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Ask just about any educator and they’ll tell you: There are many joys that come with teaching.
From witnessing students finally understand something they were struggling with, to seeing how unique every child is, teachers get to share in some pretty special moments.
Dig a little deeper, and these teachers will also tell you that not all “special moments” are conventional — inevitably, there are some oddities that come with molding the future generation.
We asked teachers everywhere to share some of the stranger things they’ve experienced on the job, and, well, we were overwhelmed by all the weirdness. As one teacher said, “Every day something weird happens. Your students will say and do the weirdest things, and you will laugh every day.”
Here are some of the most interesting (and anonymous) things teachers said they’ve encountered.
The darndest things
“A student (and then later a teacher) suggested that I hurt the teacher I had been replacing so that I could stay.”
“Students notice absolutely everything. I had a student once who remembered every bag I own (like 10 of them) and most of my outfits. At the end of the year she told me all of her favorite one of my looks.”
“I was once asked what my real job was.”
“I had a student who would call me ‘mom.’ He lived with his mother and loved her dearly, but when he got to school he would call me ‘mom’ as well.”
Fellow teachers and administration acting up
“There are some teachers who are mean and don’t enjoy children but somehow still teach and have a job.”
“My first year of teaching showed me how much a crazy, incompetent administration can ruin a school. After a new principal came in, every teacher left, except for three who remained — three teachers out of dozens for an entire high school! The principal had three different investigations running against her for harassment, forging documents, and physically abusing students, and nothing happened to her! Crazy.”
“Another teacher stole from me.”
“I’ve seen administration, who get paid tens of thousands more than the highest paid teachers, acting inappropriately and unprofessionally — and then those are the people who evaluate us.”
Love, sex, and loneliness
“There have been multiple marriages from within my department.”
“I once saw performance art depicting the phallic symbolism of ‘Moby-Dick.'”
“I found a sex toy in a two-year-old’s backpack. Holy awkward phone conversation!”
“A student brought me in a list of dating websites for Valentine’s Day.”
“I have dealt with weird issues with kids I never thought I would, like the time a kid asked me to deliver a note to their friend that contained information about the friend’s girlfriend cheating on them. You just never know when you work with teenagers.”
Weird, wild stuff
“A bat flew through my classroom while I was teaching.”
“Carpenter ants infested the kindergarten classroom. The kids would see who could squish the most!”
“My class screamed and ran away from me and I didn’t know why — it was because I had a spider on my shoulder!”
So much vomit
“A student threw up in my hands.”
“I once got puked on multiple times in the same day.”
Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images
“Children’s imaginations — they’re weird, but fantastic.”
“When you hear and see students repeating something you taught them.”
“Hearing things my conservative dad used to say come out of my mouth. Who knew where that was hiding?”
Responses have been edited for clarity.