Working as a teacher or a professor can be a wild ride. You get to eat pizza on Fridays at the cafeteria without any guilt. You actually get to enjoy your summers. And your students can shock you with the information that they share or boost your mood with the things they say.
Redditor Kriss0509 asked the teachers of Reddit what the weirdest things students have told them when asked to share facts about themselves, and their thread went viral. Their thread got more than 8.7k comments and 59k upvotes, and the stories they shared had us giggling like schoolkids.
Upvote the facts that you found to be the most memorable and, if you’re an educator, let all the other Pandas know what strange things your own students have shared with everyone over the years. And be sure to read on for what Kriss0509 told Bored Panda about their viral thread.
In my public speaking class at a community college we had to get up and do a speech about a experience that really changed our lives or an important memory and how it made us who we are. On the first day a guy who was a veteran volunteered to go first, he proceed to talk about the day he was captured and sexually assaulted by enemy solider and how he now goes around and helps other soldiers with the wounded warrior project. It was difficult for anybody to follow that, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.
My first year, as an earnest and ideological teacher in a very rough underserved area, I got all the students in a circle on the first day to talk about what we’d done that summer. I pointed to a student who’d been engaged w me before class and said, “what did you do this summer that could inspire us?” His answer: “I did the last 2 months of a sentence for stealing a car.”
Um. I hadn’t expected that. So I pointed to another student and said, “OK! That’s great! Let’s talk about what you did this summer!”
That student said, “YES. I had such a good summer. I went to camp and...[laughing] lemme stop lying. I did the last 2 months of a sentence with that guy cause I stole that car w him.”
First day of Intro to Lit during my freshman year of college. When asked an interesting fact about myself, I said "I refuse to bungee jump." Slightly confused, my professor took the bait...my professor replied "That's sort of random. Why do you refuse to bungee jump? Is it a certain fear?" To which my reply was "To be honest with ya sir, a broken rubber brought me into this world, so I'm going to make damn sure one doesn't take me out of it!" Luckily, the professor was a chill guy. The entire class exploded with laughter and it was a good time
Redditor Kriss0509 told Bored Panda about what inspired them to create the successful thread in the first place. "I saw someone talk about the fact that this question is everywhere and how much they hate it, so I thought others would have good stories to share as well," they said.
We also wanted to get Kriss0509's opinion as to why students would share such private (and sometimes shocking) information about themselves. In the redditor's opinion, these students might share facts like this because they want to stand out and get attention. The redditor also suggested the simple idea that they share weird facts about themselves because they simply can't think of anything else "in the heat of the moment."
The redditor added that, in their opinion, it's best to leave some of the things that students shared with their teachers a mystery, as they're much, much too private to be shared openly with everyone.
I teach middle school, This one still takes the cake.
That his mom and dad have the same parents. I asked him to clarify because I didn't understand what he was saying and he said "I only have one set of grandparents, they had the same parents" I quickly moved to the next student so no one else would realize that this kid just told the class that his parents were siblings...
I talked to him about it the next day in private and he said that he got it mixed up, his parents don't have the exact same parents, they shared a dad... I felt so much better when the mom called me to let me know her elderly step-father married her husband's elderly mother. still weird, but much better.
During french class, A guy in my class said that he liked stabbing children. He meant that he fences but didn't know the exact translation for that.
We did one of those two truths-one lie bits. Girl stands up and says, "I've never been out of the country. I'm a twin. I love playing sports." I knew this girl beforehand and knew she didn't have a twin, so picked that one.
Nope. She had a conjoined twin that died in utero and had to be surgically removed and she's now missing the last vertebrae on her spine. Showed us the scar and everything. Apparently the lie was the first one as she'd been to Mexico.
Vanessa Bohns, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University and Visiting Scholar at the Department of Management and Organizations at the NYU Stern School of Business, explained to Bored Panda that sharing very private information with others helps bond with them.
"Research finds that disclosure leads to liking, and the more intimate the disclosure, the more trusting and warm we see someone as being. Sharing very private information is a particularly intimate form of disclosure, which can make both parties feel closer to one another—both the person who has disclosed the private information, and the person listening," she said.
I work with preschoolers (3-5 age group). One day we had the kids go around and tell us one thing that made them special. Most were pretty normal (I’m really good at drawing, I have two big sisters, etc). And then I get to this one little girl—super cute and sweet. Looks me dead in the eyes and goes “I have been around forever. I have seen the whole world and I know everything.” Dead serious. Super creepy. When I pressed her, she couldn’t really find the words to explain, but kept talking about how she “came from the sand”, and was frustrated that she couldn’t “say it better”. I didn’t use to believe in past lives, but now I’m not so sure
Not a teacher but this happened when I was 17 at school camp during a "bonding exercise"
Teacher: tell us two truths and one lie about yourself and we have to guess the lie!
Weird kid: I play PlayStation, I like Doritos and I am an alcoholic
The teacher: the lie is you are an alcoholic!
Weird kid: got you, I play Xbox
My god the look on the teachers face.
First grade- student told me that she like spending time with her dads “special friend” more than her mom because the special friend bought her things in exchange for not telling mom about her.
Fast forward two months to parent teacher conferences and I’m sitting at the table knowing dad is cheating on mom and mom has no clue... and dad has no clue that I knew!
We also wanted to find out whether or not embarrassment is something that's 'taught' and why some students might not feel embarrassed sharing incredibly private information.
"As an emotion, embarrassment appears to be fairly universal—embarrassment is displayed across different cultures and age groups," Bohns said.
"However, the specific situations that cause someone to feel embarrassed are more culturally relative, i.e., they are 'taught' via cultural norms. So, what may be mortifying to one group (e.g., younger students) may not be as mortifying another group, and vice versa."
A guy in my class introduced himself by telling us how he decided he wanted to study philosophy because one day he was really high peeing in the street and he saw a couple of people working and he wondered what they were doing. So he realized his passion was wondering.
He dropped out like 2 months later.
Student told me that there is a chapter dedicated to him in a dental surgery textbook because of a very rare disorder that he had as a child. I may still have that essay
Not a teacher, but on the first day of 9th grade we had to form a circle and say one thing about ourselves that we thought was unique. When it was this dudes turn (lets call him mike) Mike stands up and says in a really serious tone goes '' My mom and dad grow weed''
His house got raided the next day and his dad got arrested smh
The memorable facts that these students shared make it seem like they’re either very brave, don’t feel embarrassment the same way others do, or they don’t care about the consequences being this open might have.
Whatever the case might be, these students might just be on to something by being so honest. Sharing private information and opening up to others is a great way to bond and form strong relationships, according to researchers. What’s more, being honest like this can make you more likable.
However, showing embarrassment can be very powerful in social situations and help build emotional bonds, too. Bohns told Bored Panda during an earlier interview that embarrassment is very socially adaptive.
“Being embarrassed signals to other people that you care about what they think. And that actually draws people in to you. So, blushing, burying your head in your hands, laughing, acknowledging how embarrassing something was, are all totally healthy ways to react,” she said.
I had my students ask what they wanted to be after they graduated. A girl who sat near the back and was a little more edgy was up next to answer, and she looked around and said “I want to be a mortician because living people are the worst to work with. The dead don’t talk back to you, they don’t demand things. I’m in control.” And nobody really spoke to her for the rest of the 15 week class, except me by default.
Not a teacher but the daughter of one.
My dad had a student tell him during the fun fact question in detail about how his goldfishes died that morning and how he experimented on their corpses. He had pictures on his phone of the skin off and the intact skeleton next to it.
He is a successful taxidermist now so silver linings I guess.
One guy: "I love rape. Sometimes I rape. Sometimes me and my friends like to get together and listen to rape."
"Some of my favorite rapers include Tupac, Dr Dre, Eminem, Biggie... My favorite rape song is..."
(English was not his first language... He had us in the first half, not gonna lie)
(edited to add the continuation and make it clear everyone figured out what he meant once he started listed the famous "rapers")
However, there are certain things that you should avoid doing when you’re in an embarrassing situation. “The unhealthy way to react is to pretend you’re not embarrassed, that you didn’t make a mistake, or to get angry. Those things undo the positive effect that embarrassment typically has on other people by conveying insincerity and pushing people away rather than drawing them in.”
In short, if you open up to others and have the common sense to be embarrassed about things that are actually embarrassing, you might become one of the most likable people in your social circle. Honesty and genuine reactions trump fakeness.
Someone in a class once told everyone about how his grandparents were arrested for keep a bunch of adopted children in cages. He said that he used to play with the kids when he was young, but he was too young to understand that the conditions they were in weren't normal. They kept kids in cages and locked in rooms for years before they were discovered and arrested.
Yup. Fun fact.
I'm a trainer at a bank, and I've learned some really interesting things about my colleagues doing icebreakers.
One guy used to be in a pretty successful metal band. Another can solve a Rubik's cube in under 2 minutes (yes, I made him prove it). One woman was a professional pianist for a while, and another can read tarot cards.
I'm seriously thinking of putting on an employee talent show
Hi. I'm Dorian and coming to uni is the only time I'm allowed out because I'm under house arrest for attempted murder.
First year University student. First year.
I was an ESL teacher in Indonesia and a student once told me every morning she cleaned the sh*t on her bed. I asked her to clarify, worried she had a serious digestive issue. She answered: "I brush my teeth, wash face and clean bed sh*t." Bed sheet
I teach ESL and every lesson we start the class by sharing something good that happened to us over the last week or so. Needless to say, kids share the most random things ever. I have many weird stories because of that. We enforce a rule that they need to share good things so they don't start one upping each other over whose grandma had the worst death lol
One day, a student said: "I was riding my bike over the weekend when I fell.", I could see where it was going but didn't have enough time to enforce the rule when he just spat out: "I fell over a wired fence and cut my neck, it just kept gushing blood, a lot of blood.". I reminded him that we were only sharing good news when he said: "It's good because I'm still alive.". I had a good laugh and agreed but the damage was done, every kid after him wanted to share about the most horrific injury they had or witnessed.
Had students (aged 11) sharing strategies for dealing with difficult emotions, one at a time in a big circle. One girl talked about digging her nails into her face whenever she was feeling stressed or anxious, and I had to explain to the class why self harm was not a good coping strategy.
My friend is really quiet, he doesn’t really talk unless talked to. He’s really cool though and has some things he enjoys doing. Literally second year I knew him the teacher asked this and he said he’s a professional bowler with a 300 best, and I was like WHY HAVENT YOU TOLD ME THIS THATS AMAZING? I guess it just never came up. Haha! Knew him for a whole year and never knew that.
Had an in-depth conversation with an almost-6-year-old about being a secret werewolf hunter at night. Student described how they track and often makes friends with werewolves. Also demonstrated a stunning amount of knowledge about the moon, haha!
(For folks worried about the vibrant lying, this is very typical for young students and one of their relational avenues for assessing adult reactions....and imaginative story telling is an important developmental trajectory. At certain points children start telling stories that they themselves know aren't true, which can be super annoying, and is also a wonderful window into a particularly complex part of cognitive development.)
My dad clogged the toilet this morning and that’s why I’m feeling frustrated’ -5 year old child.
I will say the question was “how are you doing this morning?” But I could barely keep from laughing out loud!
That he has been to juvie multiple times and is currently on probation. Then he pulled up his pants enough that everyone could see his ankle monitor. That was...something.
I work at a nature center as an informal teacher. Once I had a student, about 6 or 7 years old, while referring to an action figure he found in the room, say "I used to have one of those, but then my house burnt down."
While talking about the zodiac, when we got to Cancer the crab, another student announced "I had cancer for 2 years!"
A student once told my wife that her daddy had a special device that he had to blow into to start his truck.
I am not a teacher but this guy in my class named Shane has this medical condition that causes him to grow tons of hair at an early age. Full beard in middle school. He would say “I’m Shane and I’m Very Hairy.”
I’m a student but a kid in my class said that he loves chicken nuggets then sat down and didn’t say anything to anyone else for a month. I have so much admiration yet confusion for him
Not a teacher, but I was a helper in a middle school classroom. A young girl, who seemed uninterested, said, with no hesitation, that she can chug an entire bottle of beer. She got expelled later that year for keeping drugs in her locker.
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