A Scaring Family Photo
“My dad was a primary school teacher. Once a kid brought a photo of her dad who had an accident at home.
He was cutting something with the chainsaw and accidentally cut his left leg off.
He was sitting at the kitchen table smoking while his bloody nub was covered with towels and in a tourniquet. The leg was sitting on the chair next to him, as they waited for the ambulance.”
An Incredibly Morbid Family Heirloom
“I once had a student bring in a child’s trekking stick made out of a HUMAN FEMUR. Legitimately. Despite the legality of using human remains being in question, and some serious side eye from me all year during conferences, the story of how he acquired it was quite interesting.
Apparently, it was a family heirloom. The kid’s great-great-grand-someone dug it up from his backyard in rural Virginia back in the early 1800’s. They named it, no joke, ‘Lemuel.'”
Show And Tell Turned Biology Lesson
“I was that weird kid that brought in something interesting. A quick backstory: I grew up in rural Alaska where we got a lot of our food from nature. There was a program where you could get roadkill moose. When someone hit a moose with their car, you’d get a call if you’re next on the list and you could go harvest the moose. Well, a pregnant cow moose was hit and we got the call. My parents thought it was a good opportunity for me to learn about biology and saved the fetus in a little cardboard box.
I decided it was a good time for my kindergarten class to learn about biology and brought the dead moose fetus in a cardboard box to show and tell.”
After His Show And Tell, He Never Came Back To Class
“In fourth grade, the quiet, seemingly troubled kid who sat next to me in class, pulled out a big bag of white powder and placed it on his desk. Any other day, he’d be milling about before the bell rang, but today he sat quietly, beaming and looking forward to sharing his Show & Tell object.
Since it was against his typical behavior, the rest of the class started gathering around his desk and asking questions while he sat there with a big smile on his face, appreciating the positive attention that he was getting.
‘Is it powder?’ ‘Is it sugar?’ ‘Is it flour?’ Questions were being fired quickly but he refused to answer until he had the opportunity to share with the entire class.
The teacher walked in, and everyone sat down. Time for Show &Tell. ‘Did anyone bring something to share with the class?’ Instantly, his hand fired up. Grinning from ear to ear, he walked to the front of the class. To my fourth grade eyes and memory, his special bag was the size of a gallon jug.
‘What did you bring to show the class, Jerry?’
With his heart overflowing at the moment, he proudly replied, ‘It’s angel dust.’
My teacher was either in doubt or just handled it exquisitely, ‘Oh… and where did you get this angel dust?’
‘From my mom and dad’s closet.’ Jerry was still smiling.
‘Wow… and what does angel dust do?’
‘I don’t know, but my mom and dad really like it.’
‘I like it too, Jerry. Maybe we could show other people. You know who I know would love to see it? Mrs. Principal! Should we go see her and show her your angel dust?’
Jerry was smiling as my teacher walked him out of the classroom. I never saw him again. And I never heard the term angel dust again until DARE programs in junior high.
I still wonder how it all went down. I wonder what happened to Jerry. And I wonder what his parents were thinking when they found out the bag was gone.”
“It Wasn’t A Good Day”
“I’m in Australia teaching grade 1. A few months ago, a kid brought in a live huntsman spider for show and tell. There were 48 kids watching and while she was talking, she dropped the container and it ran all over a couple of students – I’m terrified of them so I was trying to hustle and bustle everyone out of the room but half the students were running towards it to look and half were running in circles from fear.
So many head collisions and the original show and tell student was there just bawling her eyes out and she told me later, ‘I’m just worried that now people won’t like my spider!’ It wasn’t a good day.”
“Nobody Guessed What Beth Had In The Bag”
“After my grandpa died, we ended up with this taxidermied squirrel. It was crouched on a log holding a nut in his front paws. My younger siblings were obsessed with this thing, especially my little sister. They called him Squirrelly.
My sister decided one day that she wanted to take Squirrelly to show and tell and my mother somehow allowed this. So my sister took it to school in a paper grocery bag.
I guess their thing was the kid had to bring something in a sack and then the other kids would have to guess what it was. My mom went to pick my sister up that day and found a very confused teacher, whose only comment was, ‘Nobody guessed what Beth had in the bag…’
She’s never really lived that one down and that was at least 20 years ago.”
This Art Project Definitely Had A Personal Touch
“I had a student bring their old dog’s skull to class for an art project. During my first practicum, I was working with the art teacher to finish up the current project. The students had to bring in an object from home and incorporate it into their painting. Anyway, the student comes to class with dog skull in hand ready to paint. Was an interesting story of how they even got their dog’s skull.
The student lived with his grandmother who owned a bit of acreage and had a small farm. The grandmother also had a fairly large area where she would compost old food and crops. The student’s dog, I think it was a wiener dog, had passed away. The grandmother offered to bury the dog, but she put it in the compost. I don’t know how long it was, but she was sifting through the compost one day and found the skeleton of the dog, picked up its skull and put it on the mantle above her fireplace.
Years later, the kid was doing this project and needs an important object, so he asked his grandmother for ideas. She pointed out the skull and told the kid that it was his dog and she found the skeleton and decided to take the skull. He saw it sitting there for years and had no idea that it was the dog. So because of this art project, the kid found out that grandmother had saved the dog’s skull and used it for decoration for years.”
This Show And Tell Ended In An Evacuation
“In fifth grade in the late 1970s, an El Salvadorian kid who moved here to the US and began attending our school and brought an inactive hand grenade for show and tell. He did not speak English and the teachers did not speak Spanish, so pandemonium ensued. We all evacuated the classrooms, were sent home, and the bomb squad was called. The kid only got a slap on the wrist; the faculty felt bad for him as they learned he was a soldier in the war in El Salvador prior to coming to the US!
Many kids used to make fun of him when he first arrived, but once the word about being a child soldier got out, he achieved instant tough guy status.”
Disturbing Things No Child Should Have To Cope With
“A boy I worked with brought in his dad’s military memorial flag after he was killed overseas. The dad was practically a kid himself. This was around 2008. He actually carried the encased flag around all day and spoke to everyone he passed. His aunt (mom’s sister) walked him in that day and had lunch with him. She also was there to pick him up about half an hour early. I suspect she waited in the parking lot.
As I remember, this happened really soon after his dad was killed. Later on, I learned that this kid kept the folded and framed flag in his room. He spoke of his dad often and never seemed sad. I realize that doesn’t mean he wasn’t hurting, kids understand way more than we give them credit for and he was definitely of an age that has a grasp of death.”
She Just Wanted To Show Off Her Pet
“I teach online school to second graders. One day during the live chat, a little girl brought her dog swaddled in blankets. When it came her time to share, she held the dog up to the camera.
Then she said, ‘This is Sparkles. She is 2 months old and died right before chat started.’ My student brought her dead dog to chat. There were 11 other kids in the chatroom that all saw this.”
Scared The Class Straight
“I was the student. In third grade, my mom had gotten into a car accident. Looking back now, I would say that it was pretty bad, we lived with my grandparents for a few months while she recovered. However, being a little kid, I didn’t get that. So for one show and tell, I asked for my mom to come and explain that ‘this is why you need to wear a seatbelt in the car.’
She had two huge black eyes, a scar across her forehead and for a while had trouble with short-term memory. Afterward, my whole class made get well soon cards. Again, looking back I probably scared straight a few kids about seat belts. But having a single mom, I just thought it was the greatest thing that she could come to my class for a little while. Kids are silly.”
“It’s The Only Thing I’ve Ever Seen That Just Felt Evil”
“I wasn’t the teacher in this case, but a guy brought in a slave collar from before the Civil War. This was a history class, and we were discussing the early 1800s.
We had all learned about slavery, of course, but seeing a thick iron collar and chain that were meant to be placed around the neck of a human being so they could be sold as property…
To this day, it’s the only thing I’ve ever seen that just felt evil.”
This Kid Just Wanted To Introduce His Class To A New Religion
“A fourth grader brought an obsidian statuette of the goddess Pele that he took from his mom’s altar without permission. He proceeded to explain how Pele ‘was worshipped by his mom’ and what the goddess could do ‘if angered.’ The next day, I was asked to come to the office.
‘The phone has not stopped ringing since your little pagan show and tell,’ our principal informed me. Some parents were quite upset about any teacher ‘giving the kid a forum’ to explore his ‘heathen’ interests. The principal, however, stood by me.
The mom later came to the school to tell those parents ‘she was Wiccan indeed,’ and to leave her child alone. Good times.”
He Has Access To Some Interesting Places
“I ran an after school program for 4th & 5th graders when I was in grad school. One kid had brought in a cell lock and skeleton keys from San Quentin’s death row for show and tell earlier in the day.
It was equal parts creepy and cool. Don’t remember how the kid or his family came to own it.”
It’s A Good Show And Tell When The Police Show Up
“This story comes from my retired policeman father who was called to a school after a particularly interesting show and tell session.
A kid stepped up to the front of the class and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a small clear plastic bag. He then grinned at the class and said, ‘I’ve brought me mum’s ‘erb!’ It turned out his mother used to hide her stash in his pockets if she thought she was going to be stopped and searched by police, and sometimes she forgot to take it out again afterward.”
Putting THIS In With The Lunches Was A Bold Move
“A 5th-grade girl came with her grandma to school early and asked if she could put a big Tupperware bowl into the classroom. It was the thick colored plastic with a lid kind. The science teacher saw nothing wrong and let her in. Class started and the girl kept going to the laundry basket (large plastic bin with handles) that held the lunch boxes. Finally, the teacher followed her and became completely startled. After everyone had put their lunch boxes away, the girl had opened the lid of the bowl so her pet snake could breathe and simply let it hang out in the basket.
The fun part is that she had lied to her grandma about having permission and the science teacher felt embarrassed for letting her into the classroom early.”
Creepiest Toy EVER
“I’m not a school teacher, but a leader for a program in a church. Once we had a ‘stuffed animal night.’ Some little boy brought in a devil plush toy that would say ‘I love you’ in a creepy voice. I worked with the children from three to five years old.
Out of the 16 kids that were there that night, 15 left crying and one left laughing…”
Mantis Mayhem Ensued
“I was a middle school science teacher so I always had crazy stuff coming in my door. Insects of all forms, various types of bones from different animals (I hope anyway), snake shedding, actual snakes (usually garden snakes), and my personal favorite was a kitten one kid found walking to school (they wanted to know if it was a bobcat… I wondered about that kid sometimes).
Once, a kid brought in a praying mantis and we put it in the cage with another praying mantis we were keeping. They mated and the female bit the male’s head off afterward as the class watched. That was an interesting letter to send home.
A couple months later, we had tons of baby mantis’s hatch during class and the mom was literally murdering them in her water dish so the kids all took some home. That was an even more interesting letter.”
This Girl Didn’t Even Get To Present Her Shocking Show And Tell
“I once found a dead bird on the way home from school. I took it home and put it in a nice perfume box. The next day was Friday, my day for show and tell. I just knew I had the winner and I would be the queen of the first grade.
The next day, I took my bird to school, put it in my desk (the flip top ones) and waited for my chance. But, alas, they ran out of time and I wasn’t getting my turn after all. I pouted but got on with my day. Next Friday would be my chance to shine.
Well, over the weekend, the bird got a little ripe, so when the teacher opened the door in the morning, there was a faint, strange smell. She couldn’t figure it out, and neither could anyone else. The next day was even worse. For the last two days, I would open my desk, plugging my nose, but never put two and two together to figure out the problem might be in my desk.
Well, out of desperation, the teacher started tossing desks and when she came to me, the lightbulb went off in my head and I exclaimed, ‘Oh yeah – my show and tell!’ She declined to let me show her my awesome find, for some reason, and she just threw it in the dumpster outside. I felt cheated.”
Disturbed By The Lack Of Respect
“I have been teaching early childhood for years. I had a little boy that was very sweet, but he would always throw the biggest fits to be allowed to bring whatever his heart desired into the classroom. I’m talking 7 or 8 huge, noise making toys a day. This was a huge distraction issue and so I had to have a meeting with his parents to resolve it.
The parents were not having it at first and insisting on allowing him to bring something in because he simply throws too high of fits for their hearts to bear. Ugh. Anyway, we finally get on the same page and things start getting much better as we agreed to allow the kid to bring books in from home.
Then, his parents both leave town for business trips and Grandpa comes into the picture for a month to watch him. Grandpa did not care at all about my rules and ignored every attempt I made to communicate with him about how distracting it was for the other children in the classroom when his child was permitted to arrive at school with; an Apple watch, an iPad, a lightsaber, a sleeve of Oreo cookies, an etch-a-sketch, and a light Brite shoved into his backpacks. Yes, backpacks. He would bring more than one. Every single day to transport his haul of swag.
So, I began telling the student that all of his things would have to be locked up until the end of the day as soon as he arrived in the morning. Grandpa would witness me doing this, but would never say anything. Lawd. Then, one day the child arrived with a box with holes poked into it. The Grandpa was extra rushed to get out of the door and away from me so I knew this couldn’t be good.
The kid brought a snapping turtle. A turtle that bites into a classroom with children as young as 8! I was livid. I took the turtle and let it go in the woods behind our facility and called the Grandpa who argued with me via phone that this wasn’t that big of a deal.
At this point, it was clear that Grandpa’s judgment was at level zero and I had to tell him he wasn’t welcome on campus with any wildlife. Never thought I’d have to be so blunt as to tell a grown man that a wild, biting animal can’t come into a classroom of unsuspecting children.”