Becoming a teacher requires a lot of training--teachers get a bachelor's degree, do student teaching, even shadow teachers in the classroom. But that doesn't mean every teacher is great at their job. Some teachers are so bad at teaching, they're just unprofessional--to students, parents, even their co-workers. According to these students, most of these teachers should probably be fired, if they haven't already. Read through these stories of the worst, most unprofessional teachers in the business! Keep in mind, stories were edited for clarity.
A Real Piece Of Work
“My AP US History teacher was a piece of work. This was during my junior year of high school and there was a guy in the class named Alex. Now, Alex did slack off and was the class clown. I found him annoying as heck and didn’t like him one bit. But Mr. K would tell him in front of the entire class that he’s going nowhere, he might as well drop the class, he’s going to get a 0 on the AP exam, and he’ll be working at McDonald’s the rest of his life, etc. You can talk to a student privately about how it may not be in their best interests to be in the class, but the way he said it and that he did it in front of the entire class was really awful. Multiple people in the class went up to the administration about it but nothing happened.
For more context, this is the same teacher who didn’t let girls in their junior year of high school go to the restroom during class more than twice a semester because he thought they were genuinely skipping class. Multiple people just bled onto their chairs because he didn’t let anyone leave. Thankfully at least that actually got addressed by the school administration. He was told he couldn’t apply a strict numerical limit on restroom trips for anyone anymore.
Rough At Home And School
“My brother’s first-grade teacher stood the special needs kid in front of the class and told them all that Johnny dressed himself like a baby. His shirt was on backwards and his shoes were on the wrong feet. It was well-known in our tiny school that Johnny and his brother had a rough home life. They were frequently dirty and disheveled. But the teacher made sure his classmates took notice, as well.
She also made fun of my brother’s speech impediment when she’d force him to read out loud. He started getting migraines so bad that he had to be medicated. My mom showed some real restraint by not scalping that witch when she called for a PT conference with the Principal.”
A Little Overreaction
“My 8th grade Social Studies teacher who rarely assigned homework actually did assign homework one night, but almost no one turned it in the next day. She had a massive meltdown and yelled, ‘I bet you all did your math homework last night, didn’t you?! DIDN’T YOU?!?!’ and proceeded to take the overhead projector and slam it onto the floor, breaking it in front of all of us. Then she just walked out of the room and didn’t come back for the rest of class.
At 13, was pretty shocking to see. She was back the next day, though I don’t recall her assigning homework for the rest of the year.”
Mistreatment And Denial
“When I was in first grade my teacher would send me to ESL (English as a second language) since apparently she thought I only spoke Spanish…English is the only language I speak. She would also turn her back and ignore me when I had a question or would raise my hand in class. I told my parents about it so they spoke to my teacher and she denied everything and continued to treat me this way all year.
I thought my parents would take care of the problem because they knew even as a kid I didn’t lie. But my teacher spun her story to make me look like I was causing problems in class, and even though my parents didn’t buy the story, they had no proof she was mistreating me to show the principal or anyone else above her.”
Maybe She Shouldn’t Work With Children
“I had a ‘regular substitute’ in kindergarten (was our only sub whenever the teacher had to miss class, so she was essentially a second teacher) who refused to answer any questions while she was teaching.
My mother also made me go to two schools for Kindergarten. One was a private school so I would ‘learn at a faster pace,’ and one was a public school so I wasn’t a ‘weird private school kid’ (mom’s words, not mine). 2 days a week, I had to go to public school in my private school uniform. This was fine, and I don’t remember being picked on, but one day I really had to pee. It was on a day where I didn’t have time to go home a change out of the uniform, which was why I also hadn’t gone to the bathroom all day.
I had my hand up for a good 15 minutes, which feels like an hour to a 5-year-old who has to pee, and she was blatantly ignoring me. I finally couldn’t hold it anymore, and I peed myself in my nice, expensive uniform. Finally, after the lesson, where I had been sitting in my own urine for 15 more minutes, she finally asks me why I had my hand up.
‘I had to go to the bathroom but I don’t anymore.’
‘WELL WHY DIDN’T YOU PUT YOUR HAND UP?? ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS SHOUT OUT ‘MRS. FARMER I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM’.’
‘I had my hand up…’
‘Then go ahead. Go to the bathroom then!’
I walked to the bathroom to pretend like I hadn’t peed myself, and I vividly remember that my seat was barely damp, and apparently all the pee in my tiny bladder had just soaked into my pants. My mom was furious when she found out, after asking me why I smelled funny when I got in her car, and she chewed the substitute teacher out as well as made a complaint to the principal, or so I was told years later when it inevitably came up during a discussion with my mom.
Forget you, Mrs. Farmer. You didn’t even have real eyebrows, and we all knew you used a brown marker to draw them on. Thanks for making me pee my pants.”
Insane And Inappropriate
“I had a teacher in middle school who was incredibly weird and inappropriate. He did messed-up stuff pretty much daily, but here are some specific things I remember him doing:
-Making jokes about the female students being pregnant, or being involved with other male teachers. Bear in mind, we were 12 years old at this point.
-Cutting off bits of students’ hair when they weren’t looking, laughing and showing it off, then taping it up behind his desk.
-He had a rubber chicken that he’d make hump things, stick his fingers in while doing creepy voices for, etc.
This was a small private school and there were only about 20 kids in our class, and the girls went to the Headmaster multiple times about how uncomfortable this made us feel. This was well before the ‘Me Too’ movement and everything, so we didn’t have the vocabulary to put to what was going on, but we knew it didn’t feel right. We were dismissed as making things up and just trying to get out of doing our coursework.
Then, one day the guy skipped town entirely. It’s still not clear why. From what I’ve heard since the rumor was that the school discovered he didn’t have his teaching license or whatever. Throughout the course of looking into this, the school started hearing more and more stories about the guy, including from the male students. Suddenly, not only did they ~magically~ believe that the guy was messed up, but we actually got scolded for ‘not telling someone sooner.’
Fifteen years later and I still get a bad taste in my mouth whenever I think about it. Ugh.”
Nobody Felt Bad In The End
“My third-grade teacher was absolutely horrible. I was in a Japanese immersion program all through elementary school where half the day was in Japanese with one teacher and the other half in English with a different teacher. Our Japanese teacher, I’ll call her Ms. Smith, was HORRIBLE and here are some examples:
-She made every single student in class cry at one point or another, and many of the parents too.
-She would tie kids to their chairs if they were too wiggly or restless.
-Whenever a pencil or other small object was found on the floor she would go into a huge rant about how we were trying to kill her because she could step on it and break her neck.
-She told parents that her ‘door was always open’ but also forbid them from walking their children into class in the mornings (we were 8-year-olds).
-She encouraged us to participate in extracurriculars like after-school clubs or reading the morning announcements but then did whatever she could to make us late for said engagements and refused to take responsibility for it.
This is just a small sampling. Because she was from Japan and it was so hard to find Japanese teachers they didn’t get rid of her for much longer than they should have. They moved her around to a couple different schools/programs trying to find ‘the right fit’ but finally had to fire her and ban her from the school district. That happened around 2006/2007 when I was in middle school.
Sometime in high school around 2009/2010, we got word that she had been diagnosed with some kind of very painful, terminal cancer. Our Japanese teacher told us this solemnly and no one reacted. At all. She repeated herself then finally this one kid who was known for telling it like it is said ‘well…that’s karma.’ It’s a mean thing to say but it’s true and we were all thinking it. She was a horrible, horrible person and while I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone, it is really hard for me to feel bad for her. I have no idea if she’s still alive or not.”
“She Was Calling Me A Freak”
“My PE teacher got very close to being fired.
I have phonophobia, which is a fear of loud noises, and the school bell would trigger it, so I would cover my ears when it went off.
One of my bullies told this rabid PE teacher that I wasn’t getting changed out of my PE kit due to covering my ears in anticipation of the bell.
The PE teacher came marching through, screaming at me and started trying to drag my hands from my ears. She was calling me a freak and saying it was pathetic, then would pull on my arms some more. I couldn’t take my hands away from my ears because the phobia makes my hands lock.
When she did let me go, I ended up going to my biology lesson in tears. My mum went ballistic over it, called the school, and the PE teacher was real close to being fired – this was on top of reports from other parents about the same teacher manhandling students and even dismissing kids with broken fingers as being soft.”
This Teacher Seriously Needs To Be Fired, Like Yesterday
“In high school during my sophomore year, my teacher had us go around the room and guess who was ‘pure’ or not based on just meeting each other. One girl that most said was ‘unpure’ started bawling because she was intimately abused as a child but besides that had never voluntarily had relations with someone. It was all due to some idiotic class exercise that’s meant to show kids that most of their peers aren’t hooking up as much as is depicted in the media and not to feel bad about it (with extremely poor execution, of course).
Not An Engineer
“In 6th grade, we had a school project to come up with inventions. Most of the ideas were stupid kid stuff like an extendable arm so you can reach stuff without getting up. In fact, I think three different kids came up with that same ‘invention.’
I decided to be different and my idea was a self-cleaning carpet. Like most kid inventions, it didn’t really work, it was just an idea of something that I thought would be cool. We were 11, not engineers. Anyway, we had to give a presentation in front of two classes, and my teacher apparently thought it was the dumbest idea she’d ever heard. She preceded to make fun of me and berate me publicly and tried to get the other kids to join in on it. If that wasn’t bad enough, it lasted a ridiculously long time. 11-year-olds aren’t exactly known for empathy, but the entire class was uncomfortable and felt bad for me. It was at that point we realized we didn’t have a very good teacher.
Also, I got a D-.”
Now I Feel Good About Myself…
“I was clinically anorexic in elementary school because of a medical treatment I was going through at the time. I didn’t intentionally starve myself, the medicine just completely removed my appetite and I didn’t feel ‘hungry,’ even after a day of not eating anything. I was extremely underweight (think daddy longneck for an example of my body) and very self-conscious about it, and my fifth-grade teacher was very sweet and motherly to me, always bringing me homemade snacks to get me to eat something. The other fifth-grade teacher wasn’t aware of my condition, so she just thought I was a picky eater. One day, I was walking past her classroom to go to the office and she happened to be outside the classroom. She yelled, ‘Where ya going, little anorexic woman?’
It’s not nearly as bad as she could have been, but still not a nice thing to say to a 10-year-old kid. That definitely didn’t help my self-esteem.”
What Did He Think Was Going To Happen?
“My primary school headmaster wanted to show how rough sandpaper was, so he ran it down a student’s face (we were about 8 at the time).
It took about a year for the damage to heal. Luckily it didn’t leave a permanent scar or anything.
Granted, the headmaster was very surprised; it was a spur-of-the-moment thing and I guess he hadn’t realized what it would do. Why the kid’s parents didn’t sue after, I don’t know, but since he was the Headmaster, I’m guessing he made sure the local authority didn’t find out.”
Unidentified Crazy Teacher
“I used to be really into reading about paranormal stuff; ghosts, UFOs, cryptozoology, poltergeists, etc etc. And the school library actually had a lot of books on those very subjects. This was back when I was in the 7th grade.
I had a teacher snatch a school library book out of my hands, scream at me that I was going down to the devil for reading it, and start tearing the pages out. She was almost fired for destroying school property and caught a big dose of sass from both my mother and stepmother at the next parent-teacher conference meeting. I never had another problem with her after that.”
“For my first two years of college, I went to a local community college. In my first semester, I took English Composition. I’ve always been strong at reading and writing, so I looked forward to the class.
My classmates were awesome. We had a study group. I was 18, there were some people in their mid-20s, a woman in her 40s, this hippy guy who would randomly blurt something out – it was really fun.
But the instructor was another story. She was young and fresh out of her graduate program. She did lots of things that were super unprofessional, but I’ll tell you about the worst one.
She had a personal blog where she blogged about her life, education, how ‘woke’ she was, etc. It was an assignment that we had to comment on three of her blogs weekly. That was bad enough, but it gets worse.
We had to turn in a paper for something else and many people did poorly on it or didn’t put the time in that she expected. So she blogs about how bad we were on the blog that we would all see! So my classmates go off on the blog post about her bad teaching and her ridiculous assignments. It was incredible to watch.
The rest of the semester continued to be awkward, but I did at least make some good friends.”
A Real Role Model
“On a ninth grade choir trip, a group of guys got a poker game going in one of the hotel rooms. This was a quintessential fifteen-year-old boy poker game. There were inappropriate playing cards, cheap gas station smokes, lots of taboo items we ‘shouldn’t have had. The ninth-grade football coach, who was on the trip as a chaperone, was right in the thick of it.
At some point, the choir director showed up with hotel management because of course, they did. The coach ran to the bathroom and hid in the shower. The kids in the room got a fifteen-minute lecture. Once the coast was clear, the coach emerged and said, ‘well, you boys are dead.’ We all ended up getting suspended for a few days. No one snitched on the coach though.”
“One year, I was crying because my father had (yet again) canceled my visit to him because he was too ‘busy’ (aka manic and refusing to see me). I was really hurt and was crying in class. The teacher screamed at me for crying at my desk and then proceeded to march me to the front of the class and yell at me to stop crying. Needless to say, screaming at me just made me cry more.
I don’t know how long she actually yelled at me but it felt like forever. By the end, I was sobbing in the hallway. It’s not a very clear memory, but the memory of being a third grader being screamed at for crying has stuck with me, I’m easy to cry but I’m still ashamed to admit I’m crying at all because of this.
There is a happy ending though; it was this incident that ended up having her fired at the end of the year. Also, I’ve cut ties with my father at this point.”
Someone Needs A Different Job
“We had a business teacher who my family and I were pretty sure was on some sort of illegal substances. She was always sort of ‘out of it,’ and always had to get other teachers in to discipline the class whenever we got out of control because she could barely teach us, let alone focus enough to lay down the rules. She’d take moments to just walk out of the classroom and complain to other teachers in the corridor about her life, then walk back in and say nothing while classmates were throwing all kinds of stuff across the room.
One moment I remember clearly was when she accidentally shut all our computers down at the same time (I don’t even know how she did that) during one of our coursework projects. We couldn’t interact with our computers during the small 5-second countdown and just watched as all our unsaved work disappeared into the ether. Yeah, needless to say, we were all pretty annoyed at her. This lady was an IT teacher too!
I couldn’t believe how disorganized her thinking was considering her position in the school. Her handout sheets would be all over the place and you’d need to decipher the order in which you do things, she’d forget what she typed up or misunderstand her own sheets and you’d get nowhere! It would get so bad that we’d spend a full hour lesson trying to get through a single sheet because of her confusing instructions.
I saw during my final year that she got sent to the hospital after trying to open up a broken window. The window had a sign on it and everything saying it shouldn’t be opened and was going to be fixed soon, she tried to anyway and it smashed on her head and people had to call an ambulance. She was okay but jeez, you’d think schools wouldn’t hire someone like that to teach multiple classes of students.
I’m just glad I no longer have to be taught (or well, ‘taught’) by her. The internet does a far better job than she ever did in teaching kids how to use computers and how to set up your own company.”
“One issue I have noticed in some of my colleagues is crossing that line between assertive and rude. I have had the opportunity to teach interdisciplinary lessons with other teachers this year and it has been nice to be with others and see how they teach. I have seen some great teaching and some not so great as well. However, what stands out for me are some of the management issues I see. I am so disturbed by some of the interactions I have seen that they really stand out in my memory. I can admittedly be a sensitive person and perhaps I am reading this wrong. I just honestly feel kind of shocked by some of the interactions. For context, I teach in a suburban upper middle class school, 8th grade. Our prevalent behavior issues are pushing the envelope with unwanted off task behaviors and a huge dose of entitlement.
-A teacher sees a student wearing a hat and demands that he remove it as it is against the rules. We are in a crowded hallway. Student does not comply. Teacher yells at him to remove hat. His face reddens, he walks over to us and whispers something to the teacher who yelled. She then, very loudly, responds, ‘I don’t CARE WHAT YOUR HAIR LOOKS LIKE, TAKE OFF YOUR HAT. HOW IS IT MY PROBLEM THAT YOUR HAIR LOOKS BAD?’
-During homeroom or other less “academic” moments, my students have a habit of standing a couple of feet away from teachers when we are in conversation. This usually means the kid has a question or needs to talk to us. A teacher (who I greatly admire) told a student, in the most demeaning and rude tone of voice ‘what do you want!? I don’t need you standing there staring at me while I am in conversation!’ Ugh. I just said to the kid, ‘come see me in a few moments please.’
-In an interdisciplinary lesson, a teacher called out a group of girls who were just sitting there listening to her. Teacher was trying to get the room hyped up about a project. She said to this group of girls, ‘there is just such negative energy coming off of this group, you’re just like blah, like I can feel the fact that you don’t CARE. It’s like a cloud of darkness coming from this corner of the room.’ I just …couldn’t believe it. The entire room was now staring at these girls whose only ‘crime’ was sitting there listening. Teacher then comes over to me and says something like, ‘can you believe these kids? They are terrible,’ and I was so shocked I just looked at her. She is a veteran teacher, well respected as far as I can tell.”