Students Describe The Worst Teacher They Ever Had

There are two types of teachers: Those who inspire and encourage their students to grow up and be the best that they can be, and those who make school a living nightmare. Between kindergarten, primary school, high school and college, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of both types of teachers—but let’s be honest, it’s the bad ones that you really remember. From educators who have no idea what they’re doing to professors who constantly misplace their students’ homework, these are some of the worst teachers people have ever had.

Don’t forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 Didn’t Know Algebra

I had an algebra teacher that legit didn’t know algebra. She was actually a computer teacher but the school needed someone for algebra and didn’t want to hire another teacher. She would stand at the board, write a problem from the book, then flip to the answer key and write down the answer. When we asked her how she worked the problem, she always said, “Look in the book.”

#2 Specific Notes

I had an English teacher in 9th grade who required that notes be taken in her ridiculously specific format. It was something like:

Date on top line, (MMMM DD, YYYY).
Skip a line.
Word of the day.
Word of the day definition. Must include the IPA pronunciation, which she did not write on the board, so we had to learn the alphabet.
Skip a line.
Draw a horizontal line across the entire page.
Skip a line.
All subsequent notes must be kept in perfect MLA outline format.

At the end of class, we had to hand in our notebooks. If we didn’t adhere perfectly to these rules, we got a 0 for the day. The best part? Handing in our notebooks meant we didn’t have our notes to use for homework that night. We had to just remember everything.

#3 Constantly Late

So many to choose… At college, there was a teacher that would regularly turn up 30 minutes late. We complained that it was impacting our education and the head, of course, responded by going zero tolerance on students who were even a second late.

#4 Didn’t Have The Gift Of Teaching

I had a physics teacher who was so spectacularly bad at explaining anything, that I would wager money that he could teach you that 2+2=4 in such a way that you wouldn’t be able to understand it. I promise you I’m not exaggerating. I was a straight-A student under a different teacher the previous year, and right away started flunking under him.

I was only able to survive because I started sleeping through his class or skipping it altogether, and just reading the textbook on my own at home. That’s how terrible he was. Not really a bad guy or anything, just unable to teach. Basically, he’s living proof that just because you understand something doesn’t mean you can teach it. Teaching really is a gift and skill that not everyone has.

#5 Threw A Chair

This teacher threw a chair at someone because he kept talking. I don’t know if the student deserved it or the teacher was kinda crazy.

#6 Had Rituals

My second grade teacher searched school bags, seized all TMNT and Puppy in my Pocket toys, and made the whole class attend a ceremony where she threw them into the drain while praying aloud against Satan. Apparently God told her to do that. She was later institutionalized, but only after we had to endure her for nine months.

#7 Detention For No Reason

Mrs. Cologna. After getting a 100 on a fractions test in third grade (I was the only one in the class to get a 100) she told me I could play with blocks. I let out a “yes!” (I was a kid!) and instead, I ended up in the timeout chair and a note home.

#8 She Was Rude

The art teacher I had for the first two years of high school. She hated me because I wasn’t as good at art as my older sister. She’d call me a disgrace to my sister’s name, she’d rip up my work if it wasn’t up to standard, she’d scream that I was wasting her time when I was trying my best and, eventually, actually requested that I got moved to a different class for my third year of art. Needless to say, the woman killed any aspiration I had to be good at art so I gave it up for my final two years.

#9 Bad French Teacher

The French teacher for the highest-level class offered in school doesn’t feel the need to speak French with her students, even though there’s an end-of-year exam with large spontaneous speaking components. She then wonders why everyone’s skills are worsening.

#10 He Belittled His Students

College sociology professor. He would ask random questions very pointedly towards people who he thought would disagree. He also worded the question in a way that didn’t sound like a question and mocked the student for not understanding what he was asking. When he asked for questions and no one had any he would stand there until someone made up a question.

When you asked a question he would belittle you for your question and never actually answer it. We had to do weekly assignments. We always got random grades regardless of how well we followed the syllabus. I turned in a totally blank Google doc once and got a 92 percent. He never even read them.

#11 She Was Wrong

My maternal language teacher. She told me I’ll never pass the national exam at my language. I got a 90.5 percent on it.

#12 Too Many Notes

My fourth grade religion teacher. She would bring big pieces of manila paper to class, tape it on the board and tell us to copy whatever was written on it. We usually spent an hour copying the notes and we needed to show her our notebook once we were done. A friend of mine finished earlier than usual because she decided to paraphrase the notes to make it shorter. The teacher got mad because it wasn’t word for word, so she ripped my friend’s notebook in half and told her to start over.

#13 She Made Them Wait

My first grade teacher. Even after I threw up on my desk and my classmate peed himself, she STILL made us wait to use the bathroom.

#14 She Was Going Through A Divorce

When I was around nine, I had a teacher who absolutely hated my guts. She screamed at me, never took my side in discussions, and scared me to the point where I cried during class. It became so serious that we had to sort it out with the help of the school counselor and my mom. Turns out, this teacher was going through a very bad divorce at the moment and my mom ended up becoming her “friend.” As in my mom would console her, give advice, take her to the beauty salon and shopping, etc. The teacher became ten times better, and is doing great now, as far as I know. It was a weird year.

#15 She Had Favorites

I had a teacher who had a son studying in my class. She was getting furious if someone got better marks than him.

#16 He Was A Misogynist

For an electrical engineering class, we had a teacher who would take any question as a personal attack. Someone asked a perfectly reasonable question about calculating phase differences and he went off on a spiel about China and how the guy asking the question would never get a job? He was a weirdo in every regard. He and his wife had no common language and would use their kid to translate between them. Seriously.

The question was so simple, too. When it became apparent he had no intention of answering it, I wrote out a diagram explaining what they were missing and passed it over. Then a week or so later he went on another rant about how it was a waste of time teaching engineering to women. And got fired.

#17 She Had Attitude

For me, it was the art teacher. She seemed to believe her subject is what mattered most in life. I got straight A’s. I just sucked at anything related to drawing. Art is ALSO a subject! If you fail this I will hold YOU back a year! I was trying… Her attitude didn’t help either.

#18 She Misplaced Homework

When I was little, we had a class project to write and illustrate a story before we broke up for Christmas. I was dead set on being a novelist at the time, so I went all in on it. I spent hours on this fucking thing. It was, by the standards of my nine-year-old self, a masterpiece. I handed it in the day before we left, and went to enjoy my Christmas.

January rolls around, and everyone’s story gets handed out… everyone’s, that is, except mine. I apparently didn’t hand it in, and the teacher decided it was a good idea to call me out in front of the class for it—how everyone else managed to get their work in except Hazel, and wasn’t that a shame, and why did I decide to lie about handing it in rather than just saying sorry for not doing the work? This despite the fact that she knew full well how hard I’d worked on it. I spent most of the afternoon in tears. I was gutted.

Insult to injury, it turned out that I had handed it in and she’d just misplaced it. A few days later, she told me privately that it had “turned up.” No apology or anything. And she said she “had to” give me a lower mark because it was late, even though it was in her desk the entire time. I was a tiny little ball of rage, I don’t mind telling you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: screw Mrs. Harding.

#19 Teacher Was Also A Bully

“Coming to me because someone said your butt is pizza? You deserve to be laughed at,” and the entire second grade class laughed at me.

#20 He Had A Bad Day

He was generally a pretty good teacher, but my Linear Algebra professor in college had one really bad day. He was writing on a chalkboard with his back to the class, explaining the day’s lesson. I remember almost nothing about Linear Algebra, so the basic gist was, “Sometimes, you’ll solve an equation using this method, but sometimes you’ll solve it using the other method.”

He then gets quiet for a moment and stops writing. His back is still to the class and he says, “But sometimes you’ll find out your wife’s breast cancer is back, and nothing seems to matter anymore… Class is dismissed.” We were five minutes into a ninety-minute lecture, but no one questioned it. Every student filed out of that room quietly, and the professor stood there facing the chalkboard the whole time.

#21 She Was Tough

My second grade teacher. I hated her. She got on my case a lot. Once, I accidentally said “what the heck” and she thought I said hell.

#22 He Bullied Students

A Chemistry teacher who bullied me between the ages of 13 and 16. I was luckily quite self-confident so it didn’t devastate me but it wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t just me he bullied though, it was lots of children. A few years after I left he was finally sacked for bullying pupils. Then, he took the local education authority to court in protest, saying he had been wrongly terminated. He lost the case and ended up in debt then, in the end, he passed away.

#23 She Pulled A Kid Out Of His Chair

One of the design/technology teachers got fired after pulling a disabled kid out of his chair back in ’09. It made one of the national papers.

#24 She Didn’t Know How To Teach

High school AP Calc teacher was on probation for six years for being a bad teacher before I had her. I didn’t learn a thing in that class. She’d work example problems on the board and get the answer wrong. But if you called her out on it she’d just get defensive and insist she was right.

The class average was a 49 percent (failing) and she said the problem was that we weren’t studying. A couple of students complained to the administration about her. She heard about it, got angry, and then said that we’d all lost the privilege of seeing our grades ourselves and instead she started emailing it directly to our parents. I got a D in that class. I retook calc in college and passed with an A.

#25 He Didn’t Want To Be Wrong

The physics teacher I had in high school said that light travels in a vacuum at 300 km/s. I told him it was 300,000 km/s instead, he got mad at me and told me I was wrong. He saved that for the finals and I lost that fight (temporarily though).

#26 She Was Just Horrible

I had an evangelical Christian English teacher in the early 90s in ninth and 10th grade. Aside from the usual, “You’re going to hell because whatever reason she had that day,” here’s a few things she did. She routinely told people they would be better off sleeping in class so they could rest up to drive the garbage truck one day. She pulled people into the principles office for stuff like rock band t-shirts and tried to get them suspended.

She threw books on a few occasions. One of them was returned in similar fashion, missing her by no more than a couple of inches. She drew a circle on the chalkboard and told a boy to put his nose in it. He refused and she grabbed the back of his head and smashed is face into the chalkboard, hurting his nose. We could hear the mother curse and threaten her from other buildings on campus. Shortly after that, she resigned and went to work at a university in south Louisiana I think.

#27 Bad Spanish Teacher

My Intro to Speaking Spanish teacher refused to ever speak English. If we didn’t understand her, she would just repeat it over and over again. The entire class dropped it before the semester was over because everyone was failing.

#28 He Had No Reason To Be Mean

Mr. Stevenson. Grade 11 gym. He failed me because a basketball of mine once went rogue and hit him before I had time to warn him. No, seriously, I worked my butt off in that class and the guy hated me. He was also a real bad guy to a very quiet and shy Chinese exchange student, which upset me.

#29 Teacher Made Up Rumors

The teacher who thought I was high all the time. And told everyone I was. I wasn’t. I didn’t like grass in high school. It made me paranoid. I was just tired because we had to wake up at 6 a.m. And I like Led Zeppelin.

#30 She Lost All Homework

Ms. Johnson, she taught science in grade seven. She seemed to have grudges against multiple people in the class, but most of all me. I was a straight-A student at the time but that changed with her. She’d assign these handouts or ask to do papers frequently, and I did them. I would hand them on time, and a week later she would claim she had never received the work. So I would give her a copy at the end of the class, right next to her, and made sure she put it down on her desk.

Next week she came to me with the same excuse. So my parents got exceptionally frustrated and had me give her an original copy, keep another copy with me at all times, and send a scanned copy to her email. It didn’t happen again after that, but she looked at me like she had daggers in her eyes every time after that.

#31 He Controlled His Students With Fear

I don’t know if he was necessarily “the worst” but he was very aggressive and loud and controlled his students with fear. He was very intimidating and 450 pounds of terror. There was one student in particular who was sort of the funny guy trouble-maker. One day, he said something that I suppose crossed the line so the teacher walked over to him, picked up the desk with the student still inside, and then slammed the desk back onto the ground and yelled, “I’m bigger than you, boy.” It was quite terrifying. He also threw textbooks and chairs in our general direction when he was angry. Thankfully never hit anyone.

#32 He Taught Them Nada

My Spanish teacher was AWFUL. He spent every class joking around with a few kids at his desk and flirting with the girls (who were maybe all between 14 and 16 at the time) while the rest of us literally watched a different movie in Spanish every week. We learned nada. Except for “nada.” On a side note, if he wasn’t such a terrible teacher, maybe I could have appreciated the fact that he looked and sounded just like Jeff Goldblum.

#33 He Embarrassed Himself

The worst was our high school geometry teacher, Mr. Stoner, who took pleasure in insulting students when he called on them and they gave the wrong answer. Stoner would say things like, “Why you don’t know a right angle from a wrong angle!” to humiliate the student. In our eyes, he just embarrassed himself.

#34 She Berated Her Students

Probably the science teacher I had in grade nine. She would waste most of the lesson on dealing with the bad students than teaching, and if you actually took the initiative to learn something on your own she would berate you for it. I only got good marks in her class by basically teaching myself and moved onto the next set up. Last I heard she got fired for fighting with students.

#35 She Mocked Her Student

When I was a kid (maybe 10 to 12 years old) I started questioning God’s existence, and during a history class the teacher said something about us being God’s creation. I said I learned that we evolved from monkeys and she started mocking me and calling me a monkey. My school was not religious, so I told my mom. She called the principal and this stupid teacher got punished, but I still remember her face and name!

#36 She Threw An Eraser

A teacher once threw an eraser to me for nothing. It hit me in my mouth in which caused some bleeding. To this day, I don’t have any slight idea as to why she did it.

#37 She Tried To Expel Her Student

My gym teacher continuously tried to get me expelled due to lack of attendance. I had a very serious illness and gym first period. It was a good day if I could get into school by third period. I always gave her doctors notes with long detailed explanations of what was going on with me. But I had all A’s in all AP classes so the principal would always shut it down, didn’t stop that woman from reporting me constantly.

#38 She Told Her Student She Needed A Shower

I had a teacher lock me out of class when we were coming in and told me I wasn’t allowed to come in until I took a shower. I was in like fifth grade and she told me that in front of the whole class. It hurt but the whole class knew it wasn’t me. It was another girl that wasn’t able to take a shower without help, and her mom never helped her. She would be extremely mean to her too and embarrass her in front of everyone. The girl was very nice and the teacher would basically just make fun of her for no reason. Though, a lot of teachers picked on her so it wasn’t surprising.

#39 Bad Sign Language Teacher

I had a Deaf sign language teacher who would refuse to communicate with us through anything other than sign language. This was an intro class, we spoke no sign language. He wouldn’t write on the board, he wouldn’t use text-to-speech, he would literally only sign to you. He wouldn’t answer my questions beyond signing YOUR SIGNS ARE BAD at me, like he couldn’t understand me so he was just gonna move on. He also didn’t set clear expectations, so when we all messed up the first homework assignment, he pterodactyl-screeched, threw the papers on the floor, and rapidly signed about how disappointed he was in us.

#40 She Got What Was Coming To Her

I had a pre-algebra teacher in middle school who didn’t want to actually teach us or grade things, so she made the majority of our class grade for one grading period based on one “project” where we were just supposed to find “math errors” in the real world (like .99c instead of 99c on a sign at a store) and put them in a folder.

If you didn’t have a certain number of these typos in your folder, you failed, and she got to decide whether the ones you found were good enough to count. She eventually got fired and then her boyfriend went to jail for coming to the administration building that summer looking for revenge against the superintendent who wasn’t even there.

#41 Awful Teacher

There was this adjunct professor that was teaching two classes I needed to take. It was a total joke. In each class, I only had two graded assignments, the midterm and the final. Both exams were take home. The questions were straight-up pulled from Quizlet. I stopped showing up halfway through the semester. He barely taught the material and didn’t care about attendance. The classes earned me two very easy A’s but he is still an awful teacher.

#42 He Didn’t Teach

In middle school, I had a heck of a lame math teacher. He would just come in and put Khan Academy or something like that on the projector for most days. When he did teach, it would just be him picking students to read paragraphs from the math textbook and copying down the examples onto the board. Our classes were 50 minutes long and it would be no surprise for him to be “explaining” homework for 30-40 mins.

And yes, he often went off topic and talked about rainbows and unicorns or something like that. To make matters worse, his tests were hard as the walls in my house and most of the questions have grammatical errors, making these tests even harder to complete.

#43 She Ruined The End Of A Book

I had an English teacher take me out in the hallway and tell me the ending of Of Mice And Men before we finished the book in class. She said she “knew I had a sensitive soul” and didn’t want me to be “caught off guard.” I was just extremely confused, I regularly read far more violent and disturbing books, and I had already OMAM anyway.

#44 They Were Bullies

I had really abusive teachers in my afterschool program who would literally threaten me with assault and force me to hold a 25 lb chair atop of my head. I cried a few times. I wanted to get the heck out of there. They were pretty much bullies and since it was an afterschool program, they were sort of outside the law. I was only 10 to 12 years old when I went there.

#45 He Just Didn’t Know How To Teach

Going through the long list of all the teachers I hated, I can honestly say that my worst teacher wasn’t on that list. He was a nice guy, but a dreadful teacher simply because he didn’t teach. At all. My class was essentially self-taught higher level physics.