It's no secret that teachers have one of the most important yet least appreciated jobs in the world. They're responsible for molding young minds and instilling values in students that can last the rest of their lives, and can even inspire kids on who they want to become. That's why it's so frustrating when there's someone in class who insists on being disruptive, disrespectful, or just generally uncivil.
Sometimes, by some divine providence, an opportunity presents itself for a teacher to enact sweet, sweet revenge upon on unruly student, a circumstance so perfect that it's nearly impossible to pass up. Whether it's making cheaters read their plagiarized papers out loud in class or executing a complex, devious plan to ruin a girl's future in medical school, these kids will never, ever forget the lessons they learned. Here are some of Reddit teacher's craftiest, most ruthless stories of how they got back at 'that kid.' Content edited for clarity.
"I taught English at a ritzy private school in South Korea. We weren't allowed to discipline the kids for any reason, no matter what, because the school was making money from their tuition.
For the most part, the kids (grade 5-6) were pretty good, but there was this one kid who was a little prick about everything, always disruptive, bullying the other kids, throwing pencils, writing curse words on the whiteboard 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 punk, but it made me feel better knowing that he was knocked down a few pegs."
"I was an English adjunct professor for a few years and my favorite story involves 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 caring what you were doing as long as you weren't annoying your neighbors.
They all put the minimum effort into the class. None of them cared at all 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 freaking sample essay from a grammar workbook website.
I failed her for the assignment, gave her the usual plagiarism 'I caught you' speech, and reported it per department rules. At that point, she could've still passed, 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? She claimed she hadn't plagiarized as she DIDN'T. WRITE. THE. PAPER.
Me: 'Excuse me?'
Her: '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 '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 looked 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 can usually 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 fool and get you expelled.
Welp, in class on the day of the trial, all her friends were talking (loudly) about how they were going to write about how terrible of a professor I was on our reviews, just because I did my job.
Then I went in for the trial and, surprise, 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. It all happened 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. Eff 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."
"I had a letter mailed to my office with paid postage and everything that was basically threatening me, saying I'd better stop 'handing out' Cs and Ds or 'word on the street' was going to be that I was a bad teacher, no one would take my class, and I'd be out of a job.
I had a pretty good idea of who it was and obviously immediately ruled out all the students doing well in my classes, but I didn't think direct accusations would really be effective.
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 an idiot!' 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'm a high school teacher and I once had a little prick of a kid we'll call Anthony. He complained about everything, did no work whatsoever, talked smack about everyone, made fun of kids with disabilities; you name it, he did it. And, of course, he was always the first to start shrieking that he was the victim in every situation, that everyone was against him, that he always got picked on, and so forth.
Now, in my teaching career, which has spanned the better part of a decade, I've taught more than a thousand kids. Plenty of those have been 'bad' kids. The thing about bad kids is, they're usually bad for fairly simple reasons: stuff going on at home, unmedicated or undiagnosed mental illness, trauma in their past, heck, maybe they're just lonely. If you pay attention, you can usually find out why almost any kid is acting out.
That said, out of 1,000+ kids, I've encountered maybe ten who are genuinely broken people. You could call them sociopaths. They have no trace of empathy and no trace of conscience or even inner life. They're people who basically exist to serve their own desires, exclusively, and have no compunction about how they might most quickly realize those desires.
Anthony was one of those kids. The worst thing about him was his constant tendency to immediately tear apart anything that anyone else had put effort into, including my lessons. We would nearly have these very vulnerable, tender moments in the classroom where kids were talking about big, important issues and really growing intellectually in awesome and uncomfortable ways...and then Anthony would call them gay or whatever else.
One day, this girl Patrice (an incredibly sweet, sensitive girl with an artist's heart) was sharing something in class for the first time. She was visibly nervous and spoke with a shaky voice. Anthony, of course, began making fun of her hair, her glasses, and her face. It was quiet enough that it was plausibly a whisper but loud enough so that we could all hear what he was saying. I started walking toward his desk but was interrupted when Patrice very, very calmly said, 'Fudge you, Anthony,' only she didn't say 'fudge.'
The entire class went dead silent. This girl never spoke, let alone swore, and she said it with such self-control. Everyone's eyes were on me, waiting for me to react. Anthony started screaming, 'DID YOU HEAR THAT? SHE SAID FUDGE! YOU ALWAYS GET ME IN TROUBLE WHEN I SAY THAT, THIS AIN'T FAIR, HOW THIS UGLY WITCH GONNA...'
I replied, 'Huh? I didn't hear anything,' turned back around, and continued the lesson. A few kids cheered. It felt really good.
When Anthony was a senior, he was arrested at 18 for carrying a weapon without a permit. He did a year or so in jail and came out on parole, during which time he started selling weed. An acquaintance of his bought an eighth of an ounce off of him, and after the deal was over, Anthony shot the kid in the chest five or six times so he could get his weed back.
Anthony's friend apparently told Anthony to shoot the kid in the head to make sure he hadn't survived, but Anthony assured his friend that they had definitely killed him. The two left and the victim called the police on his cell phone. He survived and Anthony is currently serving a hefty prison sentence for attempted murder. Yeah, he's a real dumpster human."
"My friend who was a professor for years told me this story. He had a group of lousy, talkative students who started acing the weekly tests in the seminar periods. We're talking going from marginally passing to a sudden spike of consistent 100%'s. He figured out that they had a friend in an earlier seminar period in the week feeding them the questions before they took it themselves.
He emailed them and instead of busting them, he asked them to teach the whole class on their new found study habits. He made them all stand in front of the class and 'teach' everyone how they study. The whole lesson was a load of bull and was plainly visible to everyone.
Then, for the next test, he rotated the questions for their seminar time. The whole group got 0/10 across the board. He emailed them again and said, 'Guess those study habits need some tweaking, huh?'"
"I've been a professor at a state university for the past 17 years and teach pre-health and pre-med students. I have many stories, both good and bad, but I'd never felt the need to retaliate against a student. Until one day, I met my nemesis. This student wanted to go to medical school, though they were of questionable intellect and came off as socially inept and personally odious.
My class and I stood in her way, so I had to be shoved out of the way on her route to being a healer. She figured the best way to get ahead was to be the squeaky wheel and complain about everything. In academia, if you complain enough about a class, we give you a high grade and send you up to the next poor schmuck for you to torment. Rinse and repeat.
This meant that my nemesis went all out to find everything and anything to complain about: Exam had 80 questions on it, syllabus said 75 questions, COMPLAINT. Lecture notes were released in a format that was based on PDF, but the student wanted PowerPoint, COMPLAINT. Missed questions on quizzes and material wasn't covered in lecture but assigned readings, COMPLAINT. 'Inappropriate' language in anatomy lecture, COMPLAINT. I was unable to return her emails the same day she wrote them, COMPLAINT. Everything I did, said, or thought about, COMPLAINT.
By the end, she had escalated these issues all of the way to the top and I got called into the dean's office. My administrators above me had worked with me for years, giving me no fear of a student 'going over my head' with a complaint. But by golly did this girl try.
Dean: 'This student has sent more than a dozen complaints to the administration.'
Me: 'Just a dozen? I was betting far, far more.'
Dean: 'Normally we would let this pass as this student is known for doing this, and has even involved legal counsel in previous classes. But you have somehow exceeded her previous complaint record by a factor of 3, and none of her other instructors this semester have gotten one. She has singled you out for complaints and some appear to be about you specifically targeting her. So just go easy, don't antagonize her, ride it out, and be done with it.'
Me: 'Thanks, dean, good talk.'
My nemesis kept it up. I gave her a higher grade than she deserved (which I believe was the whole point, as she needed the grades for med school). Then I washed my proverbial hands of the matter
A year later, I was assigned to be the head of the faculty commitee that creates group letters of recommendation for medical school applications, and she submitted the form for our committee to create her recommendation packet. Students can, and SHOULD, waive the right to have these evaluations. If you are afraid of what a professor will say about you, don't ask them for a letter.
My nemesis made sure to point out to the committee in a formal letter that because of problems with ALL of the professors that would be writing letters, she wanted to make sure their letters were appropriate and of the correct tone and content before we sent them off. Therefore, she wanted to review the letters before approving them for inclusion in her packet. Nobody wanted to drop the atom bomb on her and write an honest letter since, you know, lawyers, so our hands were tied.
However, some brave soul went around and solicited her letter writers into creating sublime choruses of praise; these would be the letters you would expect to read to the Nobel Committee about Hawking, Einstein, Newton, and Feynman. We are talking true works of art. Nobody would believe that a student with this background or MCAT score could get one of these eulogy masterpieces, let alone a whole panel.
Then I included a note from the committee stating that the student had previously filed academic complaints against each and every professor that wrote her a letter, therefore these letters may not reflect her true academic potential. We got our school lawyer to check it with a fine tooth comb, but our committee 'had a duty in our recommendation letter to inform those reading the professors' individual recommendations if there may be a mitigating circumstance or formal action that could influence the accuracy and quality of the recommendations.' The thing is, the student does not have the right to see that part unless they request it later...after the letters have been sent out, unfortunately for them.
So this girl carpet bombed the medical schools with primary applications; every big, small, and offshore school that existed got one. The cost must have been staggering, but with parents that can afford lawyers for their brat in undergrad, I'm sure they footed the bill gladly to get her out of the house. Within her application packet came those beautiful letters and those three explosive paragraphs explaining that this student filed academic complaints against every letter writer and did not waive the right to keep their letters secret. It doesn't take a genius on the admissions committee of each of these schools to read between the lines and drop that application in the trash before granting an interview.
She did not get one interview. More than 30 applications, and not one school invited her to continue her application process. That warrants a professorial, 'BOOOO-YAAAAAH!' For those of you whose lives I may have saved by preventing her from becoming the most litigious and incompetent doctor imaginable and messing up treatment to you or your loved ones, you are most heartily welcome."
"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, the professor said their final conclusion statements out loud.
It turned out that they stole from his own body of work and changed just enough of the paper to make it past the plagiarism-bot, but he read every paper anyway. To this day, it was the most awkward and hilarious thing I have ever seen.
He then told them that every paper they wrote from then on 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 of the class and he would call on them first for very vague questions. He was simply furious that these two stole from him, called it their own ideas, changed it into a weaker structure, and then complained about their low-grade. He crushed them, and it was great."
"When I was in high school, I was a library assistant at the elementary school that my mom taught at. There was this one little prick who was always bullying this kid who was a little heavier set than most. I would always tell him to stop and he would for a bit, but the next day he would carry on.
One day, I'd finally had enough and told him that he needed to go to the principal's office, and he responded, 'I don't need to listen to you, I'm strong!' so I knew that I needed to do something else. I told him that since he's so 'strong,' for the rest of the class period, he would have to stand in the middle of the room with his arms stretched out. Let me just say that it is more difficult than it sounds.
He took it as a challenge and walked his stupid, smug face to the middle of the library and started holding his arms out. It didn't even take a minute for him to start lowering them, and I would turn to him and say, 'Yeah, you must be really strong,' real sarcastically and he would lift them back up.
About five minutes had passed when my mom walked into the library to see what was up. My mom and I chatted for a second and then she noticed the turd face standing in the middle of the room and asked what he was doing. The kid's face went red immediately.
I told my mom that he was bullying other students and was being very disrespectful. It turned out that my mom was this kid's favorite teacher and he had no idea that I was her daughter. He ran and started crying into my mom's skirt and apologized, but my mom still took him to the principal. The rest of the year he wasn't such a punk.
Looking back, I don't think I went about it in a good way, but I was 17 and had no tolerance for bullies since I was bullied a good bit when I was younger. I guess things worked out in the end, though."
"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 was always acting very rowdy and normal threats or punishments weren't working.
Somehow he found out that this kid loved Game of Thrones, so one day when he asked the kid to quiet down and he refused, my cousin walked over, leaned into his ear, and whispered to him a massive spoiler that only a reader of the books would know.
Then he informed the kid that every time he misbehaved, he would spoil some more big plot points. 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 stopped acting up in class after that."
"This is a story my 5th-grade teacher told my class. She had a very strict policy about passing notes in class, and a couple of years before I had her there was a group of girls that she suspected of passing notes to each other but could never catch.
Then one day after all the students had gone home, she found a large stack of old notebook paper on the floor. It was a note more than 10 pages long that had been stapled and taped together. The girls in question had been passing this same note around and adding to it, presumably since the beginning of the school year.
This teacher also liked to give out a lot of extra points. She would put bonus questions on homework, give out extra credit assignments to students who had all their work finished, stuff like that, and she would keep track of how much each student had accumulated throughout the year.
At the end of each semester, she would have an auction where the students could spend the extra credit they'd accumulated on prizes which were usually toys and candy. My teacher saved the note that the girls had written until the end of the semester and then auctioned it off to a group of boys in the class. She said none of the girls in question passed notes after that."
"A lot of the guys in my high school would dip during class. Most of the teachers would just roll their eyes, tell them to spit it out, and confiscate the rest. However, a couple teachers that were known for punishing teens who dipped would go so far as to suspend them for it.
One of those teachers really enjoyed messing with her students. If she realized you were dipping, she'd give you an out: you could either admit to dipping and get sent to the office for disciplinary action OR you could drink from the spit bottle that you were pretending was a Coke.
I witnessed too many classmates try to avoid punishment by taking a big swig, only to rush off to the bathroom and vomit. I can't say they didn't know the risk before they walked in, though.
I always half-feared and half-looked forward to attending that class just to watch them panic while debating suspension or taking a swig of their own nasty brown tar-spit. It was like watching a traffic accident unfold in front of you in slow motion because they were messed up either way and they knew it."
"In a college freshman composition class, I had a student who was constantly making obnoxious, deeply prejudiced comments in class. He thought he was the edgy class clown but mostly he was just annoying.
He 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 depression' 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.
When he finally wrote an essay that was basically just a barely coherent rant about how much he hates Muslims (including a part about how 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."
"I had a student who, no matter how many conversations I had with her, with her counselor, and with her parents, she refused to do assignments or turn anything in. She was of the opinion that my class was a throwaway, an easy A.
So I let her fail. I stopped reaching out to her for the last six weeks of the semester and let her build her own gallows for her GPA. She came to me panicked two days before the final, begging for extra credit.
'But, I'll fail!'
'Yeah, you will. The real world works like this, and if you don't do what's required of you, you fail. I tried to help but you never cared.'
'I can't have an F!'
'That's really not my problem at this point. Take it up with the principal, kid.'"