1. Does chocolate milk come from a brown cow or a black and white cow?
“College student asked me if chocolate milk comes from a brown cow or a black and white cow.”
2. Why did they name the galaxy after a candy bar?
“Why did they name the galaxy after a candy bar? That’s stupid.”
3. Why is there so many words in this dictionary?
“‘Why is there so many words in this dictionary?’
This was a high school student.”
4. Is it true that mermaids evolved into dolphins?
“‘Is it true that mermaids evolved into dolphins?'”
5. Were cubes discovered in Cuba?
“7th grade math. ‘Were cubes discovered in Cuba?'”
6. Does Africa have night?
“It’s a toss-up between:
Does Africa have night?
Did Shakespeare write The Titanic?”
7. If my grandma is dead, am I still alive?
“One of my middle schoolers asked me recently, ‘If my grandma is dead, am I still alive?’ I just gave him the look and went back to my lesson on exponents…no clue where that came from. Both his grandmas are alive.”
8. Are all of the guys at NASA named Houston?
“I am 9 years into my teaching career, and only one question has ever been so dumb.
Watching Apollo 13, the scene is when they first tell Houston they have a problem, and they show mission control, and a student says something to her friend. Her friend says ‘you can’t ask him that.’
Naturally, my interest is piqued. I walk back, and ask her what her question is…
‘Are all of those guys there named Houston?’
First off, how many guys have you met they are named Houston. Second, what are the odds that there are 40 of them, IN THE SAME ROOM?!
9. How did Hitler get to Berlin from Australia?
“I did a walking tour in Berlin. Someone asked the guide ‘what’s the worst question you have been asked?’ He said, well, this guy from Australia, after the 3 hour tour was finished, asked ‘OK, so how did Hitler get here from Australia?’ he hesitated and said, ‘Hitler was from AUSTRIA.’ The dude looked confused and said, ‘Yeah, so am I, so I’m wondering why he came all the way to Europe to do all the things he did.’ The tour guide said he almost felt bad but had to be honest. ‘AUS-TRAIL-A is the county you are from, AUS-TREE-A is a European country just next to Germany.'”
10. Why doesn’t California just drink the ocean water?
“All from the same girl: We were in Washington DC and at the end of the trip she had to have a teacher point out where we were on a map because she thought we were in Washington state. She asked if rocks were living organisms. She asked why California doesn’t just drink the ocean water. In all honors classes somehow, just not the brightest.”
11. Why are white people in charge of the government if black people were here first?
“One of my students asked why white people are (mostly) in charge of the government if black people were here first. (We live in the U.S.) I told him that actually, Native Americans were here first, and he scoffed at me.”
12. Do you want us to write our names on it in English?
“‘Do you want us to write our names on it in English?’ asked the puzzled white American teenager in our rural American high school English class.
I STILL have no idea what she meant.
She was born and bred in Texas. Comes from a long line of Texans. She speaks no other languages. She is not British. She’s never been out of Texas.
And I STILL have no idea what she meant. I didn’t even respond. I just stared at her in disbelief.”
13. Wasn’t Mt. Rushmore made by nature?
“I had a handful of middle-school students insist that Mount Rushmore was a work of nature.”
14. Would being vaporized by a nuclear bomb kill you?
“Not a teacher, but in a history lesson, during year 11, we watched a recreation of the nuke that hit Hiroshima. The video showed buildings collapsing and a guy being vaporized. After the video ended there was a brief silence before this girl said, ‘would that kill you?'”
15. Why didn’t they kill Saddam and Osama during WWII?
“A stupid student we had was known for asking stupid questions, she baffles the faculty because they honestly believed she shouldn’t be a high school student, she should be back in middle school.
One of her best questions was this.
‘Why didn’t they kill Saddam and Osama during WWII, if they did, we wouldn’t have to deal with them now.’
She also thinks Black History month is in honor of President Obama, who she always mistakes for Martin. Luther King, Jr.”
16. What is an ass-sump-tion?
“It was a question about a question…
I was proctoring a university exam. Kid puts his hand up, I tell him per university policy, ‘look to keep this fair, I can’t really answer any questions, you’re to write down your assumptions about the question beside it in case something is wrong, and it’ll be taken into account when it’s marked if something is wrong with the question.’
University kid, honors business program asks me, ‘Okay, ummm, sorry, what is an ass-sump-tion?’
I thought he was being a smart ass so I said, ‘write down what you assume to be an assumption along with your assumption and it will be take…’ and as I’m saying it I can see the blood draining from the poor kid’s face as I realize he doesn’t know.
So I stopped and said sorry, then told him just to ‘write what you think the problem is with the question beside it.'”
17. Is abstinence some kind of shot I can get?
“In a US History class: Is abstinence some kind of shot I can get?”
18. Is Zimbabwe the capital of Africa?
“Is Zimbabwe the capital of Africa? Two seconds later someone else then said what is the capital of Africa?”
19. How did they put out fires before electricity?
“In 7th grade a kid asked how they put out fires before electricity. He thought water had to be refrigerated to put out a fire.”
20. Will we have to give speeches in our public speaking class?
“First day of Public Speaking, after going over the entire syllabus and every assignment:
‘Will we have to give speeches?'”
21. I dreamed that I was raped by a foot. What does it mean?
“I am a high school science teacher. I’ve given this answer before, but I’ll say it again here. I had a student ask
“Mr. Mookieprime, I dreamed that I was raped by a foot. What does it mean?”
Seeing my blank stare, she continued
‘You studied Physics, so you must know all about dreams.'”
22. Can I get a deferment on my take-home exam?
“We have a take-home exam for the course. The questions are released at the start of the exam period and the students have two weeks to complete the answers (it’s dead easy).
Student emails me this question (paraphrasing):
‘So since the take home exam falls during the exam period doesn’t that mean it clashes with my other exams? Can I get a deferment?’
…I had no idea how to explain to her that, no, a take home exam which you have TWO WEEKS to complete does not clash with other normal exams during the exam period. And, no, you can’t get a deferment on a fucking take home exam that you can complete literally whenever you want. Jesus Christ.
That is the only stupid question I can actually think of. The stupid questions are the ones that have nothing to do with course content and everything to do with trying to weasel out of doing course work.”
23. Why are all the states mixed up?
“8th grade social studies teacher here. ‘Why are all the states mixed up? It’d be easier to remember them if they named them in alphabetical order, like have all the states that start with an ‘A’ border each other.'”
24. Do people really like to have sex with donkeys?
“I teach eighth grade and have a student who relishes the chance to ask extremely inappropriate questions apropos of nothing, multiple times if he isn’t acknowledged the first time. My go-to answer has become ‘you should ask your mother,’ which he seems to forget is the go-to and results in massive sulking every time it works especially well.
Times when this has paid off nicely in recent days:
‘Ms. Reddish, is it true that pregnant women get really horny?’
‘Ms. Reddish, what is…. [cackling fit] porn?’
‘Ms. Reddish, do people really like to have sex with donkeys?’*
OK, we’re reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream right now, so it wasn’t quite apropos of nothing…but it would be nearly irrelevant if he actually read the play.”
25. Isn’t Mexico north of the United States?
“‘Isn’t Mexico north of the United States?’ ‘I thought Honduras was in Mexico?'”
26. If I do well on the final, will it help my grade at all?
“If I do well on the final, will it help my grade at all?”
27. Is a cell a molecule?
“While I was proctoring an exam someone asked ‘Is a cell a molecule?’ This was in a senior, 400 level, biochemistry course.”
28. Is Mexico part of the United States?
“Percussion instructor. Had one of my bass players ask randomly if Mexico was a part of the United States. Then the next day he shared that he hopes he can go to Jupiter one day to ‘see if it’s real.'”
29. If there is a New England, does that mean there is an old England?
“‘If there is a New England, does that mean there is an old England?’
I’ve been asked some form of this question every year.
I teach high school, in America…”
30. Can you see the equator from space?
“Student in my high school class asked if you can see the equator from space…the class went silent for a good minute.”
31. If a tsunami was on fire, would it still be filed under flood insurance?
“If a tsunami was on fire, would it still be filed under flood insurance?”
32. Are we safe being right next to the greenhouse?
“My classroom is right next to the greenhouse. We were going over climate change, carbon emissions etc. I had said ‘greenhouse gases are dangerous to the atmosphere.’
Student asked with a very anxious tone ‘are we safe here?’
Quite worried at this point student followed with ‘Are we safe being right next to the greenhouse?’
Sophomore in high school.”
33. You mean the sun isn’t a planet?
“You mean the sun isn’t a planet? This was in 10th grade.”