A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

42 Hilarious Classroom Stories Guaranteed to Give You a Laugh

You don’t have to be a teacher to laugh at these true tales — but haha quotient may make you wish you did.

1 / 42

My students aren’t afraid to ask questions

“How do you spell toad?” one of my first-grade students asked.
“We just read a story about a toad,” I said, then helped him spell it out: “T-O-A-D.”
Satisfied, he finished writing the story he’d begun, then read it aloud: “I toad my mama I wanted a dog for my birthday.”

This is one teacher’s brilliant strategy to stop bullying.

2 / 42

My students don’t care what anyone thinks about them

After a day of listening to my eighth graders exchange gossip, I decided to quote Mark Twain to them: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

After considering my words, one of my students asked, “What does it mean to remove all doubt?”

3 / 42

My students understand biology

During my eighth-grade sex education class, no one could answer the question “What happens to a young woman during puberty?” So I rephrased it: “What happens to young women as they mature?”
One student answered: “They start to carry a purse.”

These are things your child’s teacher won’t tell you.

4 / 42

My students have all the answers

Teacher: What is an evangelist?
Student: Someone who plays the evangelo.

Teacher: Why can’t freshwater fish live in salt water?
Student: The salt would give them high blood pressure.

Teacher: Mira went to the library at 5:15 and left at 6:45. How long was Mira at the library?
Student: Not long.

Teacher: What do we call a group of stars that makes an imaginary picture in the sky?
Student: A consternation.

Teacher: List up to five good facts about Abraham Lincoln.
Student: After the war ended, Lincoln took his wife to a show.

5 / 42

My students are intent on improving their english skills

For 98 percent of the students at the school where my wife teaches, English is a second language. But that didn’t stop them from giving her Christmas cards. Still, their enthusiasm for the occasion sometimes exceeded their grasp of English. Among the many cards that flooded her desk were: “Happy Birthday, Grandma,” “Get Well Soon,” and “Congratulations on Passing Your Driving Test!”

6 / 42

My students are charitable

When our students began raising donations for Child Abuse Prevention Week, the school administration did its part by setting up a collection box outside the principal’s office and displaying a banner by the front door of the lobby. It read “Please give $1 to help stop child abuse in the front office.”

7 / 42

My students are confounding

Walking through the hallways at our middle school, I saw a new substitute teacher standing outside his classroom with his forehead against a locker. I heard him mutter, “How did you get yourself into this?”
Knowing he was assigned to a difficult class, I tried to offer moral support. “Are you okay?” I asked. “Can I help?”
He lifted his head and replied, “I’ll be fine as soon as I get this kid out of his locker.”

8 / 42

My students are strivers

Just before the final exam in my college finance class, a less-than-stellar student approached me.
“Can you tell me what grade I would need to get on the exam to pass the course?” he asked.
I gave him the bad news. “The exam is worth 100 points. You would need 113 points to earn a D.”
“OK,” he said. “And how many points would I need to get a C?”

9 / 42

My students have ideas

For Martin Luther King Day, I asked my fifth graders how they’d make the world a better place. One said, “I’d make potato skins a main dish rather than an appetizer.”

10 / 42

My students are inquisitive

Spotted on Facebook:
Student: I don’t understand why my grade was so low. How did I do on my research paper?
Teacher: Actually, you didn’t turn in a research paper. You turned in a random assemblage of sentences. In fact, the sentences you apparently kidnapped in the dead of night and forced into this violent and arbitrary plan of yours clearly seemed to be placed on the pages against their will. Reading your paper was like watching unfamiliar, uncomfortable people interacting at a cocktail party that no one wanted to attend in the first place. You didn’t submit a research paper. You submitted a hostage situation.

11 / 42

My students are appreciative

I recently ran into an old student of mine, who said, “I always liked you. You never had favorites. You were mean to everyone.”

12 / 42

My students are honest

During my first meeting with my physically challenged students, I assured them that most people are handicapped in some way.
“Look at me,” I said. “My eyes are so bad, I need to wear glasses. Because I can barely hear, I need a hearing aid. And look at my ears—they’re much bigger than they should be.”
From the back, a boy added, “And your nose too.”

13 / 42

My students are understanding

When our school librarian announced she was changing schools, my fellow teacher asked a student, “Why do you think Ms. Richardson is leaving?”
The third grader opined, “Because she’s read all our books?”

14 / 42

My students are buttinskis

When a nosy fourth-grade student wanted the scoop on what another teacher and I were discussing in private, I decided it was time for an impromptu lesson in manners.
“Do you know what ‘minding your own business’ means?” I asked pointedly.
He didn’t, but a student clear across the room shouted, “I do!”

15 / 42

My students can teach me

While reviewing math symbols with my second-grade pupils, I drew a greater-than (>) and a less-than (<) sign on the chalkboard and asked, "Does anyone remember what these mean?" A boy confidently raised his hand. "One means fast-forward and the other means rewind."

16 / 42


My students are worldly

My father began teaching business classes at the local prison through a community college. On his first night of class, he started a chapter on banking. During the course of his lecture, the subject of ATMs came up, and he mentioned that, on average, most machines contain only about $1,500 at a given time.
Just then a man in the back raised his hand. “I’m not trying to be disrespectful,” he told my father, “but the machine I robbed had about $5,000 in it.”

17 / 42

My students are creative with language

Gauging from these exam excerpts, my college dance students had better stick with pliés.
• “The costumes were vindictive of the style of dance.”
• “I commend Bill T. Jones for his acts of true kindness and selfishness.”
• “Dancers must have long limps.”
• “At first, I had a hard time understanding and interrupting his movement.”
• “Savion Glover’s purpose is to cross all racial and ethical barriers with his dance.”

18 / 42

My students keep me out of trouble

A police car with flashing lights pulled me over near the high school where I teach. As the officer asked for my license and registration, my students began to drive past. Some honked their horns, others hooted, and still others stopped to admonish me for speeding.
Finally the officer asked me if I was a teacher at the school, and I told him I was.
“I think you’ve paid your debt to society,” he concluded with a smile, and left without giving me a ticket.

19 / 42

My students call it like it is

I had finished my English lecture and my class had filed out, a tenth grader stayed behind to confront me.

“I don’t appreciate being singled out,” he told me

I was confused. “What do you mean?”

“I don’t know what the ‘oxy’ part means, but I know what a ‘moron’ is, and you looked straight at me when you said it.”

20 / 42

My students think I’m old

Performing Mozart should have been the highlight of my middle school chorus class. But after a few uninspired attempts, an exasperated student raised her hand and said, “Mrs. Willis, we want to sing music from our generation, not yours.”

21 / 42

My students think I’m a fraud

To my German-language students, I’m “Frau Draper.” One girl gave me a pin she’d made with my name on it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t big enough to include my entire name, which meant that she presented me with a badge that read FRAUD.

22 / 42

My students are clever

I recently asked a student where his homework was. He replied, “It’s still in my pencil.”

23 / 42

My students understand the wealthy

“Don’t do that,” I said when one of my first graders playfully draped a dollar bill over his eyes. “Money is full of germs.”

“It is?” he asked.

“Yes, it’s very dirty.”

He thought about it a moment. “Is that why they call people who have a lot of it ‘filthy rich’?”

24 / 42

My students love finally getting it right

Jimmy had trouble figuring out when to use I instead of me. Then one day, while creating a sentence in front of the first-grade class, Jimmy haltingly said, “I … I … I shut the door.” Realizing that he was right, he jumped up and down and shouted, “Me did it!”

25 / 42

My students will always find a way to get my attention

My sixth-grade class would not leave me alone for a second. It was a constant stream of “Ms. Osborn?” “Ms. Osborn?” “Ms. Osborn?” Fed up, I said firmly, “Do you think we could go for just five minutes without anyone saying ‘Ms. Osborn’?!”

The classroom got quiet. Then, from the back, a soft voice said, “Um … Cyndi?”

26 / 42

My students communicate well

During the driver’s ed class that I teach, a student approached a right turn.

“Use your turn signal,” I reminded her.

“No one’s coming,” said the student.

“It doesn’t matter. It might help those behind you.”

Chastened, the student turned around to the students in the backseat and said, “I’m turning right up ahead.”

27 / 42

My students are logical

“Who discovered Pikes Peak?” I asked an eighth grader. He shrugged. “All right, here’s a hint,” I continued. “Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?”

“Grant?” he asked tentatively.

“Good. Now, who discovered Pikes Peak?”


28 / 42

My students are thoughtful

On the last day of the year, my first graders gave me beautiful handwritten letters. As I read them aloud, my emotions got the better of me, and I started to choke up.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m having a hard time reading.”

One of my students said, “Just sound it out.”

29 / 42

My students are problem solvers 

The kids were painting a project for social studies and got some paint on the floor. Fearing someone might slip, I asked a student to take care of it.
A few minutes later, a piece of paper appeared on the floor with the words Caution—Wet Paint.

30 / 42

My students are sassy

During snack time, a kindergartner asked why some raisins were yellow while others were black. I didn’t know the answer, so I asked my friend, a first-grade teacher, if she knew. “Yellow raisins are made from green grapes, and black raisins are made from red grapes,” she explained.

One little boy suggested, “Maybe that’s why she teaches first grade, because she’s just a little bit smarter than you.”

31 / 42

My students believe people can transform into insects

“In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis,” I said to my sophomore English class, “a man, discontented with his life, wakes up to find he has been transformed into a large, disgusting insect.”

A student thrust her hand into the air and asked, “So is this fiction or nonfiction?”

32 / 42

My students are realists

For Columbus Day, I assigned my third-grade class the task of drawing one of Columbus’s three ships. I had no sooner sat down when a boy came up with his paper, which had a lone dot in the middle.

“What’s that?” I asked.

He replied, “That’s Columbus, way out to sea.”

33 / 42

My students think I look like a clown 

As I welcomed my first-grade students into the classroom, one little girl noticed my polka-dot blouse and paid me the ultimate first-grade compliment: “Oh, you look so beautiful—just like a clown.”

34 / 42

My students don’t remember my lessons 

Halfway through the semester, I discovered that a student was retaking my course, even though he’d gotten an A- the first time through. When I asked him why, he had no recollection of having taken the class before.

“But you know,” he said, after mulling it over, “I thought some of this seemed familiar. I just couldn’t remember where I’d heard it before.”

35 / 42

My students don’t understand what an autobiography is 

A junior in my English class gave a big thumbs-down to the autobiography he’d read. His reason: “The author talks about only himself.”

36 / 42

My students confuse their g’s and j’s

“I got called the g word,” sobbed a third-grade girl.

“OK. Let’s calm down,” I said, kneeling beside her. “Now, exactly what were you called?”

Between sobs she blurted, “G … g … jerk!”

37 / 42

My students are insightful 

When one girl had finished the English portion of the state exam, she removed her glasses and started the math questions.

“Why aren’t you wearing your glasses?” she was asked.

She responded, “My glasses are for reading, not math.”

38 / 42

My students don’t understand me

Our assistant principal called in one of my underperforming Intro to Spanish pupils to ask why he was having trouble with the subject.

“I don’t know. I just don’t understand Ms. Behr,” the boy said. “It’s like she’s speaking another language.”

39 / 42

My students provide loving homes

The fish tank in my classroom was brimming with guppies. So I told the kids they could have some as long as they brought in a note from home. That’s how I received the following: “Dear Mrs. Swanson, Would you please give Johnny as many guppies as you can spear, as we are going to bread them.”

40 / 42

My student’s parents are a hand full

 During a parent-teacher conference, a mother insisted I shouldn’t have taken points off her daughter’s English paper for calling her subject Henry 8 instead of Henry VIII.

“We have only regular numbers on our keyboard,” she explained. “No Roman numerals.”

41 / 42

My student’s parents sound a lot like them

A note from a student’s mother: “Please excuse Chris from reading, because he doesn’t like it.”

42 / 42

My students shouldn’t learn from their parents

When her child’s towel was stolen during a school swimming trip, an irate parent demanded of me, “What kind of juvenile delinquents are in class with my child?!”

“I’m sure it was taken accidentally,” I said. “What does it look like?”

“It’s white,” said the parent. “And it says Holiday Inn on it.”

Andy Simmons
Andy Simmons is a features editor at Reader's Digest.