehicle designed to move an egg using only the power of an elastic band. The mark you got for this project would replace the lowest test score you got on the unit tests during the year. Two of my friends worked together on one; one friend was an average student, while the other friend was fairly smart, but pushy and argumentative; a real steve jobs type. They constructed their eggmobile out of lego, and it did work, however the physics teacher was a little tired of friend number 2 at this point of the year. The mark he gave was enough to give student 1 a nice boost, however it was 1 point lower that student 2's lowest test score.
My Abnormal Psych class (a 400 level class, so you would assume people in this class were interested in the field) had us visit a local homeless shelter. This was an accelerated night class so classes were 4 hours long. She arranged for us to go during our normal class time. A few people in the class felt it was dumb or a waste of time and bailed just as the tour was starting.
The Final exam for that class was about 4 questions that were VERY easy to answer if you stayed for the whole tour and absolutely impossible if you did not.
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I had a letter mailed to my office, as in paid postage etc etc, that was basically threatening me, saying I better stop handing out C's and D's or "word on the street" was going to be that I was a bad teacher and no one would take my class and I'd be out of a job.
I had a pretty good idea of who it was, obviously ruled out all the students doing well in my classes, but didn't think direct accusations would be really effective anyway.
I decided to take it to each of my three classes and turn it into a lesson on faulty rhetoric. My expectations were exceeded when I began to read the letter out loud and without fail each class erupted in laughter and exclaimed things like "what a jerk!" before I could even weigh in.
The kid I suspected the most definitely sat slumped in his chair without much to say that day.
I should firstly say that I am a well reviewed teacher and have had great success with at-risk students.
How do I get 'back' at students though? I don't mercy pass. I'll bend steel to get you to get your assignments in and do an okay job... But I will not mercy pass. If you got a 49, you got a 49.
High school teacher.
I have had a number of challenging students in my 15 years as a public school teacher. These kids sometimes don't know how to act. They might lash out and treat teachers with disrespect. They might blow off assignments and make other choices that increase the burdens of my job.
So - you get back at them by offering them extra attention. Helping them grow by seeking productive ways to correct their behavior. Challenging their academic failures by offering help outside school hours. Addressing holistic problems by circling the wagons and bringing outside resources to bear (including guidance, administration, and parents in a cooperative effort to encourage growth).
I get back at that kid by helping him or her get past being that kid. In the end, we can both sit back and laugh at how hard it sometimes feels to mature.
One time there was this girl sleeping in my Calculus Class. Well, my teacher walked over to his desk phone and says to the rest of the class, "did you guys hear that ring?" He proceeds to pick up the phone, nod his head and hang up. He wakes the girl up and tells her she's needed in the main office, so she leaves. The entire class is super confused. 10 minutes later she returns and is like, they didn't need me at the office. He says I know, but I hope that walk woke you up...
Another time, he was handing out a quiz that was an example AP Calculus problem. He ran out of quizzes early, which usually meant we could work in groups on the quiz. He then says "but you know, Newton always had a trick up his sleeve." He unbuttons his sleeve and pulls out more quizzes.
That teacher had tricks.
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My cousin is a physics teacher at a private all-boys high school, and he's easily the youngest teacher there (24.) One of his students is always very rowdy, and normal threats or punishments weren't working. Somehow he found out this kid loves Game of Thrones, so one day when he asked the kid to quiet down and he refused, my cousin told him a Game of Thrones spoiler. He then informed the kid that every time he misbehaved, he would spoil GoT. The kid somehow didn't believe him, so he tested it out a couple of times and was met with a new spoiler each time.
He doesn't misbehave in class anymore.
It's not getting back at "that kid" as you think it is. I was teaching geography in secondary 2 about 4 years ago. I had that sweet, sweet hard working little guy who was extremely shy. Like... extremely shy. But he was really kind and polite with me, in class or anywhere I saw him in the city. Great little boy.
The thing students don't know is that we almost know everything about them in class. We know how they work, we know how they act in a class and we are used to them, even if we're not "looking" at them.
Anyway, that little guy was subtle but was always looking at that girl at the other end of the class when I was explaining theory. She was a cute, sweet little girl. You could tell he was really into her, but I never saw him talk to her in class or even in the hallways or at the lockers. Never. I think it was because he was too shy. But he liked her, it was very easy to see. Maybe not for her, but for me it was.
One day, out of nowhere (because I had a great class), I changed place everyone's desk and put his desk immediatly besides hers. It took some time, but as the year was going, I saw them talk more and more and more. They even did teamworks together. Then, the year ended and they changed school (sec. 1 and 2 are in a building, sec 3-4-5 is in another). I had no other news of them since, except maybe one or two times quickly seeing him at the mall.
I saw them last year when I was a substitute teacher in their school. They were together, holding hands. I don't know if they were a couple or just friends, but I like to think I'm a little part of that friendship/couple.
I work in cell industry. My mom is a high school teacher. I gave her a cell phone jammer. She never told a soul about it and would just turn it on at random times just to mess with the kids.
This was in a college freshman composition class.
I had a student who was constantly making obnoxious, borderline racist comments in class. He thought he was the edgy class clown but mostly he was just annoying. Also wrote papers for me about how Hitler wasn't as bad as people say he is (basically using the old "he got Germany out of economic despondency" argument) and even wrote in another essay about how American soldiers need to learn to be as dedicated to America as Nazi soldiers were to Germany.
So when he finally wrote an essay that was basically just a barely coherent rant about how much he hates Muslims (including at one point saying he couldn't wait to join the army so he could go kill a bunch of sand monkeys) I reported him to the dean of students for hate speech. Other than the occasional comment about how he was being persecuted for "standing up for America" he finally stopped making obnoxious comments in class after that.