Yep, believe it or not, teachers are human! Try as we might, there are just those days when we crash and burn. But hey, at least we can get a good laugh out of it, right? Check out these hilarious epic teacher fails our community of teachers confessed (see the first 15 here).
1. I implied my kindergarteners were drug dealers.
“My kindergarten class was going to perform a hip hop dance as a finale to a week-long artist in residency program. I thought it would be adorable to have them all roll one pant leg up and really look like they were full of hip hop flavor…. Only the dance teacher told me afterwards that having particular pant leg rolled up was actually a signal to other people that you had drugs to sell. Hopefully, none of the parents in the audience knew….”
2. My consequence was off-target.
“First couple of days of the year, I was still learning names. One sixth grader just a would not stop talking or sit down. I told him I would call his mother if he didn’t stop. He said he didn’t care, so I asked him his name, looked up the phone number and called his mother. When I spoke to the mother, she was genuinely appalled and wanted to speak with her son. Upon handing him the phone with a “your mother wants to speak with you,” the boy doubled over laughing and squealed, “That’s not my mother! My name is…” The little twerp gave me the wrong name. I spent the next ten minutes apologizing profusely to the mother and her REAL child for the mistake. Most humiliating teaching moment ever!”
3. My handwriting betrayed me.
“My first year as a high school teacher, part of the directions I wrote on the board was, “Pen is fine.” Unfortunately, I had a spacing problem between “pen” and “is.”
4. I encouraged bad behavior.
“My eighth grade students are on a camping trip right now, and because of their cultural background, some of them were legitimately afraid of ghosts coming into their cabins. I told them that ghosts are afraid of farts or fart noises. If anything, I hope it will make them laugh instead of scaring themselves sleepless!”
5. I had to give myself a time out.
“My third graders were painting piggy banks. I warned my students not to spill the paint on the floor. One student asked what the consequence would be if they spilled. I said, “A lunch time out”. The moment I finished talking I knocked over an entire can of paint and everyone said I should get the consequence. I ended up giving myself a lunch time-out with the students who did the same thing.”
6. I was so busted.
During a formal observation: Me: “Class, why is it important to follow to rules during the lesson?” Students: “So we can get our cupcakes…”
7. I used a naughty word (and I didn’t even know it).
“I was teaching English overseas, and my students were teens not much younger than I was. The topic of the military came up, and I was trying to teach them what a ‘private’ is. When they couldn’t get it despite my explanations, I used what I thought was the appropriate translation, a word I had heard my boyfriend use to describe his own time as a new soldier. I was immediately aware that I had slipped up when the room went dead silent and my mentor teacher registered a look of shock. Later when I asked my boyfriend about it, he roared with laughter. Turns out the term I used essentially made a very vulgar, uncomplimentary, and completely inappropriate reference to a specific part of the male anatomy. I was mortified. And quite grateful that they didn’t call me up for a disciplinary hearing or worse.”
8. I smelled really, really bad.
“I am a first year teacher and I have had a few oops this year. My baby was visiting our class after a doctor’s appointment. A student of mine was holding my baby’s hand and all of a sudden my baby spit up, ALL OVER. The student jumped back in time but it ended up all over me. I got to teach the rest of the day smelling like baby spit up.”
9. I needed a secretary.
“I gave my sixth graders a spelling test a couple of months ago. However, instead of the test, I had made copies of and handed out the answer key. No one said a word until a student mentioned it on the way out of class. I was wondering why so many students had a perfect score.”
10. I dared to sit down.
“During my very first formal observation EVER, I gave the principal my chair, forgot, and attempted to sit in it. Needless to say, I fell on the floor, but my kids asked if I was okay before they laughed!”
11. I had an “Officer Buckle” moment.
“I was taking down a poster while standing on my teacher chair (with wheels). Needless to say, the chair went out from under me and I grabbed on to the bulletin board and pulled it off the wall. All this occurred while my students were in the room. You could hear a pin drop until I told them it was okay to laugh.”
12. And I had a “Mrs. Toggle” moment!
“While trying to unstick a winter coat zipper, I smacked a kid in the nose when the zipper finally gave way”
13. I was too efficient for my own good.
“I worked at a preschool and after nap time started stacking up cots. After about the third one, I realized a child was still sleeping in the bottom one under a blanket. She was completely fine and none the wiser—thank goodness!”
14. I freaked out over an insect.
“I was teaching on the first floor of an old school, when a wasp landed on a window. The kids started screaming, so I swatted it with a textbook. The window pane fell out and shattered at the feet of the Headmaster who just happened to be strolling by on his morning round! It missed him by centimeters!”
15. I cracked open a cold one.
On my first day of teaching, I sat timidly in the teacher’s lounge. I had brought a lunch box, pulled out my can of diet coke and took a whiff! It was a can of COORS LIGHT….the can colors were exactly the same. Needless to say, I quickly took the full can to my boss, who laughed it off.”
What are your most epic teacher fails? Do you dare to share?
Join our Facebook group WeAreTeachers—First Years! to connect with other new teachers, and learn more about how you can navigate your classroom and life.