Skip To Content

    "It Probably Wasn't The Best Idea, But It Was So Much Fun": Adults Are Sharing What Their Teachers Did Decades Ago That Would *Not* Fly In Today's Classrooms

    "My second-grade teacher would give kids a licking if they were naughty — and this meant she would lick their faces."

    If you or someone you know went to school in the '70s, '80s, or '90s, you may be aware that the "rules" teachers had to abide by were pretty "loose."

    Lots of BuzzFeed Community members chimed in with their own examples in a similar post I published a few weeks ago. After that, I heard from even more people. Here are some of their answers!

    1. "I had a college professor who was retiring at the end of the year (in the early '00s). Instead of holding a final, he invited the class to a local bar around lunchtime. When we got there, he had already ordered more than a dozen pitchers of beer. There were 14 of us, and at least half were underage. We proceeded to get wasted with him telling us various stories from his career. He didn't get into any trouble, I got an A in the class, and it remains my greatest college class experience."

    a dive bar

    2. "I had a long-term sub in my early elementary years. I cannot remember the grade, but I do remember her not allowing us to erase anything as we shouldn't be 'making mistakes the first time.' And if we did make a mistake and knew it, too bad, the answer was wrong because we should have thought about what we were doing first. We all were 8 years old."

    nicklesandpickles4200

    3. "In second grade, I had a teacher who got so annoyed at a boy who repeatedly got out of his desk without permission (to get water/to go to the bathroom/sharpen his pencil/wander aimlessly) that she used a belt to secure him to his chair. It was 1990."

    winterwednesday9

    4. "My algebra teacher/gym coach would have us all at one end of the football field as he practiced golf. If we caught the ball in the air (ouch!), it was five points. If we tackled someone else to capture it, it was three points. And if we just picked it up and avoided being tackled, it was one point."

    a golf club against a gold ball

    5. "In the '70s, my second grade teacher would give kids a licking if they were naughty — and this meant she would lick their faces. Another terrible thing she did was collect all the gum she caught kids chewing in a jar, and then when she decided there was enough gum in the jar, she'd make the next kid who was caught chew all the gum in the jar at once."

    jadodreamer

    6. "I had a few younger teachers during high school (they were in their early to mid-20s), and nobody at the school batted an eye when teachers would occasionally dance with the students at prom, homecoming, etc. I recently went through photos I took at dances, and I’m floored that it was 'acceptable' at the time."

    prom king and queen

    7. "The head coach of my high school football team got fired for punching a kid in the face. Then, they made him principal. That’s small-town Texas for ya."

    wonkobox

    8. "I was heavily involved in our HS theatre department (both onstage and as crew), and during the lead-up to a show, I tended to be working nonstop. My director once allowed me to sleep during free periods in a bed that was onstage as part of the scenery. She also gave me a permanent pass to leave classes whenever I wanted and drove me home from school early on a few occasions."

    seppoyank

    9. "Around 1996-1997, a girl in my science class made fun of me because my dad died. I smashed her over the head with my science book, and the teacher did nothing because she said she heard what the girl said to me and she deserved it!"

    a stack of books

    10. "In middle school gym class, we would play 'individual dodgeball.' Every person for themself. It was a total free-for-all. We'd just run around the gym pegging balls at each other. Lots of people would accidentally run into one another (including my friend and me who ran smack face/forehead-first into each other, both of us ending up with bloody noses and possibly mild concussions). If you got hit, you had to sit down exactly where you were, which, of course, led to the people still playing tripping over the people sitting. But if you were sitting and managed to get a ball (you couldn't move from the spot), you could go back into play, so that also led to people trying to stretch their arms to get a ball, reaching up as someone got near them, etc., which also led to people falling. It was chaos, and probably not the best idea, but so much fun."

    wgolden130

    11. "In second or third grade, one of our classmates broke his arm and had to stay home for a few days. He lived roughly half a mile from the school. The teacher took our whole class for a walk to his house to say hi to him and make him feel better. In retrospect, it was a super sweet thing to do."

    brandonn004

    12. "I forget what grade I was in, but I was a very picky eater so my mom would pack my lunch every day in my Holly Hobbie lunch box. One day, I forgot my lunch box, and the school had me get the cafeteria lunch. It was something I didn't like: tuna. After you finished your lunch, all the kids got to go play in the playground, but they told me I couldn't go out and play until I ate my tuna. Not only was I a picky eater, but I was stubborn, so I just sat there quietly looking at the sandwich while all the other kids went out to recess. It was still lunchtime, and soon, I was the only kid left in the cafeteria.

    an opened can of tuna

    13. "My fifth-grade teacher was an older guy (my class was his last before he retired), and he had zero tolerance for anyone writing while he was speaking. It didn’t matter if you were finishing the last sentence for your study notes; if he was close to you and saw you still writing, he’d grab your paper and tear it up."

    imaginaryximageryx

    14. "I had a teacher who'd put a video on and make us take turns to tickle her back."

    drmelewis

    15. "When I was in high school, I had a driver's education class. We had an instructor for the on-the-road experience. While we were driving around town, he would get a flask of whiskey out and drink it."

    a glass of whiskey on top of a table

    16. "In seventh grade, a girl was hungry and took out her sandwich to quickly take a bite. Teacher: There will be no food in this classroom! Girl: But I'm hungry, and I'm already feeling dizzy. Teacher: Then go lie on your desk and meditate, but there will be no food!"

    sass2511

    17. "In 2000, I was a first grader at a private Christian school, and my teacher used to threaten to duct tape students to their chairs for standing by their desks instead of sitting in them."

    m4d7060c31

    18. "In 10th grade, we took a school trip to Italy, visiting Venice for the day. A teacher hands out notebook-sized copies of the city map with two big X's on it, one on the left side, and the other on the right side. Teacher: You're here (points to X on the right side), the bus is there (X on the left side), see you in 6 hours!"

    venice at night

    19. "It was a private school in '81/'82, but we had sleepovers at our second-grade teacher’s house. One weekend, the girls went, and the boys went the following weekend. Nothing weird or bad happened, and I still remember my time at that school fondly, 40 years later."

    reptilegirl

    20. "In third grade, our lunch monitor would roll in the TV and let us watch Days of Our Lives."

    jasonsayona

    21. "I went to a private Baptist school in Southern California from 1995-2004. The biggest punishment (before expulsion) you could get was being paddled by the principal with this wooden boat oar that had holes drilled in it. It was terrifying."

    two wooden boat oars against a wall

    22. "This was in the early 2000s, but I saw my first James Bond movie in the cinema thanks to my art teacher. One of my classmates had only recently come to the UK from China, and she'd never heard of James Bond. Our teacher decided that that simply would not do, checked the newspaper for the cinema times, and drove us down there to watch it with her!

    "She had a CD player and a kettle in the art room, too, and during lessons, she'd let us put on music provided it was good and let us make all the hot drinks we wanted. She was the one who introduced me to a couple of bands that I loved growing up (namely The White Stripes and t.A.T.u.)."

    rhiannong3

    23. "In 9th grade, a teacher threw a science book at my friend and me for talking. If a teacher did that today, the parents would probably sue the school or at least get the teacher fired."

    zozothecat

    24. "Not a teacher, but my bus driver got into a fistfight with a dad for kicking his kids off the bus. It was hilarious. He put the break on, got out, and they just started punching the shit out of one another. Someone broke it up, he got back on the bus, and nothing else was ever said about it."

    school bus

    25. "A substitute at my elementary school was well-known for telling kids who answered 'I don't know' to any question with 'Well, you're either deaf or you're stupid.' One day, he said it to a kid who was, in fact, hard of hearing. It was somewhat vindicating to watch that kid calmly tell the teacher that. But that vindication doesn't cancel out the dread everyone would feel when this guy was your substitute."

    yesterdayspants

    26. "A seventh-grade teacher had me punch another student who had waved papers in my face."

    jdeghart

    27. "My old woodwork teacher used to meet me in the lane behind our school for a cigarette break. '90s teachers, man!"

    a woman smoking a cigarette

    28. "One teacher in elementary school used to dump out a kid's desk if she thought it was too messy. She also made us line up at the end of every day to hug her as we left the class (and she was one of those teachers everyone was terrified of, which made the hugging thing extra uncomfortable). One day, when she hugged me, she pulled me aside to ask me when I started wearing a bra. So ridiculous."

    nicoleross76

    29. "A middle school teacher would toss peanuts at kids for answering questions in class…peanuts!

    cherylo4f65f517b

    30. "In 8th grade, I got assigned a baseball bat to 'use' on the guy who sat next to me in science class if he acted out. This was a joke, but our teacher just felt 13-year-old girls could control 13-year-old boys better than anyone. And he was right as several years later, I found out my science table partner has his own baseball bat."

    someone holding a baseball bat

    Did you have a teacher back in the day who did certain things that simply would not fly in today's world? If so, tell us in the comments below.