1. "The worst teacher I ever had was my ninth-grade English teacher. She had my sibling six years before me and hated them so much, she never even gave me a chance. She failed absolutely everything I turned in (most of the time without even looking at it) and tried to kick me out of her classroom for no reason. She admitted to the school administration that she knew I was just like my sibling and wouldn't waste her time on me (for perspective, my sibling barely graduated and I averaged 80s and 90s). I ended up doing a private study for English that year with the vice principal because it was a small school with no other English classes to transfer into."
2. "There’s a substitute teacher at my daughter's middle school who refused to let the kids go to the bathroom. One boy was shaking in his seat because he was to the point of wetting himself. She refused to let girls go when they were concerned they’d gotten their period in class or were about to bleed through. She also told my daughter the way WE pronounce OUR last name was incorrect. The school had a fundraiser where the kids could donate a dollar, and the teacher with the most money raised would get pied in the face at an assembly...guess who won by a landslide?"
3. "I had a music teacher who screamed at me until I cried. She told me that if I were her daughter, she'd backhand me across the face, all because she felt I wasn't showing enough emotion while performing and would never make it as a professional. I didn't want to be a professional and had never indicated otherwise. Then she hugged me and told me she loved me..."
4. "One day, my entire third-grade class got in trouble for throwing sand during recess. My mom was there to see our class rehearse our Thanksgiving play (she had to work for the real performance), so she got to see my teacher yell at us for 10 minutes about how we were supposed to be the 'smart kids.' This was a 'gifted class' we all tested into — she thought we were 'dumb' to throw sand. Then, while half the class was still crying and trying to perform the Thanksgiving play, the teacher turned to my mom and said, 'Some days, I just want to take a BB gun, shoot them, and see which ones survive.'"
"My mom politely tried to tell her that maybe she shouldn't be teaching, and the teacher responded, 'Oh, well, no one else wanted to teach this class, so I had to do it.'
"Luckily our family moved, so I didn't stay in her class much longer. Her house burned down later that year, and they brought in a sub to finish the year for her."
5. "In my country, we have religious schools held separately. Since my family wasn't that religious when I was growing up, I also wasn't fluent in reading Arabic. There was a substitute teacher (who mistreated me) when I was absent one day. When I came in the next day, the first thing she asked was for everyone to stand up. She went to each person and asked to see their handkerchief (I should add that this was more than 20 years ago — we lived in a hot, humid country, and there wasn't any air conditioning). Anyway, students who did not bring a handkerchief were pinched on the arm — it looked painful, and I thought to myself, I shouldn't get pinched — I was absent. How was I to know this rule?! But nope — she wasn't accepting that reason and went ahead with the punishment. It left a bruise."
"I told my mom on her, and my teacher said she didn't like students wiping their sweat on their uniform. My mom told her off, and afterward, she stopped the punishment (I have no idea how long it had been going on).
"I feel bad for her past students — if it left a lingering memory for me after one punishment, what about the others?"
6. "This was my math teacher, who was also the sex ed teacher and a coach. He was very determined to ensure that the girls in his math class knew that STEM was not for girls. He refused to answer questions in class from girls and said things like, 'It's okay if you don't get this — you won't need it after high school' (only to the girls). His sex ed class involved leaving us alone in the room to watch videos on sexually transmitted diseases and schizophrenia and to do self-guided busywork."
7. "My seventh-grade English teacher was the worst — it felt as if she had it out for me for some reason. I have blonde hair, and she would call me an 'airhead' and act as if I didn't know anything. She would do this in the classroom in front of everyone. I ended up failing that class because she refused to help me, and I ended up going to summer school."
8. "In middle school honors algebra, I had a teacher tell me that I 'didn’t have the same spark of learning in [my] eyes that the cis boys did.' I had an A in the class and tutored some of the other students because he didn't care to teach us much. That made me believe I was terrible at math, up until my 100% amazing Advanced Placement calculus teacher went above and beyond to help me realize I was actually good at it."
9. "My worst teacher was Mr. S. from fourth grade. He actually encouraged students to bully me and make me cry. He called me lazy and stupid (I actually had dyslexia but was reading at a 10th-grade level). He told me that 'girls can't do math' because our brains were meant for keeping house and social skills. This was in the mid-'90s."
10. "For the first few years of my secondary school education, I had a math teacher who was a brilliant mathematician. But she couldn't understand that students weren't as smart as she was in her subject. She was given the lowest-level math class to teach, when she should have had the highest-level one. She accused me of asking questions to interrupt the class, when, in reality, I couldn't understand what she was saying."
11. "I once had a high school theater teacher 'jokingly' tell me to kill myself in front of the entire class because I was crying about something unrelated. Everyone just kind of went quiet, like, 'Huh???' And then she got really offended that we weren't laughing about it. The tech theater teacher (an actual saint) called my parents that night to check on me and made sure they knew because he knew I wasn't going to stand up for myself on my own. Teachers in general are fantastic and underappreciated, but that woman was something else."
12. "I had an algebra teacher in high school who refused to teach. He would sit and talk to everyone and tell stories for 40 minutes, and for the last 10 minutes of class, he went over a concept and assigned homework. I tried transferring out of his class into another one with a math teacher who was awesome, but was told that wasn't possible. The reason? The terrible teacher literally taught the textbook backward so that students couldn't transfer out of his class 🤦🏻♀️."
13. "I remember having a teacher who would barely read a lesson from the textbook, assigned homework, and then actually taught the concepts while reviewing the homework. The catch was that if you didn't complete the homework, you had to sit in the hallway during the 'review.' I regularly didn't do my homework for this class because I'd spend over an hour on it outside of school, so in addition to study hall, I still didn't understand anything. There was one time I was bawling because she chewed me out for not doing my homework. When I kept explaining I didn't understand it, her only response was, 'We went over it in class,' and later mocked me in the classroom for still being upset."
"She also once got mad at me for having a fidget toy in the hallway, and told me she wanted me to stop bringing them to school (I'm autistic, and fidget toys were part of my accommodations — which she was at the meeting for).
"This teacher apparently told my mom she always accommodated my disability (she specifically cited something she'd do for me that I repeatedly told her made it worse) and that I could always come to her if I was struggling with the class. I asked my mom WTF she was talking about with that."
14. "My worst teacher was my 11th-grade history teacher, Mr. W. (he was also a coach, so he had an attitude). It was Thanksgiving week (meaning we only had to go to school on Monday and Tuesday) — I had to miss school those two days because of an accident that happened a week before. This accident actually happened on campus because I volunteered to help clean the auditorium after an event. Anyway, Mr. W. decided to give out a surprise test during Thanksgiving week that was a big part of our grade. Since I wasn't there to take it, I got a zero. I explained to him what had happened and presented a doctor's note, but he didn't believe me and said it was my fault for not being there. Long story short, I talked to my counselor, who then talked to the principal, who then privately talked to Mr. W. I took the test and passed."
15. And finally: "I've had some super-horrible teachers and some super-awesome ones, but my second-grade teacher was the worst. I was a little kid with raging ADHD, and I couldn't organize for the life of me. She just equated this to me being an 'idiot' and refused to actually teach me anything. This year I'm 18, and I'm still trying to learn elementary school math because I missed so much. My best teacher was probably my English teacher my last year of high school — I missed class/was late all the time, but that never bothered him. I got a ton of work done and it was done very well, and he was always encouraging. He never diminished me or my ADHD."
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.
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