7 Baffling Phenomena of the Teaching World

Why does Lilly have a Cheeto puff and three crayon nubs up her nostrils?

Many things about teaching are unexplainable. Who started the trend of wearing rubber band bracelets? How does a high school senior fit inside a filing cabinet? Why does Lilly have a Cheeto puff and three crayon nubs up her nostrils?

Here are seven more phenomena that continue to mystify teachers every year across the country.


1. The Werewolf Effect

The Werewolf Effect has to do with the phenomenon of students turning completely insane the class day after a full moon. A fellow teacher told me it has to do with lack of sleep because of the abundance of moonlight… but I suspect creatures and curses are involved.

2. The Conversation Hallucination

Secondary teachers are exposed to this phenomenon more than any other grade level. The Conversation Hallucination happens when a teacher witnesses students having a conversation at a time in which conversations are forbidden (i.e. test-taking), but upon scrutiny students say they were never talking. Bewildering.

3. The Break Plague


Teachers getting sick the moment a school break sets in is perhaps one of the most tragic of the teaching phenomena. The worst case I’ve ever heard of Break Plague wasn’t actually even a disease at all, but a teacher who discovered that she had to report the Monday of her spring break… TO JURY DUTY.

4. The Omnipresent Pot-Stirrer

This is when a teacher’s most challenging student has near-perfect attendance.

5. The Academic Calendar Time Warp

At certain points on the academic calendar, time bends and stretches inexplicably. Scientists actually measured days for teachers, and have yet to explain why standardized test days last 96 hours, and yet the allotted classroom days to prepare in August last a mere 1.4 hours.

6. The Pre-Report Card Angelic Trance

Before grades are due, students often succumb to a bizarre trance in which their behavior suddenly and drastically improves. Teachers report an abnormally high number of favors offered and directions followed.

7. The Classroom Bermuda Triangle

Similar to the Household Objects Bermuda Triangle that lures keys, cell phones, and scissors into its trap, the Classroom Bermuda Triangle attracts certain objects from the classroom that are never seen again. Various types of tape (packing, duct, Scotch), Expo markers, staple removers, and students’ homework are among the items that fall prey to the Classroom Bermuda Triangle. In one study, as many as nine million classroom pencils were reported missing from one teacher’s classroom, vanished into thin air.

(This post has been brought to you by an X-Files binge-watching session on Netflix over the weekend.)