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Teachers Share How They Got Revenge On “That Kid”

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Teachers are used to dealing with bratty and unruly kids, but some students are worse than others. And for these “special” students, there are equally special ways of dealing with them.

The following teachers got revenge on their problem students in some very satisfying ways. Read on for some entertaining tales of teacher revenge!

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50. A Smelly Revenge

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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.

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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 of 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.

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49. Graffiti Mystery

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My dad taught high school woodworking in the ’80s and ’90s in Australia, and he had one student that was just an obnoxious dork. Disruptive, annoying, with the ego the size of a planet.

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So one day after school had finished, Dad graffiti-ed “[Student] is a dorkhead” in the classroom, and the next day the kid was pissed off and couldn’t figure out which of his classmates had done it.

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48. Don’t Do It Again

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My stats professor said he saw a group of really talkative and distracting kids doing well, and he thought it was fishy. He looked at the tests and saw that they were all the same answers, then he looked at the seating chart and noticed that they could all look over each other’s shoulders to the front of the class where the smart, quiet girl sat.

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The solution? Give her a different test. Only her. When he handed back the tests, he told everyone who got under a certain grade, like 50% to come to see him. Each student got like 10% or something. When they were alone, he basically said, “Well, this is your punishment for cheating. Don’t do it again.” I thought that was awesome.

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47. Spoiler Alert!

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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 is always very rowdy, and normal threats or punishments weren’t working. Somehow he found out this kid loves Game of Thrones, so one day when he asked the kid to quiet down and he refused, my cousin told him a Game of Thrones spoiler.

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He then informed the kid that every time he misbehaved, he would spoil GoT. 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 doesn’t misbehave in class anymore.

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46. Silence Means Guilty

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I had a letter mailed to my office, as in paid postage, etc., that was basically threatening me, saying I better stop handing out C’s and D’s or “word on the street” was going to be that I was a bad teacher and no one would take my class and I’d be out of a job. I had a pretty good idea of who it was, obviously immediately ruled out all the students doing well in my classes, but didn’t think direct accusations would be really effective anyway.

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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 a jerk!” before I could even weigh in. The kid I suspected the most definitely sat slumped in his chair without much to say that day.

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45. Never Steal From Your Teacher

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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, he said out the last conclusion statement. Turns out they stole from his own body of work and they changed just enough of the paper to make it past the checker (but he reads every paper anyways). It was the most awkward and hilarious thing I have watched to this day. He then told them that each paper they wrote would be read out loud by them after each submission and he would personally grade their papers.

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They also had to sit at the front and he would call on them with every open-ended question first. To be clear, he was furious that these two stole from him, call it their ideas, change it into a weaker structure and complain about their low grade. He crushed them; it was great.

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44. Sue Them!

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My brother is an English professor at a community college. He assigned a book to read and review. After everyone submitted their reviews, he graded them and returned them to the students. One of the students did not get his paper back.

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When he asked my brother why, he told him that should contact a lawyer to sue the New York Times for plagiarism. As he told the student, it appeared that the Times had stolen and printed the student’s book review in their paper. He said the Times had copied the student review, word for word, and that he would be willing to testify on the student’s behalf. Now that’s a thoughtful professor!

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43. Justice Is Served

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There was a kid in my class who was ALWAYS cheating on my tests and quizzes. I caught him several times and contacted the parents, but nothing was ever really done about it (aside from the fact that he got 0’s if I caught him). I don’t think his mom ever really believed he was cheating as much as he was, and there were plenty of times I probably didn’t catch him.

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Once on the midterm, he missed the test. He came back the day I gave the kid their scores back which also had the answers, but not the questions. I saw him “sneakily” talking to his friends and they gave him their papers that had the answers on them. I didn’t say anything, but the make-up midterm has the same questions with all of the answer choices moved over by one letter. The little jerk got a 3% on a multiple choice midterm. I assume he must have read one question and then copied the rest from his friends.

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42. Shots Backfired

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Not secretly, but I learned to take copious notes and have a file on every student. Lazy students will often try to throw the blame on the teacher. I had two students request a meeting with the Dean of Students to discuss my unfair grading, and I showed up with a stack of evidence. Every substantive in-person interaction was documented on the front of the file, and I included copies of every email and note on the inside.

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There’s nothing more embarrassing than coming face to face with your own laziness and being unable to wriggle free. They started paying attention after that.

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41. Let’s Continue Our Lesson

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High school teacher here. I had a little jerk of a kid we’ll call Anthony. He complained about everything, did no work whatsoever, talked crap about everyone, made fun of kids with physical disabilities, you name it. And, of course, he was always the first to start shrieking that he was the victim in every situation, everyone was against him, how come he always got picked on and so forth. Anthony was one of those kids. The worst thing about him was his constant tendency to immediately mess upon 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.

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One day, this girl Patrice–an incredibly sweet girl, sensitive, with an artist’s heart–is sharing something in class for the first time. Visibly nervous, shaky voice. Anthony, of course, begins making fun of her hair, her glasses, her face. Loud enough that it’s plausibly a whisper, but loud enough so that we can all hear what he’s saying. I start walking toward his desk but am interrupted when Patrice very, very calmly says, “Screw you, Anthony.” The entire class was dead silent. This girl never spoke, let alone swore, and she said it with such self-control. Everyone’s eyes are on me, waiting for me to react. Anthony starts screaming: “Did you hear that?! She said screw you! You always get me in trouble when I say that, this crap isn’t fair, how this ugly brat gonna …” I say, “Huh? I didn’t hear anything,” turn back around, and continue the lesson. A few kids cheered. It felt really good.

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40. Crumpled, Broken, Worst Option

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I had a piece of a crap student who made fun of the disabled (physically) kid in class, stole from people, and just generally made the school experience harder for all her classmates. Her parents didn’t help, the principal got sick of her, and it was elementary school so there wasn’t much else available.

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So I gave her the broken candy cane for the Christmas cards our class makes every year. And the lopsided Valentine cookie. And the squished milk carton for our marigold project. All year. She always got the crumpled, broken, worst option. Petty, unprofessional, but boy did it feel good at the time.

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39. A Very Mature Approach

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I’m a high school teacher. I have had a number of challenging students in my 15 years as a public school teacher. These kids sometimes don’t know how to act. They might lash out and treat teachers with disrespect. They might blow off assignments and make other choices that increase the burdens of my job.

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So–you get back at them by offering them extra attention. Helping them grow by seeking productive ways to correct their behavior. Challenging their academic failures by offering help outside school hours. Addressing holistic problems by circling the wagons and bringing outside resources to bear (including guidance, administration, and parents in a cooperative effort to encourage growth). I get back at that kid by helping him or her get past being that kid. In the end, we can both sit back and laugh at how hard it sometimes feels to be mature.

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38. Sometimes When You’ve Had Enough

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I worked as a teacher’s aide for a preschool for developmentally disabled/behaviorally disabled children. This one kid was the biggest brat I have ever met. Constantly hitting, biting, spitting, everything you can think of.

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One day he kept charging into me and trying to knock me over. When no one was looking, and I was standing against the wall, he charged at me, and I slowly sidestepped out of the way and he went head first right into the wall. One other aide saw it happen and gave me a head nod of approval. Not thrilled with my actions, but it felt great at the time.

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37. Pass Your Assignments

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I taught a class right after lunch so I had a couple of kids that would come in late and obviously high. The class was pretty quiet before they got in so every now and then I would ask them for that assignment I gave out last time that everyone else had already handed in at the beginning of class.

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The look of panic was amazing and they would just start fumbling with words. I told them it wasn’t a big deal and they could hand it in next time and they would never figure out that there wasn’t an assignment.

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36. You Should’ve Said Yes!

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I had a woodworking teacher who got this kind of strange revenge on a kid who was a complete braggart and never shut up. The teacher had enough of it and told the kid he would trade the contents of his wallet for what was in the kid’s. The kid kept trying to figure out if there was a trick, if the teacher was generally setting him up for something, etc.

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The teacher kept taunting him basically and calling him a chicken for not making the bet. The kid basically wilted and finally said no. The teacher told him he was dumb and proceeded to count about $4,000 out onto the table in front of the kid. The kid never said another word in that class. Kids gave him crap about it for the three remaining years of middle school. Shop teachers are great!

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35. Office Or Bathroom?

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A lot of the guys in my high school would dip during school (chewing tobacco). Most of the teachers would just roll their eyes, tell them to spit it out, and confiscate the rest. A couple of teachers that were known for punishing teens who were dipping and would go as far as suspending them for it.

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One of those teachers enjoyed screwing 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 saw too many classmates try to avoid punishment by taking a big swig, only to rush off to the bathroom to vomit. Can’t say they didn’t know the risk before they walked in though.

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34. Do You Like Your New Name, Francis?

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I taught middle school for seven years and dealing with 8th graders can be a bit trying. I had this one male student who whined about everything. Every assignment, project, and lecture involved some level of whining from this particular kid. He was a good-looking football jock who was just lazy when it came to academics. At some point while he was being particularly annoying, I looked at him and said “Settle down, Francis” (not his real name and if you’ve ever seen the movie Stripes you’ll recognize the line). It was immediately obvious that the name bugged the crap out of him.

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From that moment forward I started calling him Francis on a daily basis just to irritate him and he hated the name. I told my wife about it; she was his math teacher at the time and she started calling him Francis as well. Soon all of his peers at school started addressing by Francis as well. I got such joy hearing people walking down the hall yell out “Hey Francis!” and seeing the irritated look on his face every time he heard the name.

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33. Teacher – 1, Problem Student – 0

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Not a “traditional” teacher, but a self-defense instructor. I was running a class on defense vs. knives. One thing you have to accept: if you are in a knife fight, you almost 100% will be cut. Anyway, the drill was this: each student paired up with a partner and had to parry/block the knife-wielder for two minutes. I jokingly said, “Anyone who makes it two minutes gets to teach the next class!” I’ve got about 18 students. The drill goes on, and in the end, I ask if anyone didn’t get cut at all. One guy (younger, maybe 18-19), who was a kind of “problem student” raises his hand. This is a kid who always questions everything. Nice enough, but kind of a jerk.

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Now, his partner for the drill was an older guy, slower, and this kid was in good shape, so I could see where he might have been fast enough. “Okay,” I tell him, taking a rubber knife, “Let’s see.” When he is ready, I come at him, and it takes all of three seconds before I slashed him across the midsection. This is fine. I hand him back the knife, and say something like “Not bad, but have your partner speed it up next time.” I turned around and heard him say “I bet you can’t do better.” I turned back and he rushed me. Several problems here. One, don’t just randomly attack students. Two, definitely DO NOT ATTACK your instructor. It’s pretty disrespectful. He lunged at me full force. Rubber or not, these knives are pretty solid and can hurt. I blocked, and on pure instinct, full force punched him in the neck. He dropped, coughing. Now, since they weren’t actively working, my entire class saw this. I felt terrible, but most of my students started clapping. I helped him up, and whispered, “Don’t EVER pull that crap again.” He nodded, and at least seemed embarrassed. I never had another problem with him. Good kid; he was just out of line.

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32. From 100% Success Rate To Zero

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I’m a stats teacher. This is similar to a kid in my class about six years ago. He was getting D’s and F’s all year, but then somehow ACED a multiple choice test, the first time I ever gave it. I didn’t realize it, but I had accidentally left an answer key at the front table which happened to be the answer key he saw and copied. I asked how he did so well and he told me, after he bragged to everyone else, “I just worked really hard this time.” OK, fair enough. Maybe he did?

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So the next time around, I did the exact same thing but I left the same answer key at the front of the room, never moved it. He used it again and this time got a 0. I pulled him outside the class and said: “how did you go from 100 to 0?” He was cool about it when he knew what I was getting at though. “Mr. Teacher, I have to come clean; I copied the first one and then tried to do it again.” I said I know, and told him he could retake the second test if he also retook the first test, which he did. He passed each test by 1 point, but it was legit, so I was proud.

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31. Especially For You Test

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In my Spanish class, my teacher was very lenient when it came to cheating for the most part. She knew we cheated in basically every test so she always made at least three versions of a test. But they were marked at the top so we knew which version we had. There was a kid that would ask everybody around him and even a seat or two over till he found a matching version and cheat off that person.

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My teacher eventually found out so as she was handing out the next test she paused and said to him as she handed him his test “Just in case you wanna cheat be aware you’re the only person with this version of the test.” She spent the whole period looking at him and smirking whenever he would look in her direction.

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30. How Do You Study?

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A group of lousy, talkative students started acing the weekly tests in the seminar periods. We’re talking marginally passing to a sudden spike of consistent 100%s. He figured out that they had a friend who was 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, asked them to teach the whole class on their newfound study habits.

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He made them all stand in front of the class and “teach” how they study. The whole lesson was a load of crap, 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 plainly said: “Guess those study habits need some tweaking, huh?”

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29. Disgraceful Erasures

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I TA’d for organic chemistry. One student was using a pencil (as many do) on her exams and it took about three or four exams before we figured out why she kept coming back and having her exams re-graded. In one blatant example, her original answer was erased. For the “regrade,” she erased her original answer and put the right answer separately. This was confirmed by a number of indicators. 1.) red “x’s” were crossing out areas on the page with no apparent answer, and 2.) we had a very strict scoring process (i.e., if you get 3/5 on an answer, it’s because you forgot to push a particular arrow, something like that).

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We eventually got photographic evidence of the original, photographed the new “updated” exam (for regrade), took it to the board and got her expelled. Who wants a doctor who cheats on their exams?

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28. Never A Waste Of Time

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My Abnormal Psych (a 400 level class, so you would assume people in this class were interested in the field) had us visit a local homeless shelter. This was an accelerated night class so classes were 4 hours long. She arrange for us to go during our normal class time.

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A few people in the class felt it was dumb or a waste of time and bailed just as the tour was starting. The final exam for that class was about 4 questions that were VERY easy to answer if you stayed for the whole tour and absolutely impossible if you did not.

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27. That’s Not How You Play It!

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I was a TA for a lecturer at a large state university and we had two sections of lectures with about 100 underclassmen students. World of Warcraft had also just come out and I was in a big raiding guild, doing end game content whenever I wasn’t in school. A lot of people figured anthropology was super easy and they would come to lecture with their laptops acting like they were taking notes when they were really playing games or browsing the web so I would occasionally walk around behind the last row to see who was actually paying attention.

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One night, these two chuckleheads were playing WoW during class, so I stood behind them and started telling them what they were doing wrong in-game. Loudly.

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26. Never Ever Let Your Parents Do Your Homework

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I once caught a student turning in essays I knew her mother was writing… and then her mother blatantly plagiarized an essay.

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As an opportunity to make up the assignment for a 50% grade, the student (i.e. mother) had to write a 10-page essay with 15 academic sources (the original was a 3pg essay with 3 sources). I knew the mother would slave-away at the thing, and she did. I can’t stand parents like her.

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25. If You Can Do It, I Can Do It Too!

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Recently, one of our students was throwing a big tantrum (on the floor, kicking, screaming, biting, spitting, you name it) so after over an hour of it, I finally said, “That’s how you think we act in the classroom? Fine. I get to act that way too.”

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Before the student could respond, I dropped to the floor and started kicking and screaming. It stopped their tantrum, and I didn’t have any issues with them for the rest of the day.

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24. Do You Understand Now?

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My mom was a history teacher. Get a new student mid-year from Mexico named Alberto. She tried giving him schoolwork assignments, call on him, he always replied: “No se” which means “I don’t know” in Spanish. Frustrated by weeks of this, my mom vents to other teachers on her team about how the kid could possibly get a grade if he can’t speak English, and they are all stunned. “Uh, Mrs. XXX, Alberto speaks English. He’s been fooling you.”

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Embarrassed, she gives him an assignment the next day and he pulls the same stunt, “No se.” She takes a giant red marker and draws a huge F on his paper that takes up the whole page. Looks him in the eye and says, “Do you comprende now?” The rest of the year, he was an A student in there.

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23. Pens Aren’t For Kids

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I had a kid steal my pen once. Kids at my grade level don’t use pens yet, and the pen was the exact same brand, style, and color that I always use (I teach in a small school and no other teacher uses that exact pen). The kid said that he “found it in the hallway.” He knew that I couldn’t prove that he stole it, so I just ignored him and went on with the lesson.

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Fast forward 10-15 minutes and I hear a shout from him. He had been chewing on the pen and it leaked all into his mouth. He then tries to wipe it out using his (brand new) shirt. Shirt gets completely ruined. I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. His sister is a year younger than him and couldn’t wait to tell me the next day that the boy got his rear end tore up for ruining his new shirt. For the next month or so, whenever he didn’t have a pencil, I would offer to let him use one of my pens. He never took me up on the offer.

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22. She “Lost” It

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My teacher got back at me by blatantly failing me. I was not a model student by any means. My grade for this particular class was probably around 55 before the final exam, which was worth like 40% of the total grade. It’s not that I didn’t understand the material, its that I would usually lose a point for forgetting small details, most of which had to do with very specific formatting requirements (i.e. formulas needed to be underlined, answers had to be in a box, etc…). I remember failing more than one exam where I had gotten all the answers right.

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Anyways, I aced the final. I had studied and practiced and was pretty damn sure I had gotten 100%. However, my final grade for the course ended up being 59%. I went to see the prof and asked to see the final, so that I could see what I had done wrong. Turns out she only corrected half of it. The part that was corrected was perfect. She said it was an accident and that she would finish grading that afternoon. When I came back the next day, she had “lost” it.”

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21. Make Sure To Remove Traces

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The student plagiarized Wikipedia and not only were they not bright enough to remove the glaring blue hyperlinks in the text, they argued with me about it when I called them on it (privately, after class.) What they also failed to notice is that I had written the Wikipedia article. I hadn’t made a secret that I’m an editor, and in fact, I encouraged my students to get involved with Wikipedia as well, so they had fair warning that I was probably going to be familiar with that text. Still argued with me. At length.

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They remain the only student I’ve ever actually reported to the student conduct office. They were too stupid to be a pharmacist. I have no regrets.

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20. Don’t Be A Phuchtard

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I had a terrible student who was obnoxious and disruptive. He had no respect for anyone, including his classmates. I gave him a class participation grade that was just low enough to have him fail the class. Twice.

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He tried to appeal it, but it wasn’t appealable. He changed majors and the professors in his new major hate him too. My class participation grade should really be called the “Don’t be a phuchtard” grade.

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19. For A Change

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This happened when I was a student in high school. My Spanish teacher was a savage older woman. One time we had to buy a novel to read in class. Our teacher had ordered it and we paid her back in cash. It was $7 something. I paid with a $5 bill and the rest in smaller cent coins. My teacher was okay with it since I only had a bigger bill apart from that.

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Enter one of the guys in my class who wasn’t doing so well. Generally not studying, interrupting/loud and that day late for class again. He also had to pay for the novel and with a huge smile, my teacher gave him the change for his bill using the small coins she had gotten from me. The student was like, “No, no, Miss X, please no!” as she was counting all the small coins. It felt like watching some kind of torture. I thought it was hilarious.

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18. Silent Treatment Always Works

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I have been teaching in Asia for a while now. This was during my three years in South Korea. I had this class of three middle school boys. It was one of my favorite classes, but they could be a little prickheads sometimes. One day they wouldn’t listen or work, they kept speaking Korean (not allowed in my class) and one kept throwing eraser bits at my face.

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So with 15 minutes left, I gave them the silent treatment. I just opened my schedule and made random notes. At first, they just started drawing on the board and having fun, but soon they were scared and tried to get my attention. When the bell rang I grabbed my stuff and left. The next time I taught them I walked into class and they had written “Sorry Teacher!” on the whiteboard and were all bowing to me. It was adorable and I miss that class.

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17. Tricks And Treats

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One time there was this girl sleeping in my Calculus class. Well, my teacher walked over to his desk phone and says to the rest of the class, “Did you guys hear that ring?” He proceeds to pick up the phone, nod his head and hangs up. He wakes the girl up and tells her she’s needed in the main office, so she leaves. The entire class is super confused. Ten minutes later, she returns and was like, “They didn’t need me at the office.” He says I know, but I hope that walk woke you up …

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Another time, he was handing out a quiz that was an example AP Calculus problem. He ran out of quizzes early, which usually meant we could work in groups on the quiz. He then says “but you know, Newton always had a trick up his sleeve.” He unbuttons his sleeve and pulls out more quizzes. That teacher had tricks.

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16. Really, Kid?

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It wasn’t because I didn’t like him, but I was just annoyed at the moment. I was doing the admittedly annoying thing of holding up the class to wait for the straggler(s) to get their crap together. A kid at the front of the line said something along the lines of “if you make me miss my bus, I’m gonna whoop you.”

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Instead of writing him up, reprimanding, or ignoring him, I just turned to him a bit and said, “Really? You think you could take me?” He was very small for a 5th grader. I was 6’0” 220.

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15. Procrastination Never Helps

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One time, I had a student who was really concerned about his grades and suckered me to helping him (right before progress reports so he could play the big game coming up). It’s something all teachers will fall for because we want all students to be successful, so I helped him. I kept him updated on everything when he asked, told him the point value of this and that so he could just barely pass.

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Then came the day he finally got a 60% (that’s a D- here). He came into class and did absolutely nothing when he found that out. Just shut down and was obnoxious because it was so close to progress reports and he figured the stuff from today wouldn’t be submitted for the progress report because it was so close (meaning he was good to play the next football game). I decided to put in the extra work and grade the work for that day and see what would happen to the overall class average if I recorded the grades and submitted the work for that day… He got 59.4%… So I hit submit grades.

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14. Now You’re Screwed

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I taught several years of middle school visual arts. To survive teaching this age group, an experienced teacher understands that most boys are basic jerks and sneaky as hell. They really can’t help it, as its age-appropriate behavior, slow frontal lobe development, etc. One special little ray of sunshine kept reaching under the table unscrewing the bolts attaching the table legs. Any bump from an unsuspecting kid sent the table crashing.

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One morning before class, I globbed an entire jar of Petroleum Jelly all over the leg bolts under the table. Watching this kid’s face slack into horror and “how screwed am I?” after reaching under the table and grabbing the bolts was so satisfying. He couldn’t wipe it, hide it or deny it.

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13. No One’s Gonna Help You

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Not a teacher but the girl sitting at a table directly behind me kept on mumbling nasty things at me under her breath but loud enough that the nearby kids could hear. She and a friend of hers picked on me on a fairly regular basis. Our teacher, who happened to be one of the better teachers in our school, was giving a lecture.

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After about fifteen minutes of listening to her saying nasty things about me, my family, pretty much anyone connected to me that she could think of, I finally just said, loudly, over the teacher’s lecture “Shut up you brat!”

The teacher paused, looked over at me in surprise (I never talked if I could avoid it, so that’s what really surprised him), and then continued with his lecture as though nothing happened. He knew that there was no way that my mousy, shy butt would randomly say something like that without provocation. She did indeed shut up, especially when she figured out that the teacher wasn’t going to come to her defense.

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12. No Facebook During Class Hours

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I was teaching a tech course at a college. Through the reflection on the glass behind one student I could see him browsing Facebook for the first hour of the class.

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I had root access to all the machines so I remote into his machine and updated his host file for Facebook to 127.0.0.1. Seeing the next page go white and him completely puzzled why every web page worked besides Facebook was extremely satisfying.

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11. Well, 45 Is Better Than 0

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I taught a TCP/IP networking course at a university. The assignment was to write a simple client and server in C. Circa 1992. They had to submit their code and I compiled it and tested it. One submission had an error in a certain case, so I fixed the error to see if the rest of the cases worked. I graded the submission a 90 percent for something due to the one minor problem.

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When I was marking another student submission, I find the exact same error. Exact same variable names. I run the two submissions through Unix diff command and the only difference was the student name in the comment at the top. I gave both students 45 percent. One complained. I told him the submission deserved a 90 but someone copied the work; tell me who the real author is and I’ll give them 90, the other gets zero and reported. They both accepted the 45s.

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10. Level Of Attention

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Former college economics professor here. I never tried to “get back” at irritating students through a single act, and frankly, I was too committed to fairness to deliberately harm or single out any one person. But there were still plenty of minor, undetectable ways in which I could minimize my own annoyance while still behaving ethically. Death by a thousand cuts, in a way. Put it this way: I was very generous with my time for students. I would make extra time to meet with students when deadlines were approaching; I responded to their late-night emails right away; I made detailed comments on their papers to help them improve; I tried to think of clearer examples to address their confusion. I worked quite hard trying to help my students do well and enjoy economics.

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However … students who were annoying or disrespectful (to me or to the rest of the class), who acted entitled, grade-grubbing, or who detracted from the learning environment in my class … some of those students forfeited my generosity. They got short answers to their questions, long delays for email responses, less flexibility in scheduling a time to meet regardless of urgency, and so on. Basically, a lower level of my attention. It wasn’t so obvious that they would think I hate them, but more like a lack of grease in the wheels of success.

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9. If You Think You’re Right, Then Explain Further

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This kid was the classic middle school know-it-all. He didn’t want to show his work in math because that was a lot of work and he felt he was too good for that. The main problem was that he made a bunch of stupid mistakes when he worked mentally, like “8×4=36” and then argued with the teacher about why the teacher was wrong. I suggested to the math teacher that they give him the answers. (It’s what I do to my Chemistry students when I want them to stop looking the answers up online.)

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The kid got really excited and was bragging about having the answers, until he realized that he had to show all his work. If it was a true/false answer, he had to explain why it was true or false. Fill in the blank vocabulary section, please write down the full definition. It ended up taking him about 30 minutes longer on his assignment every day. The lesson for the kid: if you think that the right answer is what the teachers care about, we’ll give you the answer to force you to learn the process.

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8. Caught In The Act

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Not a teacher but I seriously loathe cheating students. During my freshman year of high school, some douchey kid would try to copy off me in English class every single day. I have no idea why, because I got low to mid B’s and it was blatantly obvious that English was not my first language. He sat to my right for the first half of the year (this is important). The last time he tried copying, we were taking a midterm and the teacher steps out for a minute to borrow something from another teacher and everyone except the douchey kid kept to their tests. When the door shut after my teacher walked out, the kid immediately told me he would trade me a whole pack of gum for the answers and I just said no. I spent the rest of the time until the teacher came back covering my scantron with my arm and bubbling the answers upside down so as to have the side with the answers under my arm.

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The teacher walks back in, douchey kid settles down. The teacher turns towards the door for a second and the douchey kid thinks he’s leaving again, so five seconds later the teacher catches him with his head literally over my desk, looking at my answers. This kid half stood out of his chair and shoved his head three feet from his desk, thinking nobody would see him. He was by far the dumbest kid I met during high school.

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7. Just Follow The Order

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I was a high school choir director. I had this one girl who would excuse herself from class to go do whatever and miss a lot of rehearsal, so this one time while she was out I told the class, “OK. No matter what I tell you when she comes back in, put your music in this order.”

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So everyone put their folders in my order. when the girl came back in, I told them to take out piece A, and then we all did piece B. “OK. put that away, take out piece D.” We did piece F. We went through a whole rehearsal like that. The girl never left class again.

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6. You Think You Can Outsmart Me?

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I worked at a school for a year and used to get picked up by my line manager, the head IT teacher, who told me stories all the time. He mentioned how a kid once handed him a floppy disk for his coursework, and when you attempted to access the files on the disk it showed an error message saying that the disk was corrupted. The kid had basically downloaded some crappy free program to make the files seem as though they were corrupted so that he could buy some time to finish the assignment. The teacher thought it was strange, perhaps it was the error message itself, so he opened the file in hex editor or something, decoded the header information or whatever was written to the file, figured out how the software had forced the error message and then re-written it with text: “I’m dumb for trying to outsmart my teacher” and asked the kid the next day to try the disc again. Kid goes to try the disc then sees the new error message, obviously, facepalm ensues, and he then got told to hand the assignment in the very next day.

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Somehow the kid then produced an exceptional piece of work for a kid who didn’t really have the ability to create good programs/code. The teacher knew he’d paid someone online to build to software but could never prove it, so he ended up reluctantly giving him good marks for the assignment.

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5. Do You “C” It?

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A kid in my high school science class used to express loudly, even to the teacher’s face, his belief that you could pass any multiple choice test by always answering “C.”

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On one test day, the teacher walks up to him, hands him a multiple choice test, and says, “I made this version of the test JUST FOR YOU!”  The kid blanches, but furiously fills the test out with everything EXCEPT a C. Turned out, on his version of the test, C was the correct answer every single time.

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4. We Camp, You Watch

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A twelfth grader stole a bottle of water, then denied it, demonstrably lying, and got really super snotty and insulting when I called him out. A couple of months later, he was devastated to learn he wasn’t allowed to go on the camping field trip with all the other seniors.

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Like I’m going to chaperone hundreds of kids to Death Valley and take this lying thieving little jerk and be legally responsible for whatever crap he pulls? No way, Paul. You can sit in an empty classroom and watch PBS videos about the Lusitania while we go hiking and sit around campfires and sleep in tents and make bacon and pancakes for breakfast.

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3. You Should Have A Solo

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I’m not the teacher, but when I was in high school orchestra, our teacher would hate when we would play during pauses or breaks, especially if he was giving us instruction or explaining how to play a certain part.

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There was this one kid, let’s call him Bob, who would always play and practice during this time, which would make my teacher super mad. So one of the times, he decided to say, “Bob, since you want to play during the breaks by yourself, maybe you should have a solo.” The teacher then gave him the hardest passage in the piece and made him play it in front of the class. It was hilarious (he wasn’t the best violin player either).

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2. Caught On Camera

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Last semester in my circuits classes the professor resorted to setting up a GoPro facing the class during tests. He then sat at the front of the class wearing mirrored sunglasses with his arms folded.

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At the end of the semester, he announced that there were many students caught cheating on video. They would be receiving 0s for the applicable exams and the footage was going to be passed on to the department for further review and disciplinary action.

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1. Smirking Won’t Help Your Grade

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I was teaching English 101 to college freshmen. I had students write a rough draft of each paper, and we would meet during conferences, I would mark up the paper, and give them a few more days to turn in a final draft. It really helped; students usually ended up gaining a full letter grade higher than they would have if they had turned in the rough draft. I had one student who was a jerk. He sat in the front row and smirked at me every day. Never did any homework, never participated in class, but wrote well enough that he was making a C in the course.

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But for the last paper, he not only didn’t edit his rough draft, but turned in the same, marked-up copy from his conference. With that same smirk on his face. I asked the director of my program what I should do, because I wanted to both shred it and punch him in his smirky little mouth. She told me that the paper should get a 0. So he didn’t pass the course — which is a course required to graduate at my university. Mwahaha.

Marijean Grace

Marijean Grace

Spreading some good positive vibes!

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