In life, you can either study hard and be "book smart," or you can game the system and be "street smart." The kids featured on this list definitely fall in the latter category.
The teachers of Reddit shared the most clever "wrong" answers students have given while technically still answering a question...a.k.a. the best smart-ass responses teachers have ever heard. And the worst part? Because they are technically true, the teacher can't even be mad.
Yeah, these kids are going to go far in life.
1. gyozaaa's student played them at their own game.
Student obviously not paying attention.
"Joshua, what was the last word I said?"
2. frostnfos' student knows it's easy to answer the hard questions.
I teach a college class on clinical trials methodology.
After a lecture on endpoints where I described objective, or “hard”, endpoints (like a laboratory measurement) versus more subjective, or “soft”, endpoints (like a survey that asks how you feel today), I assigned a homework that involved going out into the literature and finding examples of both.
One student delivered all of their examples using erectile dysfunction clinical trials.
3. brookelovesunicorns knows that being a smart-ass can really pay off.
Not a teacher, but in high school we had a National Guard rep come talk to us. He asked "What does the National Guard do?" I shouted out, "Guard the nation." Ended up getting a tshirt out of it
4. John_Bot_ now knows that rules are meant to be broken (or abolished completely).
Not a teacher, but I will never forget this happening in a class. We were going around the classroom saying what we would wish for given three wishes. It was like the first week of class. The only rule was that you couldn’t ask for more wishes. So it’s going smooth, we are making it around the class, then my buddy gives his three.
1). No rules 2). Infinite wishes 3). ...
The teacher was like “wishing for more wishes was one of our rules” and with the most dead serious face imaginable he says, “I wished for no rules, and that is not a rule”. Everyone started laughing, to us it was the funniest thing all week.
The teacher said in all the years they have asked that, not one student had ever wished for the rules to be removed so they could get more wishes. Was a good week.
5. avid_traveler's student gave a very weird answer...but a very true one, as well.
I was teaching gardening/ag at a magnet school in Kansas and we were talking about composting worms (specifically red wrigglers). The class was prolly second grade and I asked, “what do we know about worms” to get the students thinking and one little girl said very solemnly “the don’t have bibles”. This is true. Worms don’t have bibles.
6. JoshuaZ1 didn't ask a specific question, and didn't get a specific answer.
Calculus I: A problem asked a student to estimate the square root of a certain integer (I think it was 19) and to give an upper and lower bound. They were supposed to use linear approximation in the problem. One student wrote down that it was greater than 1 and less than a billion. (In subsequent semester I said explicitly to use linear approximation.)
7. sidewalk_cacti's students were just following directions.
I asked students in an English class to write sentences to practice their understanding of different parts of speech. I think my instructions said to use words from our vocabulary list and at least one action verb per sentence or something like that. One kid wrote variations of "The verb jumped over the adjective at recess."
8. cherryslurpee was the smart-ass student once.
I was that student once. In high school physics our first lesson was that speed is relative, and our teacher held up a tennis ball or whatever and said he'd give a candy bar to anyone who could tell him how fast the ball was moving. We all obviously said it was standing still, to which he explained that the earth is spinning, so it's actually moving about 750 mph (or whatever it was), and on top of that the earth is rotating around the sun, the sun is moving as well, etc etc.
So on our first test we had some real simple velocity-based questions so in my math I added 750 mph or whatever it was, which made it a gigantic pain in the ass to grade. He gave me 100% on the agreement I wouldn't do it again.
9. The kid in fearsome2behold's story had a weird, but totally correct, answer.
I am a teacher, but this story is from a friend. Also not a clever retort, just childish innocence.
He was teaching a group of kinders about hand-washing and germs.
Teacher: "Where might we find bacteria?"
Child: (enthusiastically) "Wisconsin!"
I mean, he wasn't wrong...
10. nifflersniffler's student went above and beyond.
I was a teacher assistant and one of the jobs I had was to correct homework.
One student had missunderstood the assignment. It was one of those "you have 10 dollars, what do you buy?" and you pick and choose from items on the sheet. But this girl made her own stuff. So she drew a cartoon of milk and a cheese with what they cost and the total was 10. It was beautiful made, so creative and must have taken 7 times longer to complete than if she had done it right. So I wanted to give her everything right and a fucking star because this girl was a fucking champ. But nooo, the teacher made me give her wrong and she then showed the whole class what wrongs she made AND made her redo it. A small part of both mine and that girls soul died that day.
Edit: wow, this got attention. It was not as simple as I wrote it. And it was in Swedish crowns not dollars. But I usually write dollars when I write in English.
She made six examples. So, One was milk and cheese. Another was a card, a toy car and a bouquet. The rest I don’t remember but she drew around 15 different things, gave them prices and matched it with the price the teacher was asking for. So yes, it was a whole lot of fucking work and she even colored them. She was 7.
11. At least Klobstar's student knows about personal space.
I was a police instructor, and when I asked a new trainee “what’s something you CANNOT do to an already handcuffed suspect” I expected “hit them” or something,
I called on a new trainee who was kind of shaky and he blurted out “UHHHHH PUT YOUR FINGERS IN THEIR MOUTH”
he’s not wrong
12. Tatem1961 witnessed the best save to someone forgetting their homework ever.
In my college English class in Japan a professor had an "open anything that isn't connected to the internet" test. One student brought an American.
13. geekydom's student was correct. Period.
I asked: “What’s the difference between a semicolon and a comma?”
A student didn’t even take a beat before answering: “A dot.”