Listening is a powerful tool for teachers - and having open ears means hearing everything, like the kid whose mom gives noisy basement massages, or the student that made breakfast for a woman's kids after he went home with her from a club. And he still made it to class!
Not_Fluffy asked teachers of Reddit: What's something you've overheard, but with you didn't?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
10. The kid wishes he didn't overhear this too.
That he doesn't like it when "mom gives massages in the basement" because he can "hear everything."
How old is this kid?
He was 12.
9. Teachers are heroes.
My mom says I'm too stupid to spell.
I was helping one of my first graders catch up on a spelling test. He was one of my "problem kids", but I always spent extra time helping him out because I used to be one, too. On this particular day he was getting really, really worked up. I finally flipped the test over and had the worst conversation.
Kid: I can't do this. I'm too stupid!
Me: You can too do this, I know you can. Let's spell it out really slowly together.
Kid: No, I can't. I'm an idiot.
Me: [Name]! Why are you saying that? Who told you that?
Kid: My mom says I'm too stupid to spell.
Me: ...That's not true. We're friends, yeah?
Kid: Best friends.
Me: Okay, then you know I won't lie to you. You are one of the smartest kids I know. What else does your mom say?
And that's how I found out a seven year old boy was being physically and emotionally abused. I reported it, but left the school before I found out what came of it.
I didn't choose to leave the school; I was a substitute teacher and their regular teacher came back, so I had no choice. I did give the kids my information, though.
8. Listening is undervalued.
I guess it isn't that I overheard it. But I really like to keep up with the kids' personal lives. Over the years they grow to trust me and every once in a while, a student drops a huge bomb on me that makes me feel quite helpless for a while. Things like, "My parents are getting divorced this week and neither one wants me." or "My sister got killed trying to stop a fight." or "I hate my friends and I hate myself for liking them. But I don't want to be alone." I do my best for them.
Kudos to you.
"My parents are getting divorced this week and neither one wants me."
That's f*cking depressing.
I taught middle school for one year. During parent-teacher conferences, one poor student came in with her emotionally abusive mom, her emotionally distant dad, and her dad's new girlfriend. She sat in between them sobbing silently while the divorcing parents bickered and I barely got a word in edgewise. Because I was hired two months into the year to replace a teacher who quit rather suddenly, it was literally my second or third interaction with this student and her family. Definitely set the stage for my relationship with them the rest of the year.
I sure hope her story has a happy ending, because in the time I was her teacher I watched her completely disengage from her schoolwork and social life as she sunk deeper and deeper into depression. She didn't fail 7th grade, but she came damn close, and she was a bright kid too.
This is the saddest f*cking thing I've ever read.
7. Middle school sucked but *also* same.
I worked with Middle Schoolers for exactly one year. When the 11 year old yelled "EAT THE BOOTY LIKE GROCERIES" When I asked him what his favorite food was, I knew that middle school wasn't for me.
Middle school: old enough to flatten you with words, young enough to not even think twice.
Everyone always talks about how tough high school is but I felt like middle school was way more brutal. By high school kids are, for the most part, KIND OF developing a sense of what can and can't be done. In middle school it's just not there yet.
My friend teaches at a Catholic middle school. He said he once overheard a girl telling her friends she intended to pretend to be pregnant in order to keep her boyfriend from breaking up with her. When he asked her where she got such a manipulative idea, she said, "It worked for my mom!"
My nephew when he was 18 or 19 had a similar experience. His ex girlfriend called him up and said she was 3 months pregnant. He said "well I haven't slept with you in 5 months so good luck with that." She even tried to send him someone else's ultra sound. Now he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer and barely graduated high school but glad he was able to do some basic math.
5. Wholesome, or creepy?
I had a high school senior come to school in the morning straight from the club, still all glitter-covered and in a mostly-unbuttoned button down.
Except it wasn't totally straight from the club-- he let it slip that he had gone home with a woman in her 40s at five in the morning, and stayed long enough for her to "make her kids and me breakfast."
Hey, at least he still made it to class.
Gotta set a good example for the lady's kids.
4. Seems legit.
This happened last year in an alternative education class I was supplying in. This was a regular high school that just happened to offer an alternative program to some students. A girl was talking about how much school she skipped last year. The guy she is talking to goes "I missed a lot of days as well but thats because I spent 2 months in a correctional institute."
"Why are you late?"
"I was in a correctional institute"
"You should have gone to a correctional institute during the break"
"But I didn't HAVE to go to a correctional institute during the break"
3. It wasn't about a cat.
Heard this from a Vice Principal about 5 years ago. One time one of the kids told her "I like p*ssy" and then proceeded to tell her all the things one could put in a p*ssy. It was an Elementary School.
2. You opened this door.
I once used the word "gangbangers" in a class of freshmen boys. I was referring to inner city drug gangs. When almost the entire class started furiously giggling, I immediately regretted my choice of words. I'm not naive...I know most if not all of my students have watched porn. I just didn't need to be reminded of that fact when I'm trying to talk with them about urban gang crime.
I remember our class burst out laughing when we were reading Tale of Two Cities, because "the wagon fagged up the hill."
1. Soo... where?
On my first two week observation internship I was at the back of the class just taking things in. Overheard one student tell another she knew where to get Ketamine.
I froze and didn't know what to do. I ended up doing nothing. I was only there to observe and I had literally just started the program. I think I made a mistake.
What's the most uncomfortable thing you've ever overheard?
You know it's not a great place to work when employees band together to walk out. Literally.
Unions were basically created for this reason, by having the working people band together to fight against being mistreated by corporations, they create power in numbers. Even without a formal union, there is still power in numbers--no company wants to be tasked with explaining themselves like that.