I remember a few teachers from my school days who made some HUGE mistakes because they were either really clueless or really indifferent (substitute teachers especially).
As you can imagine, the world is full of these types of educators, which always makes for a humorous story. These AskReddit users recall the times when they witnessed teachers doing really, really dumb stuff. Enjoy!
1. Odd teacher
We had an older teacher who was a few screws short of a dozen. A pigeon flew into his classroom one day and he decided to chase it out. He didn’t just swat at it or guide it with a broom or something. No his bright idea was to imitate it and try to coax it into the hall. So he starts flapping his arms and cooing.
He eventually gets it to the hall and then realizes ‘oh I can’t just leave a bird here’ so he proceeds to chase it down the hall towards the stairwell to the roof access, while still attempting to take off and signal his flock. The fact that this was his first response to having an avian guest audit his history class leads me to think it wasn’t the first time this happened.
2. Just say no
In college one of my Education professors would tell a story about a teacher who, on his very first day of teaching no less, freaked out because the police wanted to do a random K9 drug search in his classroom. He was going off about how his students were good kids and how they would never have drugs. At one point he dragged the cop aside and told him that he knew for a fact that one of the kids had drugs and he was trying to help the kid, but if the cop found the drugs it would destroy the kids future. The cop ignored him and searched the room anyway.
They found drugs in the teachers bag. None of the kids had drugs. The teacher is now unemployed.
3. Smooth Move
My old English teacher ripped out a blood sugar monitor thinking it was an iPhone (kid in my class had diabetes). As he was walking towards the student everyone was shouting that it wasn’t an iPhone. He didn’t listen and ripped it out. The kid had to go to the school nurse and the teacher lost his job because of it.
My Chemistry teacher insisted electricity wasn’t invented in the American Civil War. The conversation went like this:
Teach: “There was no electricity in the civil war”
Class: “But they had the telegraph, right?”
Class: “And the telegraph uses electricity, right?”
Class: “So they had electricity!”
Teach: “There was no electricity in the civil war!”
Teacher needed to fix the projector. Asked if anyone had a screwdriver. No one did. “Does anyone have a knife? You won’t get in trouble if you do.”
So a kid gets his pocket knife out, she fixes the projector. Next day the dean comes in for him. Automatic expulsion at my school. The teacher said “what? I’m a mandated reporter!”
6. What’s my name?
I was told I didn’t know my first name in first grade. My legal name is Billy-Joe, spelled just as you see. She spent 20 minutes telling me my name was William Joseph. To the point I got sent to the principal. Due to my age they had to wait for my mom to arrive before I had the meeting. Mom was so pissed she got called at work for such a stupid thing I got a formal apology from the teacher and a happy meal.
In 8th grade, a girl was known for her long hair and which apparently was never cut in her life. Well my math teacher at the time took some scissors and snipped some of it off for fun and didn’t think it was a big deal. Yeah, she got fired.
Chemistry teacher did a “Chemistry as magic” show and his finale was spreading a chemical powder over his lab table, tapping it with a rod and producing a near-harmless, but spectacular fireball that rose to the ceiling. This time was different. He tapped the powder and the heavy lab table exploded and shattered.
Thankfully no one was injured but he immediately started screaming at the class accusing students of tampering with his chemicals. It turns out he had left the chemical open to the air, allowing too much oxygen to mix with the powder and increasing the reaction by multiple magnitudes. He was reprimanded but kept his job.
I had a teacher cut their finger off with a paper guillotine while demonstrating how to safely use it. In their defense it worked wonders as everyone was so traumatized by what could happen that no one messed around with the guillotines. Ever.
Question on a test in elementary school: “What is a shadow?”
My answer: “An area with less light.”
Teacher’s correction: “Wrong. An area with NO light.”
11. Bathroom break
10th grade. A girl who hung out with some people in my squad needed to pee. Instructor wouldn’t let her leave. Girl asked again. And again. And again. Instructor got pissed off and told her he’d give her a week detention if she asked again or left for the bathroom. She did the pee dance in her chair, he pretended not to notice, suddenly she runs out with her face covered, crying audibly, he’s yelling at her, until a student tells him to STOP… She ended up peeing herself. It was all over her seat and the floor. All because the instructor wanted to assert his dominance.
Not sure what happened to the instructor.
12. Wait, what?
My teacher told me I was coloring myself in wrong. Apparently, no one has brown eyes —everyone has green or blue. I have brown eyes. I tried to tell her she was wrong, but she told me off and took my crayons, banning me from coloring from the rest of the year.
I was ~7 years old and was taking a basic spelling quiz in class. My teacher counted every word wrong (even though they were all correct) because I put a period after every word. Obviously there’s no need for a period, but 7 year old me was thinking “well, I was taught to always put a period after the last word of a sentence.” Young me was just confused more than anything.
My mom actually called in to complain which NEVER happened (she typically didn’t get involved when I got involved in conflict at school). That’s when it clicked how stupid it was for the teacher to do that.
Instead of the teacher approaching me and saying “you see, periods aren’t necessary here. Don’t do that anymore.” she just confused me even more.
14. Maybe shouldn’t be teaching…
When I was in third grade my teacher wrote 1-2=? on the chalkboard. I said -1. She told me the correct answer is that it doesn’t work out. Im still mad about this 16 years later!