There a ton of amazing teachers out there who really care about their students. I've been lucky enough to have had a few really special ones who genuinely made a big impact on my life.
Like any field, though, there are some teachers who...aren't the best. So, last week when Reddit user u/Gerard_Way_01 asked, "Have you ever held a grudge against a teacher you still think of today? How did they wrong you?" I was immediately curious. The question garnered a lot of responses — here are some of the wildest, most infuriating stories people shared:
Note: Some of the following mention racism and inappropriate behavior toward minors.
1. "A teacher in university accused me of plagiarism. She said she spent the whole night trying to find out what I plagiarized, but because she couldn’t prove it, she wasn’t gonna report it to the school. I wrote it myself."
2. "We were about 6 years old, and the teacher told us to make Father’s Day cards. I went up to the teacher to tell her my dad was dead. She snapped at me, 'Do it anyway.' So, I was made to sit in class making a Father's Day card for my dead father."
3. "I had a kindergarten teacher who I absolutely loved. I also loved space — from that kindergarten year onward, I made it no secret that I wanted to be an astronaut. When we studied the planets, I was enraptured. When we covered anything having to do with space, stars, or galaxies, I was in my happy place. In fourth grade, two of the most amazing things happened: My favorite teacher moved up from kindergarten, and I got her again for fourth grade, and NASA announced the Young Astronauts Program. Not only that, but my teacher was going to be starting the first-ever Young Astronauts Program at our school! The day she handed out the applications, I was in heaven. I sat out there and wrote out my 'theme' on why I wanted to join the Young Astronauts. I wrote and I wrote, and I remember going over onto the back of the page because I had more to say than would fit. The following week came, and the day finally arrived when they would announce who made it.
4. "I had an AP calculus teacher in high school who intentionally tried to fail me because I was good at math. When his lies were uncovered, the reason he gave (in the principal’s office) was, 'Women don’t belong in the sciences.' This was in front of me, my parents, my counselor, the vice principal, and the principal. My counselor was so aghast at what happened, he spoke up and said if my parents were willing to transport me, he would sign me up at the local community college for the same class. That way, I would get college credit in just a semester without having to take the AP test. I did it. I then went on to get my bachelor's in mathematics."
5. "I was in a digital illustration class, and we had a project to illustrate a monster. I decided to draw the parasites from the movie Cloverfield. We all shared our pictures in class, and the teacher went one-by-one by giving detailed critiques. When he got to mine, he just looked at it and said, 'That's a creature, not a monster,' and moved on to the next one. I got a 'C' on that assignment. This was the same teacher that accidentally pulled out the plug on the back of my computer after five hours of work on my final, then refused to give me any extra time to complete it. F*ck you, Gordon!"
6. "My English teacher gave me a 99% on a paper. I flipped through, curious where my error was. She had marked 'egomaniacal' for word choice with the note 'not a word.' I asked about it; she insisted it was not a word. I insisted it was, and then I got detention for being insubordinate. 'How do you know "insubordinate" but not "egomaniacal?"' I asked. Then, I got more detention."
7. "I had a super shitty drama teacher in eighth grade. He targeted me and would ask me things in front of the whole class like, 'When was the last time you washed your hair?' He also gave other students extra points for imitating me in a negative way. Then, on the last day of class, he pompously said that he thought the class was 'a little hard on me,' as if he hadn't been encouraging them every step of the way. I ran into him at the grocery store with his kids about 15 years later.
8. "My high school literature teacher was OBSESSED with Planet of the Apes. If you had a class with him, it was guaranteed that you would watch it at least once during the year, and he would frequently compare the books he assigned in class to the film. He was also VERY against students using state-of-being verbs (is, are, was, and were) to the point where you couldn't use any of them in assignments, and if you did, you would lose points for each instance of them. Many students struggled with this restriction, myself included, because he didn't give us any real guidance on how to write effectively without using them. He also just generally didn't seem to like me. When I wanted to take AP literature my senior year of high school, it required a minimum of a score of 90 in all of your English classes to get in. I'd gotten 99 or 100 in all of my classes the previous three years, EXCEPT for his class, in which I'd gotten an 89.
9. "I was in sixth grade, and it was the end of November in southeast Minnesota. My home economics teacher gave me detention for something and didn't let me leave for home until after 7:30 when it was snowing and cold as f*ck outside. The teacher refused to let me call my mom, so I had to walk three-and-a-half miles home in the snow. My mom was pissed at me initially, but once she stopped shrieking at me and listened to why I was home so late, she turned all that rage on to the school. My mom kept me home the next few days, and once I went back, the teacher was long gone. She had lost her job for it."
10. "In third grade, I took a pretty good tumble in gym class. I thought I was fine, but then, an hour or so later, I could hardly stand because my foot hurt so bad. I had never gotten in trouble, never made a fuss, and never asked to go to the office. Yet, I had to ask the teacher two or three times to go to the front office before she reluctantly let me. Then, she made me walk/hobble up a flight of stairs alone. I asked for someone to help me, but she wouldn’t let anyone. It turned out that I had completely fractured one of the bones in my foot. I spent the next eight weeks in a cast. When I told my mom that I had to basically pull myself up the stairs with my arms, she tore into the teacher and the principal. But my teacher never apologized."
11. "I had a horrible 11th grade American history teacher who was part of the reason I dropped out of school years ago. There was absolutely no discussion in her class, at all — about anything. Day one, we were told to read section one of whatever chapter, then write out the questions at the end of the section. We had to answer each question with at least three sentences, even if the question was just asking for a date. Days two and three were a repeat of day one, with the next section. Day four, we had to read the entire chapter, answer the end-of-chapter questions, and write at least three sentences per answer. Day five, we had a 20-answer test on the chapter. Each question was a freaking essay question. They each had to have an introduction paragraph, at least three paragraphs supporting your answer, and a closing paragraph. She absolutely killed my love of history for years to come."
12. "In eighth grade, I had this English teacher who was one of those 'cool' teachers. He told me to 'shut up' for correcting him on something he misinformed my class about in front of everybody. He laughed at one of my friend's interests and also embarrassed them in front of the class. He also made fun of how I walked one time out of nowhere and said it was fine because we were 'friends,' and that all of this behavior was appropriate as our teacher. Really, he was a literal 33-year-old man bullying a 13-year-old girl."
13. "I had a fourth grade teacher tell me that I 'would have more friends if I wasn't so weird.' I have carried that phrase around my entire life, and it still affects the way I act around people to this day."
14. "I had a teacher in fourth grade that just didn't like me for whatever reason. I was a good kid, got good grades, and never got in trouble. But even at 9 years old, I could see that she didn't treat me as well as the other kids — it was just the way she talked to me. I was sort of friends with this kid in my class, 'Chris,' who was a bit of a troublemaker. One day [after school], he suggested that we sneak back down to our classroom because it would be fun. We got down to the classroom, and Chris went right for the teacher's desk. He told me to keep a look out, then came up with a giant bag of M&Ms. I asked him what he was doing, and he said he was taking them, that was the whole point of going to the classroom. I told him to put them back, but he just turned to leave, so I followed. We got back to the cafeteria where our after-school program was held, and he stashed the candy in his backpack.
15. "In sixth grade, I had a science teacher who didn't like me and would give me detention almost daily. I don't know why — I was a good student, did my homework, was on the honor roll, and rarely got into any kind of trouble. But she would always find a reason to give me detention. This was over 20 years ago, but the two reasons I remember most vividly were accusing me of having a girl do my homework for me, and calling me out in front of the entire class for talking...when we were doing a group project. After weeks of my dad getting pissed about having to make two trips up to the school for my brother and then myself, he demanded to know why I was getting in so much trouble. I couldn't give him an answer because I didn't know why she had such an issue with me. My dad called the school, and apparently, my teacher couldn't give him an explanation either."
16. "My Spanish teacher gave me my only 'C' in high school. The worst part was, he spent most of the year flirting with girls in the class instead of teaching us. A few girls got 'A's,' and the rest of us were graded on how well we played along."
17. "This one English teacher made it clear she didn’t like me, and I think it was because I’m not white. She gave me 'C's' and 'D's' on all my work. In the past, I had gotten 'A's,' been invited on special field trips for English classes, and won poetry and fiction awards. It was the only subject I was good at. My low science and math I deserved; I accepted that. But this? To do a test of my theory, my friend (who is white) and I handed in the same exact assignment with virtually the same wording, same thesis, everything. We switched our names on the reports. I got a 'C,' and he got an 'A.' She was just grading me lower because she didn’t like me. I just kept my head down and stopped trying, because the teacher wasn’t even reading what I wrote. She prevented me from getting into AP English my senior year, as you needed an A- in the prerequisite class. I was furious. It was my only hope for any AP class."
18. "I had a teacher who assigned us an essay where he had to approve the article we used to analyze. I took my article to him, and he said go ahead — it wasn't 'the best' article, but he would accept it for the assignment. However, he was known to be very picky. When I asked him why I failed the assignment (after writing it, editing it, and taking it to the writing center three times for review), he said that the article I had chose was a bad one. I had to rewrite the paper, and got a 'D' as an improvement. I was a student who was a perfectionist and hated even getting a 'C.' To this day, I still can’t stand that teacher."
19. "I had a teacher in Grade 3 who basically made fun of my writing. I wrote a short story from the first person perspective. She read it and ridiculed me out loud for writing in first person, asking why I would do that and making me feel really bad and dumb. I was a really shy kid who already didn't like expressing myself or putting myself out there, so writing my thoughts out was difficult enough. It really turned me off to writing and made me self-conscious about expressing myself."
20. "My Grade 7 homeroom teacher. One morning, I was the first one to enter the classroom. She glanced at me with a flat expression and said, 'You are the most boring student I've ever had,' then went back to her work. I was really floored. Fortunately, we moved the next year, and I left that school, but it genuinely hurt my feelings."
21. And finally: "She was a Spanish teacher in high school, and I was in her advanced class. Where do I start? She forced the class to run laps around the building because it was a Monday morning and we weren’t responding quick enough for her. I was very overweight at the time, and it was humiliating. She liked to play a game she invented called 'conjugation bootcamp,' in which you’d have three seconds to conjugate a verb she gave you or else you’d have to do 10 pushups, sit-ups, or squats, increasing by 10 every time you were wrong. She also forced everyone to give a long solo presentation in Spanish, which was horrible for my friend who had severe social anxiety. My friend literally vomited the morning of the presentation, but was still forced to do it. And, probably the most heinous of all, she made us watch the Bee Movie in Spanish."
Do you have a story to share? Tell us in the comments.
Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.