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A day in the life – Unexpected stories from the primary classroom

From unusual animal visitors to fated Ofsted inspections, teachers from across the UK share their unexpected incidents in the primary classroom...

  • A day in the life – Unexpected stories from the primary classroom

Teachers have the best job in the world: we are the profession that creates every other profession. It is teachers who shape the hearts and minds of children for the rest of their lives, maximising their learning potential.

No two days in the world of education are ever the same, and that’s what keeps things interesting. Our hearts could be bursting with pride one moment, while we desperately try to stifle laughter following an unanticipated humorous moment the next. We are working with children after all, who can be very unpredictable. No matter how much we try to plan for every possible eventuality in schools, sometimes there will be incidents that take us completely by surprise.

I asked the wonderful world of #EduTwitter to share their funniest, most unexpected moments with Teach Primary readers. Prepare to be entertained as you read this selection of laugh-out-loud chronicles from the primary school classroom and beyond…

Wash your hands

I was walking down a corridor and heard a teaching assistant say to a child who was entering the toilet: “wash your hands in the sink this time!”  

Insect invasion

First lesson of the school year and I fell off a table whilst trying to catch the wasp that was destroying my lesson! I ended up being wheeled through the school on a wheelchair in tears – I had fractured my leg!

Tooth fairy

A child was hysterical that they had lost their tooth down the toilet and the tooth fairy would not come. I had to put some gloves on and retrieve it.

I’m bored

In a phonics lesson, a child drew a circle on the carpet with his whiteboard pen to make a portal that he could disappear down because he was bored!

Inspection incident

I was stopped mid-inspection by an inspector who whispered, “Sorry miss, but the child has just eaten a glue stick.” I went over to check and the child had indeed unscrewed and then eaten it – he was even still chewing…

Flip flops

I decided to wear my new flip-flops to school on the day a child was sick directly onto my feet. It was thick, so when I walked away there were two perfectly formed footprints in the vomit! 

Punctuation is important

I wrote a ‘punctuate the sentence’ question on the board during an Ofsted inspection. I didn’t leave enough space between the words ‘pen’ and ‘is’ in the sentence ‘the pen is blue’…

Pet day

We had a pet day as an end-of-year treat. One child held out a stick insect to show me. I screamed, fell over and flattened his mum, landing next to a tortoise! 

Jam hands

I was making jam tarts with Reception children. They had a go at everything including rubbing the ingredients in to make the pastry. Once the jam tarts were made and eaten one child said, “I love making pastry. I had really dirty nails but now they are clean.” I had eaten one of them, too! 

There are many memorable moments that happen in classrooms across the country every single day. From that dreaded time a child escaped from the classroom by jumping out of the ground floor window to the mystical powers of a wet paper towel used by teachers to ‘cure’ a myriad of ailments, the life of a teacher can be rewarding, challenging, exciting and tiring, but it sure is never boring!

Despite how stressful life can be, and the many events that teachers can never prepare for in schools, sometimes the best (and most remarkable) things happen unexpectedly.


Sarah Mullin is the executive headteacher of a primary school and nursery in the West Midlands. These stories and many others can be found in Sarah Mullin’s bestselling books What They Didn’t Teach Me on My PGCE and Chronicles from the Classroom, available on Amazon.

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