Embarrassing Moments from Embarrassed Music Teachers

We’ve all experienced embarrassing moments. The kind that leave us red-faced with humiliation and wondering if we’ll ever live it down. While it’s easy to beat yourself up over stuff like this, just remember; we’re all human. That means we might occasionally lose a button in an inconvenient location or have a conversation with our turtleneck. In light of this, I enlisted the help of a few brave friends to share some of their own embarrassing moments as music teachers. Because what good is an embarrassing moment if you can’t laugh about it later?

First up is my friend Elizabeth. She is author of Organized Chaos, a blog loaded with amazing tips for music teachers and moms alike.

In the first few months back after maternity leave (at a new school, I might add), there was one day I apparently walked around school with a chunk of poop on my sleeve for a few hours. The PE teacher told me at lunch, after a full morning of teaching where nobody said a word. Must have been from a quick diaper change that morning! From that day until my daughters were fully potty-trained, I kept a spare set of clothes in my classroom.


Next is my friend Melissa. She is author of Mrs. Stouffer’s Music Room Blog, where she shares lesson ideas with a focus on the Kodály method.

My very first day of student teaching, I was trying to teach high school students a few rhythms. They were having trouble getting the patterns, and I said, “Ok everyone! Let’s crap your hands.” After a brief, SUPER AWKWARD pause, I told they kids at least they knew what I was thinking. Good thing they let me live it down.


My friend Michelle is a blogger over at Music with Miss W, where she shares fantastic ideas for K-8 general music teachers, as well as high school band directors.

I was a band director at a high school with a very strict dress code. During the first month of school, not all the staff knew me yet. I have a very young looking face and often still get mistaken for a high schooler. One afternoon, one of the secretaries came running down a hallway shouting “Stop, you’re out of dress code!” Mind you, I was in professional clothing(my dress didn’t have a collar as the rules required for students). I showed her my teacher ID and she was super apologetic. It wasn’t the last time I was mistaken for a high schooler but it was the last time I got called out for being out of dress code!

Shelley is a fellow blogger and friend over at Pitch Publications Blog, where she shares fantastic ideas ranging from ukulele storage to time-saving tech.

I always showed a slide show during our chorus concert to match the songs we were singing. Once I forgot to turn off messenger and a friend messaged me “Are you done with the concert yet? Call me! You won’t believe what X did today.” Which so nicely popped up. When presenting in public, go into airplane mode to prevent these disasters.



My friend Jane is the author of SillyOMusic, where she shares awesome lesson ideas, such as how to use pocket charts to teach primary songs and using sticker charts to track progress on the recorder.

I have a hard time sleeping the night before a concert. Once, I didn’t end up falling asleep until 5am when chorus was set to perform at 7:30 for the Rotary Club. I missed my alarm and woke up to frantic voicemails from my coworker. I got dressed in about 30 seconds and ran out the door. I looked like a hot mess in my wrinkled school polo, mismatched shoes, frizzed-out hair, and no socks! My administrator had mercy on me because the kids sang well, but I still couldn’t look her in the eye when it was over.


And finally, here is my own embarrassing story. I have plenty, but this one involves the most people, which makes for maximum humiliation.

I had just finished co-directing a musical and the audience was out in the lobby. I’d received a framed picture of the cast as a thank you gift, so I was feeling particularly good. I started to make my way to the lobby, and just as I’d entered the view of everyone, my foot caught on the hem of my pants. I was still holding the picture frame with both hands when I fell face down. The glass shattered, creating such a loud sound that everyone in the lobby came to a complete halt to see what had happened. The embarrassment had already set in, when a kind teacher came to help me up. He asked if I was hurt, and I answered truthfully, “only my pride.”


If you’ve experienced an embarrassing moment as a music teacher, just know that you’ll be able to laugh about it…eventually. Feel free to share your own embarrassing moment in the comments below. As you saw through our stories, you’re in good company!

10 Responses

  1. I was teaching a song about Nelson Mandela. Trying to show the 3rd graders where South Africa was, I drew a fast Africa with a horizontal line across the bottom. A boy gasped, and when I turned around to look at my picture, I realized it looked like a penis. I hastily erased the picture saying, "I'm self conscious of my art, and am still working on it. If you laugh at my pictures I won't draw anymore." Thank God only one student noticed and most were worried about my artist self-esteem.

    1. Lol, that was quick thinking on your part! Kudos to your students for caring more about your self esteem than your racy art project 😉

  2. I have a co-worker who was reprimanding a student when her fake front tooth flew out of her mouth and landed on her sleeve. The kid looked at her arm, looked back up at her and said, "Miss, I think you lost something." Oh, man!!

  3. I put on a YouTube video with music that related to the lesson I was teaching that day. The video was just a artistic painting which (I thought) was the shape of a fortune cookie. One of my 5th graders walked in a gasped at the board and I still didn't see what was wrong. After staring at it for the hundredth time I realized it was artwork of cleavage. Thankfully only the one student noticed and I quickly moved onto the lesson lol fail. Next time I use music from YouTube I'll make sure to minimize the screen just in case!

    1. Ha, leave it to a fifth grader to notice that! That reminds me of the blog post I was trying to find while writing this one. It was about a teacher who'd accidentally projected her cleavage onto the board while she was trying to adjust the light. I guess that just proves it could've been worse 😉