Here, teachers recall the diabolical thing a student has ever said to them.
A Troubled Student
“I’ve been teaching 7th grade Biology for about 3 years now. Last year I became pregnant with my first child and towards the end of the school year I was really showing. It’s no a surprise to me when some of the troubled students have outbursts and act up for attention. Usually I ignore their antics or simply write them up, but one day a student managed to get to me.
He was already my least favorite student for his lack of motivation. He never contributed during group projects, didn’t pay attention during lab experiments, and used usually google the answers for all of his homework assignments to pass of as his. I had tried to schedule parent teacher conferences with his parents, but they never responded or seemed to care when I sent emails and notes home. The student didn’t seem troubled mentally if I can put it lightly. He just loved being a nuisance, which to me probably suggested issues at home that might have made him insecure. The other students that actually wanted to learn avoided him like the plague.
During a lecture, I was randomly calling on students to keep the class engaged. My trouble student had his head down the entire time before I realized he was playing a game on his phone. I stopped my lecture and instructed him to put the phone away. The student shrugged before sliding the phone into the open backpack that he had resting on his lap instead of behind his chair. He had every intention to play on his phone while hiding it inside the bag, so I warned him that if he didn’t turn his phone off and put it away I would confiscate it.
‘Yeah, I don’t think so,’ he said before tapping away on the screen.
Keep in mind that I was extremely hormonal and achy. I did not have the patience to go back and forth with this child. Finals were coming up and he was seriously hindering other students from learning. So, I decided to skip right to the big guns.
‘If you don’t want to learn then leave my classroom. Just go to the principal’s office,’ I said in a stern voice.
Suddenly the student jumped up and slammed his desk to the side. ‘Fine, I don’t want to be here anyway!’
‘Go, now!’ I instructed. I stormed over to my room door and held it open. The other students watched in awe as they watched their classmate yell curse words and stumble over the other backpacks in the aisles of the desks.
On his way out, the student looked me dead in the face and said:
‘I hope your baby dies, skank.’
I hardly heard the gasps and mutters from the other students over my own yelling. I can’t remember what I said, but it was enough for another teacher to peak her head out of the room across from me. Tears were streaming down my face as I watched the student casually walk down the hall and take a left toward the principal’s office. That was the first time a student made me cry. I was extremely sensitive, but looking back on it, I probably overreacted.
I cut the lecture short, but the other students were very quiet until the bell dismissed them. One student even asked if I was okay. I wasn’t but I smiled and wished my students the best of luck for their exams.
I had a beautiful baby girl over the summer. Meanwhile, I saw that same student in the hallway on the first day of school. He was headed to remedial Biology.”
Watch Your Mouth
“I recently retired after teaching twelfth grade Economics and Government for over twenty years. I’ve been told I’m a very ‘chill’ teacher, but I’ve had my share of students that required a little more of a push. Teaching high school seniors had it’s ups and downs because many of them began to suffer from the infamous ‘senioritis’ that’s contagious and damaging if it goes too far. Some students just give up halfway through the school year thinking it doesn’t matter, when it reality it does if they are looking at certain universities.
Anyway, one year I decided to give the students a study hall while I caught up grading assignments. My study hall rules were simple: Don’t be too loud. Some students actually studied. Some read, while others just goofed off. There was a group of students near the back of the room that were getting a little rowdy, so I intervened and told them to settle down. I never snap or raise my voice at students. I think I might have even yawned as I said it, but one student out of the group smacked her lips and said something under her breath.
‘You need to learn how to talk to people. That’s probably why your wife left.’
My wife died of cancer ten years ago. Her remark stunned me, but I handled it better than I thought. I’m positive the student didn’t know and was just saying anything to have her few minutes of fame, but it did sting.
Of course the students complained for the rest of the year when we had less study halls during their period.”
Wake Up Call
“About five years ago I weighed nearly four-hundred pounds. I taught at a middle school, so students making comments about my weight were pretty much expected. Still, I did my best to be a fun and active teacher. I made it a mission to make learning fun, even if it meant dressing up and acting extra animated at times. Some students made fun of me for it. Others sent me thank you cards later on for being their favorite teacher. You just don’t see many passionate teachers anymore. This one student quickly made me realized why.
I was teaching a lesson about nutrition. (Ironic I know). I was making jokes about myself like I normally did. I basically said things like, ‘If you over eat fatty foods, you’ll end up like me…maybe bigger!’
The students made nervous chuckles, but one student said, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone bigger than you.’
‘You must not get out much,’ I said before sharing facts about our national obesity rates. The lecture quickly moved on, but soon the same student saw another opportunity to take another jab at me.
He raised his hand and asked, ‘Aren’t you afraid of dying before you’re forty?’
At the time I shrugged it off. It wasn’t necessarily rude, but the student’s tone said it all. He was actively poking fun at my weight, but was very adamant on seeing a reaction instead of just hurting my feelings. Later that same day, I had a revelation. What if I died before the age of forty? I wasn’t married and had no kids. I didn’t even have a dog because I was too lazy to walk one.
That’s when I decided to start taking better care of myself. Years later, I lost over two hundred pounds and still teach. I’ve been saving up money for surgery to remove my excess skin, but it’s so much better than not being able to see my own toes.
I think that kid saved my life.”
“When I first started teaching, I taught high school English at the junior and senior level. During one of my senior classes, there was a group of girls that were never on task. They loved recording themselves and taking silly selfies. It was very annoying and distracting for other students. I had to repeatedly tell the girls to put their phone away. It quickly got old. I understand that they were beautiful and got a lot of attention, but they were literally throwing their lives away for attention from strangers online.
One day I lost my patience and snapped at one of the girls for holding her phone up in the middle of class to take a selfie. I walked over to her desk and said, ‘I’m going to say this once. Put the phone away.’
The girl rolled her eyes and said, ‘We aren’t even learning anything.’
‘That’s because you’re not paying attention,’ I retorted. ‘Put it away.’
To my astonishment, the girl made another comment to her friends. I asked her to repeat herself so everyone could hear.
‘I said this is stupid! I don’t need this class. I have seventy thousand followers.’
I bust out laughing. ‘So? You think that’s going to matter down the years when you’re stuck working at McDonalds?’
I know this was harsh, but I was just so done with her. If she wanted to throw her life away, fine, but not before I tell her she’s making a mistake.
A couple years later she rang up my groceries and didn’t even acknowledge me.”