Teachers are low-key heroes. They teach us how to navigate the world and oftentimes leave a lasting impact on us.
But even the best teachers have ~questionable~ assignment ideas every once in a while.
And then, of course, there are those teachers (who probably shouldn't be teachers in the first place) who give their students just straight-up problematic or ignorant assignments.
Here are some of the best responses:
1. "When I was in seventh grade and learning about photosynthesis, my science teacher had us pick a partner, find a backing track, and put all the relevant terms into a science rap. Each group had to get up in front of the class and sing their photosynthesis rap. My group's rap was extremely embarrassing. We had a beatboxer in the background and everything. 😳😬🤣🤣"
2. "In my high school AP US History class, we had to make Manifest Destiny board games. Manifest Destiny is the idea that white Christian settlers were destined to take over land from indigenous folks through westward expansion. So, pointless and racist."
3. "My eighth-grade history teacher broke us up into groups, and we had to choreograph an interpretive dance to the words of the Preamble to the Constitution. Then, we had to perform the dance while singing the words to the Preamble in front of the class. It was weird as hell."
4. "The school I went to was one for students who needed extra help due to circumstances that heavily impacted their lives. Most of our backgrounds were not openly discussed, and the school was an escape and comfort knowing we were around people who understood what struggle was. My senior year, we got a new English/lit teacher. Her writing project was for us to write our life stories. She said she wanted us to include true stories with the key moments that impacted us. After she graded them, we had to read them to the rest of the whole school.
"It was so out of touch for her to do something like that — grade our trauma and have us share it without the option of bowing out."
5. "I took an advanced Spanish 2 class in college. The professor never really planned lessons. One day, we had to play a game where we had to chase each other around, blindfolded. I forget the objective, but we weren’t even talking in Spanish!
"We also did other pointless activities like coloring and karaoke, and if you didn’t sing, you got zero participation points. What a waste of $7,000."
6. "At some point in elementary school, like third or fourth grade, I had an assignment to fake invest and track stocks. If I remember correctly, we just abandoned the assignment because no one understood what was happening. But I remember having to look through the newspaper for yesterday's closing numbers despite the internet very much existing."
7. "My eighth-grade English teacher made us write an essay on how we would defend her if we heard another student refer to her as 'Silly Lilly' (the teacher's first name was Lillian).
"What a narcissist with a need to have her ego fed! The truth was that most students called her far worse than 'Silly Lilly' behind her back."
8. "In health class, we had to partner up and take turns being blindfolded and fed. It was very hot chicken noodle soup, so we burned our mouths."
9. "In science class, we were given homework that was 'make a Punnett square for a trait about yourself.' I was adopted at birth. When I told the teacher this, she made me do it anyway."
10. "My third-through-fifth grade art teacher once made us work on a drawing for, like, a month to demonstrate how, if we work on a project for too long, we will eventually come to hate it. It worked."
11. "We had a teacher in high school who was an avid fly fisherman. He tied his own flies, so we were told we would be given extra credit if we brought in the feathers or fur of specific birds or animals for his fly tying.
"Basically, we would find road kill and grab some fur or feathers off of it and bring it in to him. Additional credit if we could bring in exactly what he needed (i.e. red pheasant feathers, etc.)."
12. "For Black History Month, my (white) fourth-grade teacher had us decorate russet potatoes to look like prominent Black Americans. I got Louis Armstrong. At the time, it seemed respectful, but looking back, it was pretty weird and arguably racist. I think their heart was in the right place, but I don’t think a teacher would assign something like that now.
"On a side note: One kid froze their potato, which proceeded to melt, and our room smelled like french fries for a week. Fun times."
13. "In eighth grade, there was a huge apartment building under construction in my town that collapsed because management told the construction workers to continue building when the concrete foundation was not yet sufficiently strong. Several people died. My English teacher asked us to write a letter to the management of that company telling them they were horrible people and it was their fault those people were killed. I had no desire to do this, nor did my classmates who saw it as a tragedy for which everyone involved was likely already suffering."
14. "In college, my sociology professor gave us an assignment that required us to go to a store that had wheelchairs/scooters for people who are either physically disabled or with limited mobility, take one, shop in it, and record our experience in an essay. I guess I get where the general idea came from, but I didn't feel comfortable taking something that another person needed in order to get a grade."
15. "In community college, I had a teacher make us write our own 50-question test for a unit. She didn’t make us swap them with other students — we answered our own made-up tests. Of course, I got a perfect score because I came up with the questions. She asked me if I cheated. 😳"
16. "In seventh grade, we studied the Holocaust. Our language arts teacher designed an assignment called the 'L of Lutzke' (her name) where we had to wear an arm band for a whole week that allowed teachers and students to treat us like outcasts and pick on us.
"One kid had to run laps backwards around the cafeteria until he was told to stop, which was one of the more tame things that happened. You also weren't allowed to hide the band or you'd be punished even more harshly."
17. "In high school English, we read Death on the Ice, a book about 100+ men who were trapped on a sheet of floating ice for several days. We had a test on the book, and my teacher gave hot chocolate and cookies to every student who got over a 90%, water and cookies to anyone who got between a 70-89%, water and hard bread to anyone who got between 50-69%, and if you failed, you had to mop the floor (one person failed).
"It was like a very unfair party, and everyone could tell what grade you got. Oh, and if you got below a 70%, you also had to walk around the school with no coat as if you were a character in the book. This was February in Canada…"
18. "My college psych professor, a man in his 50s, made our class write several prompted responses and a short paper on the impact of Iggy Azalea’s album The New Classic. I still for the life of me couldn’t tell you why."
19. "When I was in grade four and we were learning about the stamp act, our teachers started charging us five cents for every piece of paper we used. And we couldn’t bring our own. It took about a week before they finally told us that they wanted us to experience what the colonists experienced when Britain taxed them."
20. "At my small Catholic middle school, I had an English teacher who used to teach college students. Once a week, for 45 minutes, we had to copy, by hand, word-for-word, chapters out of a 40-year-old college textbook."
21. "In middle school, our gym teacher required every student to come up with their own gymnastics routine — set to music — and perform it in front of the entire class. It was humiliating for us less athletic/coordinated kids. The teacher didn’t actually offer any help or advice either, so the only thing we learned was how bad we were at creating and performing gymnastics routines.
"It was winter, so we had to practice inside, and many of us didn’t even have a large enough space to practice. Try perfecting a cartwheel in a tiny living room on a 5x7 area rug!"
22. "My school thought it would unite all the grades if we wrote a poem together. We all got the same prompt and had to write one sentence in response. The prompt was 'What do you fear most?' The English teachers collected the responses and hung them all over the school. It was meant to be empowering, but it was so depressing!
"You’d be walking down the hall reading things like 'I fear failure' and 'I’m scared none of my friends like me.' There were also people who wrote things like 'I’m scared of chicken nuggets.' I still don’t understand what they were trying to achieve with that."
23. "When I was in the ninth grade attending private Christian school, we were introduced to term papers. These were intimidating enough, but then, the teacher gave us the assignment: 'Talk about the three kinds of love: brotherly love, Godly love, and romantic love.' This was in 2005, by the way, and the internet wan't as filtered as it is today, so lots of us accidentally found gay porn.
"After we mentioned this to our teacher, she told us it would be the first and ONLY time she ever assigned that as a term paper."