19 Wild Inappropriate Substitute Teachers Who Did The Absolute Worst Thing With Their Students

While not all substitute teachers are bad, there are some who make things worse when the teacher is gone. So when Reddit user u/Dragon_King-88 asked: "Teachers, What was the worst thing a substitute teacher did while you were gone?" stories came flooding in. Here's what some had to say:

1."When I was a substitute, I got a lot of requested jobs because the substitute pool was poor. One such example given to me was a substitute who would just go to sleep. I barely believed it. Once I was teaching full-time, I had a sub come in for a day. When I got back, my students told me that he told them to leave him alone, sat down, and went to sleep. I believed it then."

A person wearing a plaid shirt is asleep at a desk next to an open laptop and papers
Oscar Gutierrez Zozulia / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2."I would occasionally give out starbursts to my 4th graders. Bitch ate all the pink ones."


3."I was a teacher's assistant while in college. The teacher and I took a week-long workshop and had a sub. The worst thing she did was not let the kids go potty. It was in kindergarten, and she said all the kids going to the bathroom were interrupting the class. One girl wet herself. School policy was if kids under a certain age had an accident, the nurse would give them a pull-up (basically a diaper) to wear. The substitute proceeded to make fun of the girl for wearing a diaper, calling her a baby and such. The little girl ended up facing repercussions at home, too. It was devastating to hear about."

A young boy wearing a face mask washes his hands at a sink in a public restroom, illustrating hygiene practices in shared workspaces


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4."They accused a student of stealing something that the aide had put away. This was a class that contained some pretty rough students, including one suspended multiple times for fighting and some gang members. She decided to go after a sweet, petite girl who never caused trouble and was generally popular with her classmates. This set off the entire class, and the sub went ballistic and started wildly throwing accusations and yelling at said students. Security eventually got called and took several students out. My first clue was when the sub got my cell number from the staff directory and went off for 20+ minutes about how bad my students had been."

"This was followed up with an extremely long email and a two-page written note on my desk, plus a concerned note from the administrator about not having appropriate sub plans (she didn’t follow them in the first place and decided to throw me under the bus).

When I arrived at school the next morning, the students were waiting for me at the door. Once I got them to calm down and tell their side of the story, we discussed how they could have handled the situation differently. I promised them never to get that sub again. On a related note, I had a good relationship with said 'rough children' because I treated them with respect and fairness. They usually behaved for me."


5."They gave out snacks I bought with my own money that I kept for kids who stayed after to get tutoring. They threw out a broken electric pencil sharpener that kids broke in front of her, which again, I bought with my own money and couldn't get replaced by the company because I had no product to send back. I still don't have a sharpener for my room. They let the kids go through my things in my cabinets and desk. I lost a bunch of stuff that way."

A modern classroom with numerous desks arranged in rows, each with textbooks and notebooks. The whiteboard at the front displays geometric shapes and diagrams
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6."They re-arranged my room. Not in a 'moved Student A away from Student B and put her by Student C' way. In a 'move the giant rug over to the opposite corner of the room, completely change the layout of student desks, and rearrange a bookshelf' way."


7."Back when I was a teacher, I had a sub decide my plans weren’t good enough for her and went rogue. She decided to show my students videos of animals giving birth on YouTube. I taught English..."

Two green parrots perched on a branch, engaging with each other
Holger Leue / Getty Images

8."They didn’t do anything to the kids, per se, but they told the kids that the reason I was out was because my Mom was having breast cancer surgery. I teach K-5, and I specifically didn’t tell the kids because I didn’t want them to worry. So, when I came back, I had a bunch of kids come up to me asking about my Mom, which was so sweet but not something the kids should’ve had to worry about."


9."They lost more than half of the textbooks that I purchased myself — as well as textbooks that were school property. The administration just shrugged at this until they found out that the textbooks belonging to the school were around 120 dollars each. Also, they lost all the book assignments for four classes. I asked him to collect them so I could correct them at home. It kinda sucked for the students who did put a lot of work on it and didn't have digital copies. Also, he didn't teach anything that I asked him to because he didn't really like the subject matter. Also, he didn't bother grading. When I checked the grades he had given out, there was only one grade, and everyone was given 8/10 — even students who didn't take my class."

Open notebooks, a stack of books, pens, pencils, and a calculator on a table, suggesting a workspace or study area. No people in the image
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10."The sub made the handicapped classmate who has muscle, joint, and vision complications go grab his textbook from his homeroom. He's not completely helpless, but when it comes to heavy things, he needs help. The classmate's homeroom was halfway across campus, and the required book consisted of five large text volumes because they were specifically made for his poor vision."


11."They asked a deaf kid to take off his hearing aids. Kids tried to tell her he needed them, but to her, they 'look like headphones.' She cried when was confronted by another teacher."

A young boy with a hearing aid communicates in sign language with a woman in the background, indicative of an inclusive and accessible learning environment
Jovanmandic / Getty Images

12."I had a substitute teacher in my high school French class show a movie that was straight-core pornography but tried to explain that since it was in French, it was artistic. It was equally frustrating because while I wanted to see boobs, I also couldn’t stop reading the subtitles because I had to understand what they were saying. The teacher did not come back the next day."


13."I had a Grade 1/2 class last year, and one student had diabetes. Let’s call him Adam. So Adam had a cellphone that beeps when his blood sugar is too low/high. It’s connected to the monitor in his arm/hip. The cellphone has no other uses, no apps, no data, and was not connected to the school WiFi. The substitute saw his phone on his desk and promptly took it away as per the 'no devices' rule. During gym class, an EA comes in to make sure everything is ok, and Adam is visibly ill. Pale and sweating, the whole works. Luckily, this EA knows Adam's medical plan and instantly asks Adam for the phone, and he explains that the substitute took it away in the morning. The EA then LOSES IT on the substitute, demanding the phone."

A person with a continuous glucose monitor on their arm is smiling while looking at their phone, relaxing on a couch with plants in the background

14."I had left out — overnight — eggs that I was going to use in a science experiment the following day. I was out and thought nothing about it. I returned the following day and went looking for the eggs, only to find them missing. I asked a student where they went, and I was informed that the substitute took the class to the special education kitchen, hard-boiled them, and ate them. I went to talk to my AP and was informed that the sub had called in sick for her job that day due to food poisoning."


15."I had a cool Chinese Lucky Cat that went missing after I had a sub. My students said the sub seemed really intrigued by it, talked about it several times, and even moved it from the shelf where it sat and brought it over to my desk. It was gone when I returned the next day."

A Japanese maneki-neko (beckoning cat) figurine with its paw raised, wearing a collar and a bell, holding a gold coin
Loulouvonglup / Getty Images/iStockphoto

16."I'm not a teacher, but I vividly remember one incident of having a substitute in kindergarten. I had an infected cut on my toe and had been prescribed an antibiotic and that morning was the first time I took it. We were sitting on the floor for roll call, and I remember this burning pain in my abdomen, and she told us to get up and go to our desks. I tried to get up only to realize I couldn’t move and just laid back. This sub starts yelling at me for being attention-seeking and basically tries to pull me up. I'm in so much pain that I start screaming, and one of the teachers from the classroom next to ours comes, realizes I'm not faking it, and calls an ambulance. Long story short, I'm horribly allergic to penicillin, and my kidneys were failing."


17."He yelled at one of the only girls in my high school engineering class, saying that girls don't belong in engineering. He also kicked his feet up on the desk and read the paper the entire day. He banged a yardstick on a desk to get everyone's attention, then pointed it at the whiteboards with the daily objectives. All without saying a word. He disappeared at lunch and came back smelling like weed. These are all reports I got from my students the next day. This guy was a retired teacher, too."

A group of people is seated in a training room at computer workstations, listening to an instructor at the front of the room
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18."A sub gave out my cell phone number to my high school students so they could call me and give me excuses for why they weren’t taking their tests while I was gone. I was LIVID. I complained to the sub-office, and that teacher never subbed for my building again."


19.And finally, "One sub made an elementary student cry, insisting her own name was misspelled, and made her stand up in front of the class and admit her name was spelled wrong. I asked that she not return, but I still saw her around as other teachers had her sub."

Children focus on their schoolwork at desks in a classroom. A girl in the foreground appears frustrated, with her head in hands
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Whether you were a student or a teacher, tell us the worst thing a substitute teacher has done in the comments below.