Students Share Stories About The Worst Teacher Meltdown They Have Ever Witnessed
Relationships. A personal loss. Money. These are some of the primary drivers of stress in our lives, but teachers can add one more to this list: students. It’s no secret that teaching is a stressful job. So stressful that they might cause a teacher meltdown.
Across America, the professionals we trust with our children and their education are overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated. They say that teaching is a calling, and it pretty much has to be to deal with those conditions!
We all remember good and bad teachers from our years in school, but with all of the stress wrapped up in being an educator, the good teachers end up looking pretty great, and the bad teachers? They’re just human, and sometimes, humans can be pushed too far.
These current students came together to share the biggest teacher meltdowns they’ve ever seen in a classroom. If you’re a current student, maybe you’ll consider giving your “bad” teacher a break next week. If you’re currently a teacher, stay strong. It can’t be this bad!
#25 It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s A Flying Trash Can!
In high school, they would do trivia questions after the announcements sometimes, and the first teacher who dialed the office with the correct answer would get a prize for the class. My math teacher really wanted to win, and hadn’t yet this year.
So one fateful morning, the question goes out, and we had the answer, so he called it in, but we were the second caller.
In a fit of pseudo-rage, he yells and kicks this little plastic trash can across the room, where it bonks a kid right in the head. His eyes go wide and he apologizes and asks if the kid is okay, which he is. Everyone got a good laugh afterwards, including the kid who got hit, and later, we would pretend to duck whenever we didn’t win the morning trivia contests.
#24 Can You Blame Him?
Junior year in university, my genetics professor was in the middle of a lecture when authorities took him out of the auditorium and informed him that his wife had been struck and killed by a motor vehicle that morning. He retreated to his office and proceeded to tear the place apart like a tornado had gone through it. He ripped the top of his desk off its frame, pulled down all of his bookcases. Books, pages, papers, all sorts of documents and furniture strewn everywhere in pieces. By the time I graduated, he still wasn’t the same man as he was before that awful day.
#23 ‘I Need a Drink’
I had a history teacher in high school who was always stern and serious, which was great since it gave a reverence to what he was teaching about and his unpretentious nature meant he spoke about what was important and interesting. One day, however, his voice broke and after he cleared his throat it broke again. He stopped talking, put his hands in his pockets, frowned, and took a few breaths.
“Students. Sorry about this lecture, my wife and I just decided to get a divorce.” He blankly stared ahead for a second and then walked toward the door, loosening his tie. “I need a drink…” He exited the door. After a second he poked his head back in, “…of water! I’m coming back. Don’t think I’ve forgotten about Napoleon…”
Not too much of a meltdown, but he was a pretty manly dude in a nerdy sort of way.
#22 At Least She’s Happy Now
I had the same morning tutor from ages 11 to 16. She was really, really lovely. She was an English teacher and we always chatted about literature and films. She was always up for a laugh and joked around with us all the time. A few times a year she’d buy a load of food and treats to dish out.
Then, when we were about 14, she got engaged. A year later, the relationship was over and she was a wreck. She suddenly got really quiet. Then, one day, we were all talking and laughing but she was trying to get our attention. She couldn’t get the attention and suddenly burst into tears. Took off her ID card and, in the dead silence of the room, said: “I can’t do this.” She walked out of the room and we didn’t see her again for weeks.
She’s now traveling the world. I have her on Instagram, last time I checked she was in Nepal.
#21 You Know It’s Serious When The Heels Come Off
Not so much a breakdown, but a “break” in normal behavior for sure. Our freshman English teacher was a small, soft-spoken woman who was kind of known to be a teacher you could walk all over with little (but not no) repercussions.
We were in a review session after school and some upperclassmen were just hanging out in the hallways making lots of noise, so she was constantly poking her head out in the hall asking them to be quiet.
As we are all very silent reading or something, the classroom door absolutely SLAMS shut. So hard the latch didn’t have time to catch and the door bounced back open. The teacher immediately yells and kicks off her heels and takes off out the door.
She caught up with the kid, who had taken a running start and kicked the door shut, and berated him for a good 10 minutes, which we could hear clear as day from the end of the hall. It was like nothing we’d ever heard from her.
#20 Just Blame It On Gravity
Maybe not a meltdown per se, but I had a chemistry class that was held in a huge auditorium with really steep stairs. The professor always walked all around the room while we took quizzes and tests.
One day he tripped halfway up the auditorium stairs and took a heck of a fall. He landed face-down (unhurt apart from bruises) on the floor and before we could really react he starts banging his fists on the floor and screaming, “ENTROPY ENTROPY ENTROPY!”
#19 It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere
In high school, our government teacher freaked out on my class.
We had a few talkers in the back corner, but they finally broke him. He flipped his lectern over and started screaming at us. He called us the worst group of kids he’d ever had to teach and that he was 110% certain that we were going to amount to nothing.
Then he went to his desk and drank his entire thermos of coffee. A few years later, he was having a retirement party at his house (I was close friends with his son) where he revealed that the thermos was 80% alcohol and 20% coffee.
#18 Why Are Kids So Mean?
Ninth grade math class. Our teacher was off sick and an early 20’s substitute teacher came in to cover. She was lovely, kind, friendly, although a bit timid and shy. One girl in our class used a fountain pen to flick ink on a skirt she was wearing one day. The poor woman noticed her do it, didn’t say a word, and just went to her desk, put her head in her hands and sobbed, doesn’t move for 10 minutes at least. Eventually a friend of mine goes to get another teacher. The sub was escorted out, still crying, and was seen for the rest of the day just crying in her car. She didn’t move for another 4 or so hours.
#17 ‘El Pollo Nugget’
I had a Spanish teacher in middle school that was so tired of us turning in broken Spanish on our homework assignments that she screamed at us and called us stupid Americans before throwing pieces of chalk at us one after the other. Another time she got on her knees and started praying the rosary in front of us when a girl said “el pollo nugget.”
#16 We Should Have Covered This In Class
We had a physical education teacher who would sweat really bad whenever sexual subjects were raised. He ended up having to be a substitute teacher for one of our sex-ed lessons. We were very aware of his discomfort discussing the subject and asked him lots of in-depth questions, making sure we used all the correct anatomical terminology. The guy had a class-A anxiety attack (pity no one had taught us about those), and I was genuinely afraid he was going to have a heart attack. Red face, profuse sweating, breathing difficulty, and a look of primal terror in his eyes. We got the early mark we were fishing for, but I think we did the poor fellow some real emotional damage.
#15 Lesson Learned: Don’t Act Up In Class
I was in band. One day, one of the regular always-in-trouble disruptive students was being extra disruptive while the director was trying to tell us something important. So after about 5 different times of going the normal route to get him to settle down, he cracked.
It got quiet and then the director bellowed “JAMES! ARE YOU STUPID, OR JUST DON’T CARE?!” The whole room was quiet, all eyes were now on the disruptive kid who was then trying to hide behind his tuba. Then, the director continued with his announcement like nothing happened.
#14 Just Needed Some Fresh Air, That’s All
In high school, I turned in a form to my science teacher a day late. She screamed at me, walked out of the classroom, and was gone for nearly an hour. The class had started and everyone had speculations, blaming me for what happened. The teacher comes back, joyful and smiling, says she just needed a walk around the campus to recover.
#13 Won’t Happen Again, Promise
In 10th-grade math class, the teacher was getting frustrated that not everyone was understanding a problem. He made various threats about what he would do if we didn’t figure it out (more homework, tests, etc.). I kept asking questions because I legitimately didn’t understand and he yelled and threw an eraser at me. I got up and left. Never ratted him out and next day he was super patient with everyone. It was his “oh I messed up” moment.
#12 Revenge Of The Nerd
Had a sub in 5th grade. I was a really unorganized kid and having to dig through my desk for stuff wasn’t uncommon.
Sub went to collect our homework one by one and I was still digging through, pulling a bunch of stuff out, when she got to me. She got all towering and told me this was unacceptable. Dumped my desk in front of me and told me I was staying in from recess to organize it.
One girl said, “you can’t make him do that,” and the sub raised her voice and spit out, “YOU don’t tell ME what to do, brat. I can do whatever I want!”
The whole class revolted and a neighboring teacher came in to see what was up. The sub claimed I was being lippy and this was my punishment. Then the whole class spoke up and informed him of what really happened and we were all let out for recess. Came back in and a lunch lady was sitting at the teacher’s desk instead.
As the kid who was always picked on by everyone, it was nice to see the whole class stand up for me that day.
#11 When I See You Smile
After our class picture, our first-year teacher declared: “New rule: every day is now class picture day. I want to see smiles from each and every one of you every single day!”
The class let out a collective groan and the teacher said: “C’mon, turn those frowns upside down!”
She kept at us for a good month on the smile policy. Keep in mind, this was during the ’90s. The class was divided evenly amongst goths, grunge, and gangstas. The only thing we agreed upon was that smiles were for losers.
The meltdown came the day she brought in her karaoke machine and attempted to sing Tim McGraw’s “Just to See You Smile.” We just sat there stone-faced as usual then she tried to ham it up just to get us to laugh. But nothing. We were all too tough to show any humor or heart.
And then she broke down and started blubbering. “I just wanted a smile… is that too much to ask?”
Apparently it was because none of us even had the common courtesy to offer her a tissue. Next day, she went cold on us and word on the street is she hasn’t cracked a smile in 20 years.
#10 Poor Ben
My super dorky history teacher in 8th grade was the nicest teacher I’ve ever met, but there were a couple of “class clowns” in our class and he usually dealt with them fine. One day though, they were obnoxious the entire class from the moment he walked in and he snapped, yelling and chucking his stapler across the room. He nailed a staple right into Ben Franklin’s forehead. He immediately apologized and went about his day normally, while all the students went silent. Nobody ever bothered him again after that day.
#9 That Was A Little Uncalled For
In my elementary school, there was this one super obnoxious kid named “Lance” who was constantly goofing off (though he probably had ADHD without a good support system). Most of our teachers were used to dealing with him but one day we had this substitute named Mrs. Blake who had no idea what to do with him and all of our class. He is mouthing off every other moment and jumping around like crazy when she starts to boil over and yells at Lance to sit down, which he does. He then calls her a bad word or something under his breath, and she finished her transformation into a boiling tomato. She yells, “what the **** do you think you’re doing,” which blew our little elementary school minds, and then very violently shook his desk. The thing was, Lance had a blood condition that made him bruise very easily and very dramatically. When she shook his desk, he started crying (understandably) because he was getting these massive purple-black bruises all over his legs. She was banned from our school after that.
#8 Maybe That’s The Way To Get A Promotion
I had an 8th-grade math teacher. He was well known for his short temper, but this particular day was bad. There was a kid in my class, Justin, that never listened and never did his homework. One day, the math teacher just had it with Justin. Grabbed his desk (with him in it) and picked it up and slammed it back down on the ground a few times. After that, he shoved the desk with Justin in it across the room. Justin was fine, thankfully. Math teacher just stormed out.
Told my mom and I guess a few other parents called the school about it too. He was gone for a few weeks and had to take anger management classes. I just went by my old middle school a few weeks ago and he’s the assistant principal now. Who would have expected that?
#7 You Made Your Own Bed
My junior year in nursing school we took a nursing psych class. The professor was not a good teacher to put it lightly. She regularly would talk about her personal life instead of teaching what was outlined on the syllabus. About halfway through the course, we had our midterm exam which consisted of about 75% of questions of stuff we had not covered in class. I think the highest grade anyone got was 65%. The next class, she berated us and told us all we were going to be bad nurses. One of the people in my class wrote a letter to her saying that she spends most of the classes not teaching the material and it is not justifiable to give us exams if we know more about her personal life than what we are supposed to be taught, citing the syllabus given to us at the beginning of the semester. All of us in the course signed the letter. Next class she absolutely lost it on us, screaming at us about how disrespectful we are and how we will never amount to anything. This got the point that the dean of the nursing program heard her from down the hall and had to come remove her from the classroom. Next class we had another professor for the rest of the semester. The dean told us she was on hiatus and said that we brought up our grievances in a respectful manner, and commended us on that. The professor who broke down never came back to teach at the school.
#6 Should Have Known Better
I went to school in Germany, and once when we had our history class, the lesson started off really weird. The teacher started dictating to us a math problem in which you had to calculate what the costs are for treating disabled people and how much the state could save if there weren’t any disabled people. Most of us immediately realized that this was one of the propaganda math problems students in the Third Reich had to solve. We were kind of confused since the Third Reich was not the topic which we were discussing at this moment. Nevertheless, we wrote down the problem and even started calculating when the teacher suddenly snapped. He began to scream at the whole class with an intensity I have not witnessed before, about how we as the students should have rejected solving a task like that one. How we were educated to question everything, but still obeyed when he gave us a task which discriminated against disabled people. He was so furious that he left the classroom and only returned after half an hour. We spend the rest of the class talking about the dangers and how a new movement like the Nazis could arise again in Germany and how we always need to be aware of that.
#5 I Wouldn’t Have Complained
I had a 10th-grade history teacher who was very much pregnant at the time. We all walked into class one day and she was slumped over her desk sobbing. Since we were all awkward teenagers and nobody particularly liked this teacher to begin with, we all stayed there awkwardly for a good 15 minutes in silence while she tried to pull herself together. For the remainder of the period, she forced us to play baby shower games.
#4 ‘I Just Wanted You To Be Friends’
I hope I’m not too late, but when I was in 6th class (from Ireland, I think that’s 8th grade in U.S.), we had a pretty young teacher.
I was bullied a lot around this time, and I started fighting back against the bullies. The teacher noticed this and thought it’d be a good idea to remove me and who was essentially my arch nemesis from the playground during lunch and make us do crafts in a classroom instead. I think they were trying to make us get along by working together, but that doesn’t happen with 11-year-olds, UNSUPERVISED for a whole hour in a LOCKED classroom. She leaves, and when she returns halfway through the hour, the classroom is a mess; chairs were strewn everywhere, our school jumpers and shirts are torn, I had a bleeding ear and he had a swollen lip, bruises everywhere. We freeze as soon as she catches us, and she just collapses to the ground. She sobbed into her hands. “All I wanted was for you to be friends, was that so much to ask?!” She wept uncontrollably for the next 5 minutes. We felt awful about it. We shook hands and tried to clean up the classroom.
The next day we had a substitute teacher who eventually became our permanent one, and he was horrible.
I guess it worked though. It’s 16 years later and I’m on the way to my nemesis’ house to drink and play board games.
#3 Well, That Escalated Quickly
My 8th-grade liberal arts teacher cussed a kid out for spilling his juice. “EVERY DAY YOU DO THIS. CAN YOU PLEASE CLEAN UP MY FLOOR? MY GOD! YOUR PARENTS DIDN’T TEACH YOU TO CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF?! WHAT THE HECK? STOP MAKING ME YOUR PERSONAL CLEANUP CREW!” That was followed by a thrown roll of paper towels and a bloody nose. Apparently, she found out her sister had died under the knife that morning.
#2 Hard To Feel Bad For This Kid
I don’t know if it really counts, but our former Latin teacher once slapped a kid across the face because the kid made fun of her dead husband. She got suspended shortly afterward.
#1 Hopefully He Got The Help He Needed
Junior year of high school I decided to take a psychology class. The administration switched a lot of teachers around that year and hired a lot of new ones too, so I didn’t know anything about him. As the semester goes on, his behavior starts slipping and the class starts noticing. He begins to lose his patience more and more frequently when the class doesn’t respond to a question immediately. His behavior then progressed to him throwing whiteboard markers at students for not paying attention or answering incorrectly. Then one day about halfway into the semester he completely loses it.
A group of three students laughed at something within their own conversation just as class was starting and our teacher saw and made a comment to the class that if we weren’t going to listen, he would make today horrible. Some kid spoke up saying he would go to the principal if he did anything to hurt the class so the teacher began throwing markers, erasers, anything he could find at the student. The student got up to leave for the principal’s and the teacher stood up on his desk and screamed at us. He ran to the front of the classroom (where the student who spoke out was), picked up a desk and threw it at the student. Thankfully it didn’t hit him but the teacher ran to the door to prevent anyone from leaving and said if anyone told anything about that day to anyone, he would ruin our lives. Some friends and I told the principal and administration and I actually had to go into court to testify. Turns out the guy suffers from schizophrenia as well as some degree of PTSD after serving in the military. I don’t remember what ended up happening with him at the time. I really didn’t care to know.