Making your way through school can be tough. It’s hard to know who to trust and how to fit in, especially when you’ve got a problem you can’t quite put your finger on, or don’t really know how to express. Having trusted and empathetic adults in your life can make all the difference, and when that’s missing, you gotta get resourceful.
Take this story from r/PettyRevenge about a hard-nosed teacher who took no interest in real problem solving, and the student who made him blow his top.
Math Teacher Forgets Object Permanence, and Retires.
Setting (USA): Me, Sixth Grade math class
I was a painfully shy kid. I’m near-sighted, and most teachers noticed it. Being able to see the board = being engaged in learning. Teachers usually seated me in the front of the classroom, and I would do really well. Except for this math teacher. My last name is towards the bottom of the alphabet, and he would only seat us alphabetically. For context, later, he was an older teacher. I ended up in the back of his class. After struggling to see the board, being a non-confrontational child; I wrote him a note on my homework asking to move to the front.
I got my homework back at the end of class with a big red underlined “NO! Assigned seats only.” written on it. I was devastated. I’ve never been in trouble, and didn’t think that it was that hard to switch me around. This is where the revenge plays out.
I love to read. I always have. I always had books with me. After being frustrated by not being able to see the board, I quit trying. I would bring out whatever book I was currently reading and just read during class. Nothing was said at first.
One day, I was reading in class, and it just got quiet. Like a sudden drop in temperature. It got quiet enough for me to look up. He was lingering next to me, and the whole class was staring. Again, I’m painfully shy. He held his hand out and shouted “Book.” I handed it over, and when class was over he had me stand in the front of the class and say I was sorry for causing a disruption. I was too shy to talk, ended up getting an after school detention for “defiance.” I was also late for my next class.
I always carried my books separate from my binder so I could read while walking to class. The next day, he took my book right out of my hands while I was walking into class. I got it back and by the end of the day, I finished that book. The library had five copies of the next book in the series. I checked all of them out. The next day, like clockwork, I walked into class with my nose in the book, and he took it from me. Once class started, and he stopped staring at me, I pulled my next copy out. Eventually he saw it, and he stormed over to my desk. “I didn’t tell you that you can have this back. Don’t take things off my desk.” He yelled. “I didn’t.” I replied. He turns around, sure enough, there was a book on his desk. And one in his hand. The whole class laughed. The laughter made him even angrier. He walked over to his desk and slammed the book down.
I waited for him to stop staring before I pulled out copy #3. He sees it, and repeat. He takes the book out of my hands, the whole class laughs, and he slams it down on the desk.
Copy #4 is where it got interesting. He sees it, storms over, “GET UP.” I grab my binder and stand next to my desk, where he opens it and doesn’t see anything. He slams the top down and tells me to stand in the corner for the rest of the class. He adds book #4 to the pile, and goes back up front. What I didn’t know, was that the teacher on the other side of the wall called the principal during book #4’s incident and she was on her way down.
I open my binder ever so slowly (it was zippered) and take out copy #5. Set my binder down, and start reading. He sees me. He is HELLA MAD now. He comes over, screaming at me for disrupting his class. He goes to open my desk, rips the top off of it. He throws my text book on the floor. He sees my binder, opens it, and dumps the contents on the floor.
Right as the Principal is walking in the door.
She sees him, the papers, me in the corner, and the broken desk. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” He was shocked. All he could muster was “SHE HAS A BOOK!” before grabbing me and taking the book out of my hands. She ran over to him, got me loose, and took the book from him. “ARE YOU INSANE?!” He stormed out of the classroom. The principal asked me to come to her office. She called my mom, and I got to go home early.
We had a substitute teacher for a few weeks, before he announced he was retired “unexpectedly.”
And yes, I was then moved to the front of the class. I still hate math though.
A problem with such a simple solution turned into a very telling test of character, and as it turns out, this is pretty common.
The writer clarified in the that she didn’t have glasses.
Most of the comments section was behind her.
Thy found it pretty gutsy.
Many shared similar stories.
Here’s an example of the whole thing being handled correctly.
The lack of empathy in the classroom going back decades is disheartening.
Raise your hand if you read all the wrong books in class!
While some commentators questioned why she hadn’t been more explicit about her needs, the clear consensus was that the adult in the room should have known better and done better.
Oh, and she later clarified that he broke the desk in the midst of this.
All in all, it’s a pretty wild story.
If you’re going into the education field, first of all, thank you, and second of all, remember to be open and empathetic to the kids who aren’t fitting your mold; there’s probably a good reason!
Who were your best/worst teachers?
Tell us in the comments!