Teaching is an honorable profession. For many students, the right teacher can change their life, inspire a love of learning, and set them on the path to success.
Dumbest Things a Teacher Has Ever Said
However, occasionally, one comes across the sort of teacher who leaves you with the greatest life lesson of all: what not to say.
Read more to learn the dumbest things real-life teachers have ever told their students.
1. The history teacher who needed a geography lesson
“My 7th-grade history teacher told me that Pearl Harbor was in Japan…” remembered another Redditor.
The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces in 1941 brought World War II to US soil (specifically Honolulu, Hawaii). A very fundamental piece of knowledge for any middle school history teacher.
2. The teacher who doesn’t understand puns
As a third-grader, this online user decided to write a book report on “Amber Brown Goes Fourth.” The title clearly has a double meaning, as the book is about a young girl ‘going forth’ into fourth grade.
What is obvious to some seven-year-olds, however, might not be so apparent to an adult: “My teacher docked one point every time I used the title of the book, because ‘Fourth’ is not the correct spelling of the term ‘Forth’ and refused to discuss the matter when I tried to explain that it was a play on words.”
3. The geography teacher who needed a geography lesson
“My geography teacher told the class [that] Djibouti was pronounced ‘Dubai,’” shared an online user.
Djibouti is an East African country, while Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates. The two places are located 1,233 miles away from each other, which is as close as the teacher came to being correct in their statement.
4. The teacher for whom two plus two doesn’t always equal four
For most students, math is one of those school subjects that appears to be straightforward—the rules of math rarely change, right?
However, this Redditor’s teacher took an innovative approach to math by offering this illuminating advice: “No, you can’t just double it. You have to multiply it by two.”
5. The science teacher who is 99% incorrect
One high school science teacher confidently told his students, “99% of the matter in the universe is oxygen.” According to his former student, the teacher not only defended his mistaken assumption, but he also expected that answer on his tests for years.
“Not even the air we typically breathe is 99% oxygen…” replied a commenter in disbelief. For clarification, a combination of hydrogen and helium is what actually makes up 99% of the universe’s mass.
6. The Francophobic teacher
“We were coming up with words that began with a certain letter,” wrote an online user, “and for ‘E’, I suggested ‘Escargot.’ I was told off for making things up.”
“Haven’t you heard? France and the French aren’t real,” joked another Redditor. Those interested in food (or France) know that escargot is a French delicacy, which consists of snails cooked and served in their shells with garlic-parsley butter.
7. The organizationally challenged teacher
One former student remembered the time their teacher issued this confusing direction: “I said put those papers in A-B-C order, not alphabetical order!”
“How do these people become teachers?” wondered a fellow Redditor.
8. The teacher who does not own a dictionary
A common theme among these anecdotes is apparently having to draw upon academic resources for proof.
When this Redditor’s teacher told took points off an assignment because ‘spectators’ was not a real word, they knew exactly where to look for backup: “I had to go to the library and grab a dictionary to get my marks back. This was in my senior year of high school.”
9. The condescending teacher who tried to ‘help’
“I overheard a teacher talking about how stupid one of her students was for spelling ‘panicking’ with a K in an essay,” wrote another online user, who remembers the teacher saying, “’She knows panic doesn’t have a K in it, so obviously panicking doesn’t, but she just couldn’t make the connection.’”
10. The teacher who wasn’t an animal lover
For this online user, the sting of this incident has yet to fade, even twenty years later.
After their English teacher assigned a one-page report on an animal, they chose to write about the agouti—a two-foot-long rodent native to Central and South America.
10. The teacher who wasn’t an animal lover
As a result, their teacher took points off their grade because, according to them, the agouti was an imaginary creature.
“I went and got the dictionary and looked up ‘agouti.’ There was a PICTURE of an agouti,” the former student recalled, but the teacher was unconvinced. “I showed it to her, and she just smiled tightly at me. No apology, no fixing my grade, no admittance that she was wrong. Nothing.”
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This article People Share 10 Dumbest Things a Teacher Has Ever Said was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Reddit source.
I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.
I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!
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