Chaotic Classroom Moments That Still Bother Teachers


Classroom Chaos And Unforgettable Moments

School is an educational experience, in more ways than one. It can be enlightening, heart-warming, confusing, painful, and joyous all at once.

Whatever the case may be, the memory of what happens in school remains etched on our minds for a long while. Here are some of the most indelible classroom moments imaginable.

Making A Difference


I work as a high school biology teacher in a K-12 private school in the UAE, and last week was our final exams season. During these days students just come in, do their exams, walk out at around 10 am, and then we teachers stay in school grading the papers. Last exam day, which is the last day for students as well, was last Wednesday.

However, the school year is not over for us teachers. We have to stay an extra two weeks for PDs, curriculum mapping for next year and such other things. The story occurred during one of the staff meetings this morning. I met up with one of the grade one teachers, who just happens to be the mother of one of my grade ten students.

She went on talking about how her daughter (let’s call her Anna for now) really enjoyed biology this year and how happy she was with her performance on the final exam. On the day of the final, Anna told her mom that she felt like she aced the test. Here I confirmed that she did! And I tell the mother that Anna is one of the best, brightest and coolest students I’ve ever worked with.

And that is totally true. This is when the mother goes on saying that Anna didn’t like biology earlier. She had been in a different school last year and had not liked her science teachers back there. Now apparently, after I began teaching her, Anna kept boring her parents about random biology facts she learned in school that day on a daily basis.

Upon further conversation, I learn that today, Anna is seriously considering a career in dentistry. And that’s when it hit me. I did that. I know it was not me who turned Anna into this smart young lady who is going to do all these awesome things in her future. She was all those things from the very day that she was born.

All I did was show her that biology can actually be fun, and she did all the rest on her own. And that’s what my job is as a teacher, to help students realize that they can do pretty much anything, even turn things they once thought were boring into exciting career choices. This is basically why I love teaching, and why I became a teacher in the first place.

~ ash_27th

Quite A Spectacle


I’m at a middle school building—seventh and eighth grades—doing my student teaching. Prior to this, I’d been a substitute teacher in the district for about two years. So, I’ve had every student in the building in one classroom or another at some point prior to my student teaching. Sixth period I have lunch duty. The school has two lunch periods, one for each grade.

The period is split in half with the girls eating first while the boys are in an “activity period,” and then they switch. I monitor the seventh graders. The first week, they can sit wherever they like and at the beginning of the second week, their table choices get “locked in.” So, I notice that one particular table has six girls that are all good students and happen to all wear glasses.

As I’m wandering the lunchroom, I’m looking at this table, pondering them, when one of the girls asks what’s up. I mention my above notice and tell them that I was trying to think of a nickname for their table, but I don’t like the one I came up with. They beg me to tell them anyways and I say, “The Respectacles,” combining respect and spectacles.

The combination seemed suitable to me on account of them being strong glasses-wearing ladies. They go nuts for it. Two days later they call for my attention and as I turn to look, they all simultaneously adjust their glasses, strike intellectual-looking poses, and say “Respectacles!” while nodding. This week they told me that I need glasses too so I can be part of the team. Apparently, I’ve got a posse now.

~ webspinner202

Dealing In Truth


Most of our “substance education” materials read like they were written by Amish people who watched movies about 1960s New York. Honestly, the takeaway is that some stranger is going to approach you on the street and try to force substances on you. This was what I walked into when I went to take over a class. Their assignment was to write what they would do in such a situation.

The kids started sharing what they would do if anyone ever offered them some dubious substance. Responses ranged from “be random” to “run screaming.” It still makes me sigh. Having had enough of this ridiculousness, I finally stopped them, made them put down all materials, and finally decided to teach them how the things in question may be presented.

I asked them, “I’m not going to bust you, but has anyone in the room ever taken gum from a friend or classmate?” Hands rose around the room, except for one student. I said to the student, “Really, Gunter? You’ve never taken gum from anyone?” He promptly replied, “No, teacher. I’m the one who has the gum.” I then said, “Well, we’ve met our dealer.”

All the kids look confused. I had to clarify that, in many cases, taking dubious substances was as easy as grabbing a piece of gum from a friend. That, in most cases, it was friends or family who introduced people to the “habit,” not a stranger. Once that was clarified, the students decided that there were better responses than the ones they had previously come up with.

They now thought that maybe, “I’m not into that.” “My mom would be mad at me if I tried something when I’m still a kid,” or “You shouldn’t be doing that, let alone offering it,” were better responses. A few years later, I ran into Gunter, but he didn’t remember my referring to him as the class dealer, but he did think the story was funny.

~ TaedW

Calling A Spade A Spade


I had asked my eighth-grade students to write a one-sentence summary of America’s reaction to Japan targeting Pearl Harbor as an exit ticket and share them with the class. Most students had the expected reaction of “America got mad and nuked Japan,” or more accurately, “America retaliated against the Japanese and entered WWII”.

John, who normally doesn’t interact in class except to act up, raises his hand politely. I took a risk and let him share his piece which was, to put it politely, “America’s reaction to the Pearl Harbor attack was essentially, ‘Talk Nonsense, Get Hit.’” I burst out laughing. It was such a “John” response which also happened to be such a “me” response.

The rest of the class, including John, didn’t know what to do. I regained control and through stifled laughter explained that his actual word choice could have been better but the sentiments were accurate. Next time I’d discipline the cursing but for now, they were free to go to lunch. John tested the boundaries later by trying to curse and make me laugh, which caused some small issues, but ultimately, he learned to keep the language professional.
Still though. “Talk nonsense, get hit,” is a great way to summarize the US’s reaction.

~ NE_Irishguy13

Having A Handle On Things


Whenever I take the roll, I usually get the class to answer a question rather than simply saying “here.” In my Year Seven English class today, I asked everyone to name one fact they knew about WWII because of the book we’re studying at the moment. One boy was clearly the expert, so I asked him to come to the front.

I, then, gave him a whiteboard marker and put a world map up on the projector, and asked him to explain the event. He spoke flawlessly for over 40 minutes and the class was riveted. At one stage, he said to a couple of boys, “Excuse me, but why are you on your iPads? If it’s because you’re doing research, I can assure you that I know what I’m talking about.” He is 12.

~ arabeans

Going Viral


Last year, we had a task in school that involved making a video. I wasn’t able to come on the day my class presented their videos, so I gave the teacher my USB drive—she insisted that she “can’t download files” so I can’t send it—and we agreed that I’ll present it with another class. A while later, I get my USB drive back as well as a grade.

After inserting it into my computer, I’m greeted with something strange: All of my files are shortcuts. 15 minutes, a few Google searches, and an antivirus scan later, I got rid of the trojan horse and recovered my files. I hoped this episode was over, but nothing could be further from the truth. A few days later, I’m with the other class and everyone is getting ready to show their videos.

A student inserts their USB drive and starts searching for their video, when suddenly I see—all of the files are shortcuts. Immediately, I tell the student not to open the file, and explain that it’s a virus and opening the shortcuts will activate it. I offer to fix it after the lesson, and the next student inserts their drive.

What a surprise—all of the files are shortcuts. Confused, I try to insert my own drive, which I know is clean, and lo and behold, shortcuts. Realizing that the computer is the one affected by the virus and it’s infecting the drives, I try to explain the situation to the class. Right afterward, in the corner of my eye, I spot the teacher trying to insert another USB drive.

I told her that if she inserts the drive, it’ll get a virus. She looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t care.” And inserted it anyway. For the rest of the lesson, I remember barely restraining myself from yelling, “No, no, no. Don’t insert it,” and pulling the teacher’s hand away, as she inserts drive after drive, opening the “videos” one by one.

Thankfully, the issue got resolved later. About a week after that lesson, the teacher asked me to copy all the videos to her own USB drive, which, of course, was infected as well. She let me use one of the teachers’ computers, which was clean, so I was able to manually remove the virus from each drive. They also got someone to install an antivirus in all the school computers.

Apparently, that virus spread like wildfire, and almost every single school computer in the city was infected. By the way, I still don’t know what the virus actually does aside from infecting USB drives and other computers. And, boy, am I thankful for that.

~ RifRifRif

Foolproof Plan


So, it’s term three in Australia. This term is the “pay for end-of-year events” term, so I make regular commentary about ensuring school fees are sorted, that they’re getting their formal costs planned, etc. so there are no surprises next term. I also always ask my year 12 classes if they want me to go to formal to see them off.

But this year my morning class is graduating too so it’s doubly special. I’ve had these kids for four years so jokes and banter are pretty common among us. The phrase “get your outfits sorted early so you don’t end up at formal with me looking better than you” has passed my lips to much amusement. These are really good kids.

Anyway, I’d been helping one girl with some problems she’d been having with mathematics last week. Yesterday she turns up in my staff room. I figure she just wants to ask math questions but instead she goes with, “Sir, are you going to the formal?” I tell her of course, as I want to see them all off and say goodbye properly.

She then starts to open her bag. I jokingly go, “Ooh what’s this? Are you asking me to the formal?” Her response is so much better than I could have ever imagined…Instead, she pulls out a giant family-sized chocolate bar. She offers it up to me with the explanation, “This is for you, sir, so you eat it and get fat so you don’t look better than me at the formal.” I spent the next ten minutes practically wetting myself with laughter.

I was so proud of her. Also, the chocolate bar was delicious.


Getting Input


This teacher tale comes after four of my grade seven boys received suspensions and a technology ban that lasted the entire summer until the next school year. This ban included their school email and Google accounts being shut down. What did they do? Well, it started last week. My principal gave me the go-ahead to do a big final project instead of a final exam.

We’d been working away on them in class when I passed by one of my mischievous little rascals—instead of doing his work, he had a very offensive phrase written on his computer in a Google Doc. I don’t think that this kid is prejudiced; he just usually goes out of his way to be as offensive as possible for the shock factor. And it didn’t end there.

What the vice principal and I didn’t realize was that there were four boys involved, including the one caught last week, with this Google Doc and it was 20 pages long with every offensive thing they could possibly think of—cartoon gore, explicit pictures, profanities, etc. They formatted it and color-coded what offensive material they included.

This document was a 20-page, thought out, meticulous, offensive monstrosity that had more effort applied than anything any of them have done all year long, and our school Google Accounts all link to one another. These links are not just to accounts in the school, but in the entire school division. What do these four boys do next?

Well, they end up sharing this document with the only Christian school in our school division. A kindergarten to grade six school. And they shared it not just with the school’s main email address read by the secretaries, but with every student, teacher, and staff member at the Christian School, all of whom received an email asking them to edit this Doc.

Our school found out when their principal called their principal demanding to know how we let this happen. Is it summer yet?

~ elefantstampede

Watching You


My last period of freshman on a Friday, the week after spring break, was nothing short of excruciating. Off-task behavior, no demonstration of respect in our discussion, just 33 annoying 14–15-year-olds. I bet I could disappear and they wouldn’t notice. This was my time to scare the wits out of them and end this for good.

Standing at a robust 5’2, it is easy for me to stealth around my class. I decided to go to my place in the corner atop a cabinet about two meters (eight feet) off the ground, where I can essentially perch like a gargoyle. This isn’t uncommon so the students that saw me didn’t think much of it. There, I found my creepy pig mask that I use during our unit on Lord of the Flies.

I put the mask on and just silently stare down. The bell rings, kids look around to be dismissed and can’t find me. Then, slowly, their reaction goes from, “Where is…what in the world is that?” The shock, fear, and utter disbelief that they had a teacher just this strange was oddly satisfying. I remained perfectly still until they were silent.

Then I cocked my head to the side, and said, “Dismissed.” They filed silently from the room, I stayed in my corner, and thought what a great start to the weekend!

~ magnabellamagister

A Solid Plan


I teach at a large high school, with over 3,000 students, in the middle of a very urban area, one of the 10 largest districts in the US, so we get all kinds of students. We are also 1:1, meaning every student gets issued a laptop for doing their schoolwork. My co-worker was having an issue with a female student during class.

Basically, my co-worker asked the girl to put her laptop up as they were doing an in-class activity, and supposedly this is an ongoing issue. This turned into an argument—but the student turned around and told my co-worker something scandalizing: “I don’t need school, I’ll make more than enough money playing online poker.” Well, good luck with that, I guess.

I hope you make enough money to get another laptop once the school takes theirs back once you graduate or you’re finally kicked out.

~ futureagintern

Kidding Around


I used to work at a summer camp for the children of wealthy faculty and alumni of my university. I was a homeroom monitor, which basically meant I spent all day with the same set of kids—ages six to nine, plus one four-year-old—as well as taught their first, middle, and final class of the day, which was reading, crafts, and music.

I had a horrible coworker, whom we will call Angel, who taught their mathematics class which they took after mine. Because she had worked at the department a few months longer than I, Angel assumed that she had seniority over me and could do whatever she wanted. My fiancé, who worked as the nurse/PE coach for the camp, had previously had a run-in with Angel.

Apparently, she had hit on him, he turned her down, and she reported him to the supervisor for “inappropriate conduct.” The supervisor, who was a rather close friend of ours, wasn’t having any of it, and he gave me an explicit warning, stressing that Angel was manipulative. Anyway, Angel had a terrible habit of running over into my second-class period.

This was mainly because hers was the shortest of the day. It was 45 minutes, as opposed to the hour and fifteen mine had and was rather bitter about it. On this particular day, my kids were being awful in the morning, so I was quite flustered. She, as usual, had decided that she wanted to run over into my class period again.

So, as soon as the clock signaled the end of class, I knocked on the door. The kids, knowing it as a signal to get ready to leave, headed for the door. Angel proceeded to yell at the students to sit down because she dismissed them and not me. So, I said politely that she was running into my class period. So, she turned to me and yelled.

She said, “You do not tell me what to do. I am superior to you and you have to listen to me. So, you can leave and come back in 15 minutes.” The kids became very silent, and I was in shock. One of the first rules they tell us is to be civil in front of the kids. I was actually quite surprised that the children got out of their desks and followed me out the door.

They did so despite her yelling and storming after us. She tried to pull me back by my arm, but because she only weighed 90 pounds, of course, her efforts were futile. As we walked to the building, which was across the campus, the kids were surprised because of the way I had handled the situation. Their comments were along the lines of, “Man, Miss, you were so calm. I would have punched her.”

“You should have roundhouse kicked her like Chuck Norris!” And my favorite little nine-year-old looked up at me and quietly responded, “Miss Angel is a meanie.” Angel had called the supervisor, of course, who told her to get over it. So, she called the superintendent who came to observe the classes the following day. My kids, ever the loyal little pains in the neck, were absolutely perfect in my first class.

As we walked to Angel’s room, one of my boys whispered something diabolical, “Don’t worry, Miss. We have your back.” I dropped them off at Angel’s room with the superintendent, where they were greeted with cookies, fingerpaints, and pie charts for mathematics, and walked back to my classroom across campus to eat and prepare for my lesson.

It takes 15 minutes to get there, and as soon as I walk in, my walkie-talkie lets out a distress signal. I bolted out the door and got back to the math building in record time. I was welcomed with the sight of 20 screaming kids, fingerpaints, and cookies all over the floor, and well, a crying Angel and a distressed-looking superintendent.

“Handle this!” he said, as he pulled me in the door, and the chaos stopped. The children retrieved their things and lined up at the door quietly. Angel was asked to stay behind with the superintendent, while I escorted my kids to my classroom, and proceeded to have a pleasant lesson. The superintendent came to my classroom just as we were preparing for lunch.

He informed me that I would be teaching mathematics from now on, receiving half of Angel’s pay, because she was being removed. I could have sworn I saw some of the kids fist-pumping. Apparently, Angel was convinced that I put the kids up to it, and said a few choice words about me, as well as some of the other faculty.

One of these mentioned people happened to be the superintendent’s niece. My little kids really followed through for me. I couldn’t have been prouder of them, albeit a little guilty (not guilty) about Angel.

~ BethMarieCantoo

A Prime Case Of The Giggles


I got moved to teaching young kids this year. I used to teach grades ten and above before this but now I work in a school in the UAE, and they have a different system here. Anyway, I was teaching in a grade four class today and was talking to the kids about how plants can make their own food, using photosynthesis, while animals can’t.

So, one of the brightest kids in the class—and this kid is just a genius—puts his hand up with this mischievous smile on his face. I was curious to see what’s up because the last I checked there is not anything funny about photosynthesis. Right? So, I call on the boy to speak up and his smile widens even more with each word he says.

He says, “Mr., if an animal gives birth to a baby and then eats it, does that count as animals making their own food?” He started giggling at the end of his question. In response, I laughed uncontrollably for a solid two minutes. All the other kids in class looked at me as if I was crazy.

~ ash_27th

Hamming It


So, I am a middle school teacher and have been doing this for ten years now. Students are not always at their best but this one takes the cake for the strangest discipline issue I’ve been a part of. Now, this was a few years ago, so I’ll refrain from direct quotes until the end. I used to work for a smaller school with a very small mix of students. There were 20 or so students per classroom, 60 per grade. We had a classroom pet, a hamster named Amelia.

Students have chores to care for the hamster before school and they respect that she is left alone during content parts of class, mostly. All the students love Amelia, and she frequently uses her hamster ball for exercise during study hall.

One day, we are all coming in from recess, and the alarm is raised. Amelia is gone and the cage is open. Now, Amelia is a little bit of a Houdini. If that cage is secured exactly right, she finds her way out. Never goes far, as most of the kids are very, very careful. So, it is not a commonplace event but no malicious intent is suspected.

As a class, we spend some time looking for her, and I pop over to my neighboring teacher’s room to give her a heads up. Our “wall” between our classrooms is a divider with hamster-sized gaps, so sometimes she’s over there. On my way back, I notice something strange in the hallway. A few pieces of the bedding in the cage are on the floor in the hall.

They are right in front of some of my student’s lockers, which are inches away. Now, as the hamster lives in my room and had never left breadcrumbs or shown signs of telekinetic abilities, my suspicions have been triggered. I call up admin, share that I am suspicious of the contents of said lockers, and asked if they would come do a locker check.

Admin agrees with my suspicion and decides a locker check in that area is warranted. Lo and behold, an opened locker reveals more bedding inside. Now, kids are weird. They collect weird things. If you had never seen the inside of a typical bank of middle school lockers you might be astounded by the variety of strange things that come out.

However, with Amelia at large, this is a bit concerning. A quick lookup leads us to Bob, the current user of the locker. Now, Bob went home during recess. He suddenly felt sick and had “thrown up” in the bathroom. Now, we don’t like to throw around accusations, but a tiny life is missing so we call up Bob’s mother. Bob’s understanding mother.

We explain what we’ve found, she’s upset and drags her son back into the school. Bob denies any knowledge of Amelia’s AWOL status. So, we ask about the bedding material. Bob claims he thought the bedding would be cool, so he took some of it weeks ago and we are only now noticing. This is despite the fact that the hallways are swept nightly.

But Bob is in this for the long haul. He starts to well up in tears and asks how we could accuse him of endangering Amelia in any way. Big crocodile tears are streaming down his face for a solid 20 minutes. It’s late, he’s not budging, and we are not a school that has cameras. We decide to give him the benefit of the doubt.

All of us classroom teachers—all eight of us since we are a small school—stay late and look for Amelia. We set up peanut butter traps—100% success previously—check in cabinets, and do the whole nine yards. Bob’s mom says she’ll keep an eye out, and we all go home. Over the next two days, students express concern and worry and Bob is right there with them.

He is so worried about her getting food. He expresses horror when a student suggests she got outside and may have become food. He helps search for her before school. Now, Bob has a little sister. She’s five, so not super reliable, but old enough. Three days later, Bob’s mother comes in when she brings him to school and asks to speak to me.

She is furious. Her daughter got scared of a little tan ‘monster’ running around her room and told her mother. I hand her some peanut butter and a shoebox and tell her how to set a trap. Meanwhile, Bob is getting unpacked, sulking and loudly complaining that his mother thinks he took the hamster and he’d never do that.

No one is surprised when his mom comes in about two hours later, Amelia safely captured, and thankfully unharmed. Well, Bob gets called to the office again. I’m on my prep and am asked to join. Now Bob does not know yet that his mother has come into the school. She asked us not to tell him and to give him one more chance.

Now, admitting mistakes is hard for anyone, much less a 14-year-old boy. Bob is evidently an excellent actor as he is crying again about how he’s being hounded. These are big ol’ crocodile tears. But that’s not the best part. He brings up the Salem Witch Trials, he accuses us of discrimination, and the indignation is endless. Our admin patiently waits for him to stop talking

Bob is still sniffling. Once he stops talking, the admin tells him that his mother has just found and dropped off Amelia. Bob tries one more time. Tearfully, he explains that his friend gave him a hamster and it just so happens to look like Amelia but truly and honestly that is not her. Now, our admin is a “wait them out” kind of guy.

He sits in silence and just looks at Bob. It’s a staring contest for two minutes. I remain silent because I just don’t know what to say at this point. It’s so quiet you can hear the clock ticking as each second goes by. All of a sudden Bob stops sulking, sits up straight and says in his normal voice, “Ah. I thought I could get away with it.” If Bob becomes an A-list actor someday, I would not be surprised.

~ Agirlhas1kidney

A Hard-Hitting Message


Back when I worked in elementary schools, I worked with a hearing-impaired kindergartner. One day he shows up with this huge scab on his forearm so I ask him how it happened. He tells me that while riding his bike, he ran into a street sign and fell off his bike. I immediately imagined how funny it would be if he ran into a stop sign.

So, I asked him, “What sign did you run into?” He answered, “The ‘Deaf Child Playing’ sign!” Then he throws his hands up in the air and adds, “I ran into my own sign!”

~ Superfluous1