There's no question about it — since virtual learning began, students, teachers, and even parents have experienced enough embarrassing "Oops, I forgot to turn off the mic" moments to last a lifetime:
Well, Reddit user u/AsteroidPizza asked students to share their most unforgettable "forgot to turn the mic off" story from virtual learning, and these made me laugh and cringe like I haven't laughed and cringed in a lonnnnnng time:
1. "I was defending my thesis over Zoom about immune response in fish to parasites. Well, one professor joined late, forgot to mute her mic, and said, 'Shhh, Mommy is learning about fish parasites, which is what you'll get if you don't stop peeing in the Koi pond!'"
2. "My teacher had left his mic on while talking to his wife, which wasn't a big deal. But then he got on the phone and said, 'Yeah, honey, my wife just left — wanna come over?' The entire class went batshit!"
3. "I was doing an online algebra camp, and my teacher forgot to turn off his mic while we were working and said, 'I fucking hate math.'"
4. "One day, I heard the clapping sound of a kid jerking off in class. His name lit up and everything."
5. "It was right when the pandemic started. The president of my university was presenting something to be recorded for upload when his wife came into the room — mad as hell — telling him to go clean the toilet and that she's not his slave to clean his shit!"
"A few very awkward seconds later, he just said, 'Maybe we need to edit this later.'"
6. "One of my elementary students left their camera on and their mother walked by naked."
"I'm guessing she asked him to leave the room so she could change or something, not realizing the camera was left on."
7. "Not a mic story, but a friend of mine Facebook-stalked a cute guy in her class...before realizing she was still screen-sharing."
8. "I was in a seven-week training when a mute unmuted his call, farted the longest fart I've ever heard in my life, and then muted the call again."
"I could see other people laughing on mute, realizing that he thought he was unmuted and was trying to mute his call. It was the highlight of my week...until the next week, when he did it again! I started to wonder if it was some kind of power move."
9. "In one my my classes, one girl wrote 'This is so fucking boring' in the Zoom chat, not realizing that the professor could see it."
10. "We were taking a test in math class, and we had to keep our mics on to prevent cheating. Well, some girl apparently forgot that hers was on, and she started belting out 'Stand By You' by Rachel Platten at the top of her lungs! She sang the entire song, and was still humming when I finished my test and left the call."
11. "I was in a meeting with 180 people, and I didn't realize my mic was still on after I finished speaking — until I walked into the kitchen and my dad went, 'What's up bitch boy?!'"
12. "One of my third graders stopped in the middle of class, took his laptop to the bathroom, and sat on the toilet for the rest of the meeting."
13. "I had forgotten to mute myself on the first day of school, and I started noisily baby-talking my cat, who was in my lap."
14. "One girl forgot to mute herself in my English class, and while the teacher was talking, she was yelling to her mother that she was in English class. Well, her mother yelled back, 'Oh, the hot teacher?!' and she answered, 'Yeah, that guy!'"
"I'll admit that my teacher is fairly attractive, but it does take it to another level when you get your own mother involved. Thankfully, our teacher is a chill guy and thought the whole thing was kind of funny."
15. "Last semester, a girl placed an entire dinner order over the phone with her mic on. We all tried to tell her it was on, but I think she had us muted. She got a chicken gyro."
16. "My teacher was holding the class 15 minutes after the period had ended, and she said, 'Keep working arduously.' I responded with, 'If she says "arduously" one more time, I'm going to flip a table!' I was not on mute."
17. "We were in a team meeting and our host forgot to turn off screen-sharing when we saw him accept a new job offer. Funniest thing I've ever seen."
18. "I teach live classes for an online university and one morning a student popped in late. I said, 'Hello, So-and-So! Thanks for joining us,' and she responded, 'Don't say my name, bitch!' before realizing her mic was on. I just laughed."
19. "Last week, a kid in my brother's class forgot his camera was on and was smoking a giant gas mask bong on his face during the syllabus review."
20. "One of my college students' boyfriends walked up behind her on Zoom, reached into her shirt, pulled out her breasts, and started doing a little boob dance."
"She just laughed and slapped his hands away. And this was probably 30 seconds after I went through a whole speech about making sure there was nothing in your browser history that could be embarrassing or offensive."
21. "One of my classmates forgot to turn off her mic and suddenly started screaming at her parents in Chinese. I wish I understood what she said."
"After a few minutes, she realized she wasn't muted and gasped."
22. "When I was a flight attendant, we used handheld mics to make announcements. Well, one female passenger got in my friend's face and screamed at her that if her bags were lost or damaged, she would make sure to hold her personally responsible..."
"My friend was pretty shaken by her loudness, anger, and spittle, and tried to hold it together to give her departure briefing. She said, 'Welcome aboard Flight Such-and-such, service to Orlando. You fucking bitch.' She had forgotten to mute herself on that last part. The entire plane lost it."