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Teachers Share The Moment They Questioned Their Students' Intelligence

Teachers Share The Moment They Questioned Their Students' Intelligence

Teaching is a VERY stressful career to pick. It's not just about needing to know material and confidently deliver it to a classroom of students, but it also accounts for a little bit of making sure they don't do anything stupid during the school day. And the students in this Reddit post, well, let's just say they aren't exactly teacher's pet.

u/12345burrito asked: Teachers of Reddit, what was your "how are my students this dumb?" moment?

Definitely not a fruit.


Me: I'm thinking of a fruit that is yellow and very sour!

Student: Chickenpox!


What a f**kin lemon.



One of my 16 year old students asked, while starting a multiple choice test, if it mattered what letter he chose. I just stared at him. Sometimes there are no words.


I'm... baffled. I need a follow-up. Did he figure it out?


50% is generous.


Not a teacher, but was helping my friend who's a TA go over some first year essays. It was an essay about video games, and aside from the format being nonexistent, one of the first sentences was something along the lines of "There are many examples of video games, such as the Wii and PS4 and Zelda".

Unfortunately, she wasn't allowed to grade any papers below 50%. He got a 50%.


Not a good example of a student.

I asked my students to write a sentence and give an example. One of the students (age 12/13) asked "what's an example?" Actually really hard to explain.


Give me an example of an example


Ah yes, the mythological dinosaur.

"Are mermaids real?" followed shortly by "I don't believe in dinosaurs."

She was 16.


Once had a girl who thought there were people living on Venus, we just couldn't talk to them because they didn't have phones.




Don't know if this counts, but I was a TA for a semester in grad school (never again). One student submitted this paper I will never forget. Basically, the author was wrong because the student found the argument "boring."

In explaining the author's argument, he got most points wrong and then proceeded to say he had a better argument. His argument WAS the author's argument.


No. No they did not.

I have a poster on my wall that says something about not believing everything you read on the internet, and it attributes the quote to Abraham Lincoln. Student said, "Wait, did they have internet back then?"


That was just a bad decision.

I teach swimming lessons and lifeguarding courses. During one, I was trying to teach them CPR and instead of showing them first, I told them to show me what they already knew about it.

I then proceeded to observe 15 16-20 year olds do the weirdest stuff to those poor training dolls. My favorite though was the kid who did a two foot jump onto the chest of the dummy. The dummy slid out from under his feet like a cartoon banana and he landed on his rear end on the pool deck. Good times.


Process of elimination.


A classmate of mine in elementary school had this exchange with our teacher:

"What's the answer to this [multiple choice question with 3 choices]?"





"I don't know."


Sounds like they were trying to get out of writing a paper.

Three weeks into writing a research paper.

"Okay today we'll continue writing the body paragraphs of the essay."

Student: "What essay?"


An accident waiting to happen.

In the same class hour, the same student not only tore apart a pen and covered himself with ink, he pulled the spring apart and clamped it down on his tongue. It cut him so deep, he couldn't get it off.

He them somehow managed to dig a pencil into his hand and then the lead broke off inside him.

It was like every moment I looked over, he had hurt himself in another way.




I wasn't a teacher, but when I was a senior in high school, a junior in my newspaper class thoughts that women produced breast milk for their boyfriends/husbands to drink while having sex...



Taught really, really, really, remedial math in NYC High School. Always looked for reason for students incorrect answers to help them understand. One student gave the answer "2" to a question that in no way could come to that result. OK. Going through few more papers, same question...same answer appears. Hmm, cheating? While handing out papers next day, I casually asked one student how he arrived at the answer "2?"

Response: My teacher (that phrase always meant they were referring to their Middle School teacher) always said to guess if I didn't know the answer, but don't guess the first answer because that's probably not right (is it apparent to you they are talking about taking a multiple choice test here?) Well, boy genius has "translated" this bit of educational nonsense into guessing "2" for anything he didn't know.

Never bothered to ask the second kid!!

BTW, I had finally decided to give only True/False exams, and partial credit. Still couldn't get passing marks for most kids.


Wall phones? Really?

Watching a video about dinosaurs. A 13 yo asks "How did they get video of real dinosaurs if they are all dead?"

Same girl also wanted to know how Mayans communicated with each other if they had no cell phones or "wall phones" as she called them.

Yeah. And my evaluation and raises depend on these kids.


Yes. Yes it did.


Not a teacher, but a witness to the face mine made which was definitely, "how are my students this dumb?"

It was 7th grade Lit and we were reading through The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. We had discussions throughout and the teacher would have us write a summary of what we had just read before class ended. When we were done with the book she did a slide show of pictures showing the attic they were in and the secret entrance. About halfway through these pictures we hear a boy in the back go, "Wait a minute. WHOA! This really happened?"

She stared at him for a very long time.