27 Sexist Teachers Who Have No Business Working In Education And Shaping Young Minds

We asked women of the BuzzFeed Community who have ever dealt with a sexist teacher or professor to please come forward and share their stories. The response was overwhelming, and so many courageous women spoke up about their experiences that we had to share a part two. Here's what they revealed:

Warning: Some submissions discuss harassment and assault.

1."All the girls knew about that high school math teacher. If you didn't want to go to the board, you had to wear classic pants. Tight pants or short skirts meant that he was going to call you to the board and stare at your butt while you were solving an equation."


2."This was over 25 years ago in a photography lighting course in college. The old pervert teacher we had once told us, 'Wearing a tie denotes a position of power because the tie points to the penis.' Gross. There were only four other females in that class with me. Talk about making us feel powerless."


Professional in a suit adjusting tie, representing business attire for Work & Money article
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3."I had a college professor tell me, in front of other students, that I was in his top 25 list of women he'd like to have sex with. Another professor told other students, not me, that he had a crush on me. It's been a long time since then, and I'm still creeped out."


4."I had a male professor in college who said he kept track of women's cycles if they used cramps as an excuse to miss class or turn a paper in late. That really sucked as a woman with severe endometriosis and unpredictable cycles."


Tampon on a calendar highlighting date 12, implying menstrual cycle tracking for work absence planning
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5."My high school has a tradition that lets the seniors have a water balloon fight on the last Friday before graduation. When I was a junior, the Monday after the senior water balloon fight, all the junior girls were asked to go to the schoolyard to pick up the broken balloon pieces during morning assembly. Of course, we all asked why just us girls had to go, and the teacher said, 'We only asked girls because we know you ladies will do it way better than boys.'"


6."My seventh-grade gym teacher continually commented on how he loved my long legs, and I suspect he was the one who stole my sneakers from my gym locker. When I told my mom, who went to the principal, I had to meet with everyone, INCLUDING the teacher. The principal told me my teacher was a grandfather and he would never have said or done anything like that, and I was forced to apologize to him for 'lying.' Then, I had to finish the semester with him as my teacher. To this day, I find myself doubting what happened. It's such an awful, lonely feeling."


Person sitting on floor by lockers, head resting on knees, seeming distressed or fatigued
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7."I was in sixth grade when my math teacher told us the financial advantages of being president. I asked the question, 'So if I were president…' when he cut in and said, 'Well, you can only be president if you don't have a woman's mentality. If a woman is president, she will give a homeless person one million dollars.' I was in sixth grade, and I was speechless."


8."While studying commerce at university, my statistics professor said women didn't belong in business school. He said they should be in secretarial school. I failed his course and rewrote the exam with another professor. I passed and graduated."


Papers on a desk with "A+" and "F" grades, students in the blurry background
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9."During my machine design class for mechanical engineering, my professor stated, 'Most women don't know what a cam is.' He then called on me and asked me if I knew what it was, and I did not. After class, I asked my male classmates if they knew what a cam was, and they said they didn't know what it was either. After that, I went to the head of the mechanical department. I explained the situation and how I felt it was sexist to state that a woman mustn't know what it was when the guys didn't know what it was either. The department head told me that he spoke with the professor and told him that it wasn't acceptable to do that. They said he was still of the 'old school mentality' with women in engineering."


10."I had a teacher just forget I was in his class altogether. I was the only girl in that class, which you'd think would be a thing that would jog the memory, but nope. My mother was not one of 'those' parents, but she was more than a little ticked off when she showed up for the parent/teacher conferences, and he argued with her about it. She was even less pleased when she got home, and I confirmed it was pretty reflective of how he interacted with me (or didn't, as the case was) in his class. It was a computer animation class in the early 2000s — an overwhelming male-dominated class. I didn't know that when I signed up, but it wouldn't have changed my mind. I really liked it and learned a lot. I had a decent grade in that class, so at least he wasn't malevolent, just dismissive."


Man in business attire with bow tie, seated, looking at camera
Ian Ross Pettigrew / Getty Images

11."My biology professor in a required class told me he'd give me an A if I wore a skirt to the exam. I didn't, got all the answers right, and got a B."


12."It was the last year of medical school, and I was in one of our pediatrics rotations and in a lecture. The (male) teacher stopped mid-lecture to ask who intended to go on and do the pediatrics residency. I raised my hand, and two male colleagues also raised their hands. This professor locked eyes with me and told me that a woman would never be truly happy in pediatrics because she had to choose between working odd hours or being a mother. I was young and naive and said nothing to him. I cried so much after class that many people at our pediatric hospital heard what happened."

"The next day, I had another class, this time with a woman who was a very respected professor with many more academic achievements than the a-hole teacher. She stopped the lecture, asked who was the girl who wanted to go to pediatrics, and told me that if I chose to be a pediatrician, I could be very successful and happy. I cried again. I am a pediatrician and very happy to be one."


Close-up of a medical professional's white coat with a stethoscope and a plush monkey in the pocket, suggesting pediatric care
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

13."I was taking a course to become a certified environmental site assessor (someone who examines a site and determines if there's contamination, then recommends what remediation is needed if it is) while working for an environmental engineer. I was the only woman in the class of 18. I got the highest grade in the class (98), and when the instructor handed me my final exam, I made an excited comment. I happily exclaimed, 'I got the highest grade in the class!' I was surprised and pleased, but I was not boasting. He replied, 'Some people test well.' I have NEVER forgotten his comment. It was one of the most blatantly sexist comments I've ever had directed at me."


14."My sophomore AP English class was doing debates on different social topics. When setting the parameters of what to wear while presenting, the teacher insisted that boys should be in slacks/dress pants and girls in skirts or dresses. When I pointed out what I assumed was an error, he assured me that dresses or skirts were the only acceptable outfit options for the girls. I told him I had just had a procedure done on my leg and wasn't comfortable having the wound/dressing exposed during school. He was still adamant that I would be docked if I wore slacks. Eventually, enough of the boys in the class spoke up against it, and he backed down, but I couldn't believe that was an argument we had in 2006."


Person fastening a brown leather belt on gray trousers, symbolizing budget tightening or financial planning
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15."Grade 11 math class. We were going over some sort of word problem wherein 'Angela' weighed 180 pounds and exerted so much energy, blah blah blah. Our male teacher laughs and says, 'Can you imagine how huge she must be? 180 pounds is enormous for a woman!' I don't know what came over me, as I was quite shy of my weight, but I yelled out, 'Well, that's what I weigh! I can't believe this desk is holding up under my fat ass.' The look of shock on everyone's face was wild. He never did apologize; just moved on with the lesson."


16."My sixth-grade math teacher would call on the boys while pointedly ignoring the girls. Once, when I asked a question, he laughed and said, 'Girls just aren't good at math!' and the boys laughed, too. It crushed my 11-year-old soul and turned me off from math for years."


Person raising hand in a classroom setting, indicating participation or a question
Sdi Productions / Getty Images

17."My elementary gym teacher was well-known for treating the boys better than the girls. One year, I had surgery on my toe and had a doctor's note not to participate in P.E., so I gave it to him. He said I was making up excuses and told me to get out there and play kickball. He wanted me to kick a ball with a toe I just had surgery on. The boy in line behind me told him it was true and he had seen my toe. The gym teacher said I could sit out. This boy had no idea if anything was wrong with my toe, but he knew the coach would listen to a boy."

"Also, this coach was called out by the school board for mistreating the girls and the less athletic students but wasn't punished because so many popular, athletic boys and their families stood up for him. He still works there as a P.E. teacher and coach 20 years later."


18."I played the flute in high school (mid/late '90s). During my sophomore year, I didn’t want to anymore. When I spoke to my guidance counselor, she said, 'But what would your talent be if you were in the Miss America pageant?' That was her only reason I shouldn't drop the class. Ummmmm, yeah, that wasn’t happening."


Close-up of a person playing a flute with sheet music and other musicians in the background
Hybrid Images / Getty Images/Image Source

19."My junior year of high school, I wore jeans, a tank top, and a long-sleeved oversized collared shirt open over the tank. The tank was form-fitting but also mostly covered. Apparently, this teacher went on a rant about young women no longer respecting themselves and dressing to be 'sexy for men' and described my outfit. My boyfriend was in that class and told me about it later. After the teacher's lecture, he was embarrassed by my outfit and was trying to tell me I should change."


20."I was in the middle of giving a 15-minute final presentation that I had gone over with other students and the professor (he had told me it was a great idea) when he interrupted me to tell me that my reasoning made no sense and he didn't understand. It completely ruined my flow. He did it with other female students, but the male kid who put in no work the entire semester and had an awful speech got a 'Great job!' from the old fart professor."


Woman presenting a PowerPoint slide during a work-related seminar
Kong Ding Chek / Getty Images

21."During freshman year of art school, I was struggling because of an undiagnosed chronic illness. It made me miss classes, and I had difficulty with some hand-drawn work on specialty papers like Vellum and Mylar due to how much I shook. The professor thought architecture and urban planning (my major) was a man's world. In front of the class of 20 men and four women, he told me I could expect no better than a C because 'Women, especially women like me, were not made for urban planning and architecture design.' I still have no idea what he meant by 'women like me.' It chased me out of my chosen major. I regret leaving that field to this day, 30 years later, and especially since I let a man run me off."


22."I was 16, and a male teacher grabbed me in class and tried to kiss me (he tried to play it off as a joke). It was super awkward, and I never said a thing, but someone else must have because that teacher left our school soon after. That same year, a male tennis instructor kept trying to look up my skirt and made us girls do ridiculous exercises. From then on, I only ever wore the longest, baggiest sweatpants in his lessons."


Woman in casual grey zip-up jacket and pants, hands in pockets, smiling at the camera
Halfpoint / Getty Images/iStockphoto

23."My college professor in 1974 said the following: 'I really like it when you wear skirts to class, especially when you sit in the front row,' and, 'Does your boyfriend really appreciate you as a person or just somebody with a great chest?' This was a time when you couldn’t do anything but move to the back row and wear overalls."


24."In 2021, I was working as a preschool classroom aide. The headteacher set up stations for the kids (like a color station, a puzzle station, etc.). There was a science station, and she called for kids who wanted to go to the science station to raise their hands. I watched in pure astonishment as she ONLY called on boys. Once all the boys who had raised their hands were called, she ignored all the girls with their hands up and called out some boys who didn't raise their hands. One by one, the boys said they did NOT want to go to the science station."

"Finally, the teacher was forced to allow a girl to go to the science table, but not without trying to convince her she should play dolls with the other girls. I was so shocked at the blatant sexism that I couldn't speak up. I made sure to sneak over to the science station to encourage that little girl to keep playing with science toys if she liked them."


Three children in a classroom setting with their hands raised, looking eager to answer a question
Jonathan Kirn / Getty Images

25."I graduated from a university in Spain that belongs to a very conservative Catholic group. Despite being an outstanding institution, it has a very traditional view of gender roles, which has led to an environment where some professors aren't very convinced about the skills of their female students. That being said, since their reputation is so good, they kind of knew how to play it down, so I was never a victim of flagrant sexist acts, but I did encounter constant microaggressions from a lot of professors."

"This would include not being acknowledged when raising your hand to answer a question unless you were a boy, getting snappy or dry comebacks in discussions while most of the guys' answers would be considered interesting or insightful, realizing in group projects that the professor would only address the guys while ignoring the girls, no eye contact from the professors when talking, and being outright ignored if you greeted them in the halls. In general, I am thankful I got a great education. Still, the feeling of playing with a disadvantage just because you were a woman was always present and, therefore, very exhausting."


26."I went to a small high school where most students were academically strong. We're talking averages of 90% or higher. I was a pretty average student, but nowhere near that level. Before graduating, we were to meet with a guidance counselor (a man). He told me I should go into cosmetology school, as that was my only option with my grades. Again, I was average, just not near the top students. There is nothing wrong with becoming an esthetician, but he was not suggesting it to me because it was a rewarding career. He was just being a sexist a-hole. I got into every university I applied for."


A worn wooden door with a sign reading "COUNSELOR" above a smaller "ENTER" sign
Mrdoomits / Getty Images

27.And: "I naturally have a lower voice for a woman. It's not extreme, but it's lower than most. I always have. One college professor in a business course told me that no one would take me seriously in business if I spoke the way I did, referring to the pitch of my voice. I was a little put back by that comment because I had never had an issue with my voice before. She made me speak in a fake higher pitch voice when giving presentations or reports for class and would dock me and write 'fix the voice' or 'work on speaking pitch' if I didn’t. She often called it a 'professional tone.' It was ridiculous. She didn’t make any of the men speak in a high pitch, just me because my voice was lower than other women. But, my voice was not lower than a lot of the men in class!"

"I KNOW what she said was total garbage, but I still think sometimes, 'I wonder if I should have spoken higher in that interview? Would they like me better then? I hope I didn’t sound unprofessional.' She really drilled it in. Teachers have to be careful what they preach because it DOES stick."


This makes me feel sick. Thank you to everyone who shared, and I'm genuinely sorry you had to endure this treatment. If you're reading this and have a story you want to share, you're welcome to do so in the comments or via this anonymous form.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.