Everyone’s biggest nightmare: students share their most embarrassing classroom stories

We’ve all answered a question wrong in front of the class and had our faces turn tomato red. We’ve all knocked our water bottle over while the teacher is talking, and we’ve all felt the heat rise to our cheeks when everyone’s eyes turned. And although everyone has experienced being mildly embarrassed, many students at the high school have embarrassing experiences that surpass the norm.

World language teacher Sherri Higgins said she was going to take a lunch break while teaching freshman Spanish at Upper Arlington High School when she realized she had a long enough break for a 30 minute massage. Higgins said that after her massage, she got dressed and came back to school in a hurry.

“I’m standing up to teach in class, and all the kids are laughing,” Higgins said. “Finally, one kid was like, ‘Hey Señora, look down.’ I looked down and I knew that my zipper was down. I said, ‘Un momento, por favor.’”

Higgins explained that she went into the hallway to fix her pants, erasing the evidence, but she knew a permanent memory had already been made.

English teacher Todd Phillips said he had an unforgettable funny classroom moment, but his memory was about a student.

During 11th-grade English last year, Phillips said he had students read a passage and write a couple sentences to share with the class.

Phillips explained that senior Sofie Sheridan, a student in Phillips’ AP Language and Composition class, and her group used the word “phrases” in their sentences. The group wrote their sentences on posterboard and got up to share, Phillips said. He explained that unbeknownst to Sheridan, she had spelled “phrases” as “frases” by accident. He said no one mentioned the error until after the presentation.

“Right at the end, I said something to the effect of ‘I think those are excellent, they’re really well written, but we have one glaring problem,’” Phillips said. “When I said that, you could hear people kind of start to chuckle.”

Phillips explained that kids didn’t laugh at all at first, only complimenting the sentences.

“It was one of those things where as soon as I said it, everybody laughed cause I think they had noticed it, too,” he noted.

Phillips said Sheridan got red and hit her head on the back of the paper.

“She was mortified,” Phillips said. “But she took it great.”

At the end of the year, Phillips said that Sheridan wrote him a thank you note on the back of a posterboard and wrote “FRASES” on the front. Phillips said he hung it above the door in his classroom and still hasn’t taken it down.

Sophomore Quinn Levin said they also made a mistake in English class during quiet work time.

Levin said that they, thinking their earbuds were plugged in, started blasting “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy, only to realize a few seconds later that the entire class could hear the song at full blast.

“At the time, I was really into Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco,” Levin said. “I was going through an emo phase.”

The song playing was especially embarrassing for Levin because of the intense intro music, they explained.

“I cringed at it at the time,” Levin noted. “I remember wanting to run away.”

Junior Solly McDow said he had a similar experience, playing something out loud that he didn’t want his class to hear.

McDow said he was unsure of the pronunciation of someone’s name in his film and video class. He said he looked up a YouTube video of how to pronounce their name, thinking his airpods were connected.

“I was in the back of the class, and I just remember everyone swiveling their heads around,” McDow explained. He said he put his head down immediately after.

McDow had another embarrassing moment on Zoom during freshman year, he said. In French class, McDow said Higgins asked the class to repeat the phrase “pas de” out loud to practice saying it. After McDow got the hang of it, he said he started to have some fun.

“When I got into the rhythm, I kinda started singing,” McDow said. “So I was singing, I was getting into it, I was on Zoom, I was muted, so whatever.”

McDow said the fun ended for him when he realized that his microphone was actually on.

“[Higgins] interrupted herself and she said, ‘To whoever’s singing, just so you know, you’re not muted.’” McDow said. “I just clicked ‘leave meeting.’ There was nothing else to do at that point.”

McDow explained that now, he thinks the singing on Zoom was pretty funny.

“While it was very embarrassing at the time, I definitely don’t feel bad about it now,” McDow said.

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Annabel Long
Annabel Long is a junior at Bexley High School and is a staff reporter for the Torch student newspaper. Outside of the Torch, she swims and plays lacrosse for the high school. She participates in improv and theatre productions at the high school as well.