Teacher Teaches Kid a Lesson

The following is a trick a professor played on a little annoying kid. I have never taken any computer classes in college, but we all know how there is always that one annoying, little… Anyways, here it is.

So I’ve been a professor at this ‘little school’ for a while now. I love my job. My classes contain students from all age groups. I have a few 17 year old high schoolers that are here because they are bored during the summer. I have a few seasoned folks that have IT experience. I also have a few people that are clearly here just for the three credit hours.

The classroom is set up in a ‘lab’ environment. Each student has a PC in front of them that netboots linux from a central box located near my desk at the front of the classroom. This setup works great because the students come into the classroom every day, power on their PC, and they get the exact OS load and lesson they need for our session. Not to gloat, but I designed it this way and I’m the envy of a few other professors *cough* windows instructors *cough*.

I have this one student that I’ll call “Pima”. Yes, that’s an acronym.

Pima is one of the 17 year olds in the class and considers himself an uber-hax0r. He constantly interrupts me during my lessons trying to make valid points that are somewhere between “WTF?” and “OMG YOU ARE NOT USING TEH DEBIAN!”. For those of you that listen to the podcasts and remember my story about training some folks over in another country and some dude put my kevlar vest over top his… well let’s say if we were in combat and this kid dropped his kevlar I think I’d dig a whole and bury it so he couldn’t find it.

This kid has the attention span of me at a Hooters restaurant. He’s always doing “something” on his PC during class. Most of the time he’s constructing poorly written bash scripts and trying to download stuff from an internet connection that really doesn’t exist. I didn’t say he was bright did I? Right.

One day recently we had a special saturday class that was very lab intensive. Right before the lunch break I informed everyone that I’d be going around to each PC and “breaking” something that they’d have to fix when they got back. Usually I do something silly like screw with their /etc/resolv.conf file, comment out some things in a service’s configuration file, or some other type of fun.

During the lunch hour I wander around and start breaking stuff. I get to Pima’s machine and I can’t login to the machine as root. My little uber-hax0r had changed the root password.

Let’s keep in mind that this kid is NOT the ripest banana in the bunch by a long shot. Let’s think about this, shall we?

1) The PC neboots to an image. Changing the root password is effective for the current ‘session’ only. I reboot the machine, I get a fresh load. Kapisch?

2) SSH is running on all of these boxes. Did I mention that I authenticate using a certificate to all of these machines? I don’t NEED the password.

3) In /etc/passwd, there’s this really cool user called (and I kid you not) “backdoor”. Backdoor is authorized for ‘su’.

Curiosity was killing me. I tried to login as “backdoor” and sure enough it worked and I could issue commands as root. Duh.

I wandered back to my instructor workstation and ssh’d to his box as root with no problems.

I had a decision to make. Do I just reboot the machine and carry on? Or do I teach this kid a lesson?

Oh yeah, he’s getting a lesson.

I whipped out my microphone from my laptop bag and plugged it into my workstation. I recorded a few choice sound files and scp’d them to his workstation in a directory I made called “/tmp/…/lmao”.

I then made sure that ‘sox’ was installed on the workstation. It was. I ran back over to Pima’s workstation and made sure that the speaker volume was turned to 75% on his speakers. Just to be a jerk I used my trusty pocketknife to pry the volume knob off of the speakers. There will be no adjusting these bad boys!

The clock said that I had half an hour left before the students returned, so I quickly returned to breaking the rest of the students’ workstations.

A half hour later it was show time.

The students filed back into the classroom. Pima was five minutes late as usual.

I instructed the class not to touch their keyboards until I gave them their instructions.

After I prattled on for five minutes with the assignment I sat back down at my workstation and acted like I was busy. I noticed that Pima had a big grin on his face after he logged into his machine with his root password. The grin said “haha you didn’t break MY stuff!”.

I brought up the xterm that was ssh’d into Pima’s workstation and issued the following commands:

$ cd /tmp/…/lmao
$ play haha1.wav

At that moment a loud booming voice commanded its way from Pima’s speakers:


There was dead silence in the room. Pima jumped back about half a foot from his PC.

Laughter ensued.

I glanced up from my screen and glared at Pima.

“Is there a problem? You should be working on your assignment and not goofing around.”

Pima squeaked out a “It wasn’t MEEEEE!”

I glanced back down at my screen and waited another few minutes.

I then issued this:
$ play haha2.wav

The class was treated to a very high-pitched chimpmunk version of “MY HUMPS! MY HUMPS! MY ITTY BITTY HUMPS!”

At this point the class was dying in laughter.

I continued with my straight man act.

“Pima, if you interrupt this class one more time I’m walking you out. Have some respect.”

He sat there and didn’t say A WORD.

A few more minutes go by and Pima is typing like a mad man on his keyboard trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

It was now time for “Le Finale Grande”.

$ play haha3.wav

Pima’s speakers blared the following in my own God-like voice:


At that moment Pima figured it out and was treated to his classmates (and me) laughing hysterically at him. He stood up, put his arms up in the air and proclaimed “YOU GOT ME. YOU GOT ME. OKAY.”

Pima has been a perfect gentleman since.

He even shows up to class five minutes early every day.

[source found via]

70 Thoughts on “Teacher Teaches Kid a Lesson”

  1. Thats awesome. I would’ve loved to be in that classroom to see that.

  2. That is hilarious. I’m gonna have to keep that one in mind for the future!

  3. Lame teacher! Nothing special there, just humiliating the poor kid in front of the class. What have you taught him? That it’s cool to play stupid .wav’s remotely? If the kid is annoying, I’d say the teacher is 2 times more annoying!

  4. Wow…Anonymous = Pima?

    Sounds like something a kid like that would write.

    Great prank.

  5. I was a teacher for ten years and while the joke on him was ok, the humiliation in front of the class, no. he could have down something with a screem\n msg. and got his point across w/ higher mind. Lowblow, teacher!

  6. The humiliation is what makes him never do it again. That was a good prank.

  7. I would not approve of embarrassing a kid for most things but being an arrogant prick is not a legitimate alternative lifestyle. This kid was trying to tell the author and the class that he had no respect for him and the author showed him (mildly) what can happen when you show contempt for people. It is because everyone is too afraid of hurting the feelings of children that bullies have free reign in schools and kids come into the job market thinking they are kingly child princes and princesses only to be shocked when they can’t get a promotion or hold a job.

  8. You should have aliased rm -r ~/ to something simple like ls or cd

  9. I agree with Saul Wall…. You have to pay for what you did. It is as simple as that. The author has written that ‘Pima’ did not listen to him, and did not show him respect. So why should the author treat Pima with respect.

    The days of playing it nicely are over. I am with the author.

  10. Please, of course the kid should have been embarrassed. All of this coddling students these days is ridiculous. How are they supposed to learn anything if there aren’t any consequences to their actions?

  11. Had I been that student, after a prank of that caliber, I would have studied hard to get you back. Luckily they were linux machines and not windows.

  12. I don’t accept any of that in front of the class. Think, what is the college teacher paid to do? Teach computer science, not pranks or humiliation. I’ve been told (and told to others) that IF YOU DISTURB THE CLASSMATES / TEACHING, GET OUT OF THE CLASS. That would be the correct attitude.

    I’m pissed of teachers like that! Teachers need to be educated too, and I’m surprised that there are still these ill behaved teachers.

  13. That was a great story! The student knew he slipped up right when the first wav played, no doubt. Now, if only he were bright enough to reconfigure sshd to use keyboard authentication instead of the encrypted RSA key. Then what? Reboot the clean image?

    People here saying they don’t agree because of “blah blah blah” need to lighten up. This is America and the teachers still have the right to teach their class however they prefer within reason. This was not only well within reason, it was well thought out and I believe this kid gained some respect for his teachers. It’s not often Teachers get to communicate on the *same* level as students, but this is one of those times. Keep up the great work. Wish I could sit in on a lesson!

  14. I agree, I think the teacher is the one sucking balls here. What he did wasn’t even really difficult or for that matter of even funny or cool. I hope the teacher reads this post, WTF dude?

  15. “I’m pissed of teachers like that!”,”I think the teacher is the one sucking balls here.” Such articulate responses… its no wonder.

  16. Story is well written, but shows distorted image of education and motivation. This story is about feeling, emotion and bad spirit. I can imagine what kind of emotions is going on teachers mind. His revenge seeking thoughts.. the planning.. execution.. and finally, sick pleasure of humiliating the kid. Don’t you? This is not education at it’s best. It’s good for laughs (for that kind of sense of humor, not me). I’d bet the kid will revenge or copy that to someone, sometime and you don’t want to be near. Lesson learned!

  17. this was perfect. the instructor treated him perfectly. anyone who acts arrogantly is best to be “broken down” this broke him down, and tells him to show respect. a life lesson learned with little harm done. best done now than in the workplace.

  18. If the kid straightened up after this incident, then how could you say it was wrong? And if you think the kid should have been kicked out instead of being humiliated…don’t you think it would be humiliating to be kicked out? You can’t teach a kid when you’ve kicked him out of the classroom! Maybe this teacher enjoyed what he did a little too much, but who cares? You can’t argue with results.

  19. I stopped reading at “dig a whole”.

  20. Its not like he even embarassed him much. He didnt exactly insult the boy or point out any physical or mental problems that he cant help.
    The prank was purely because he messed about in class and acted like a tough guy.

  21. Personally i think what was done was perfect it taught the kid a lesson with no real harm done. Wish i would have had more professors like you in college, there is always a few students that need a wake up call but rarely anyone to give them one.

  22. I love how the url of this page reads:



  23. Haha, thanks asdf (if that is your real name…). I did not catch that, but can’t change it now or no one would find this page.

    Also, I have to say I agree with Bonez and other that say the teacher was right, or at least trying to teacher the kid a lesson. No real harm done.

  24. Just fix it and 301 redirect the old URL. Simple.

  25. What a dreadful teacher you are. Sorry, but attacking and belittling kids, and you refer to the teenager as a kid, is inappropriate for an adult, no less an adult who claims the respect of a “professor”. Your job is to teach, not humiliate. Amazingly enough that kid showed more maturity than you did in responding to a problem. He laughed at the bully, you tried to get others to laugh at a child. Shameful, just shameful.

  26. One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is to get a raport going with your class. Once this is established, it can be a tool to aid in the learning process. This could have been done vindictively, but it appears the teacher did this correctly, and proved his point without being malicious.

  27. Is there any way we can do this to the entire federal government?

  28. 1) The teacher’s job is to entice students to learn.
    2) You have done just that.

    The people above whining about the “embarrassment” this kid experienced scarring his childhood identity… I call bullshit. As a manager, I have to deal with know-it-all-know-it-better primadonnas… I believe it’s likely you transformed one of them into a decent programmer.

    More teachers should learn from your example. More parents as well.

  29. That’s quite a good story, both from a fun, geeky point of view, and in regards to the way people think and act.

    There’s nothing like a little bit of knowledge overshadowed by a massive ego to spoil the day, however you’ve met him on his terms and his actions from then show you’ve now garnered his respect.

    Hopefully you can turn this enterprising young fellow into a star pupil. A little initiative can go a long way.

  30. Don’t listen to the people being all oversensitive about this. That kid needed a lesson. Kudos.

  31. You know you sound like a self-indulgent wiener, right?

    And you probably know what they say about teachers as well right? The whole, “those who can, do…” thing???

  32. I think normal punishments are just complete bullshit. If you ask someone to get out of the class, they don’t care if they do stuff like that. You have to know how to make them gain your respect, or the norm will continue.

  33. I don’t think one little prank on a kid is that big of a deal. Relax people, it didn’t hurt anybody.

  34. Haha this was awesome, good job with it.. My computer teacher at high school used this technique with students.. Often we had the ‘cool kids’ who just chose the subject because they figured it’d be easy and a bludge, something to fill spots they needed to fill..

    He’d always make an example out of them, do things like this to get them in to line.. and what do you know? They learnt and they actually did work!

    What you did wasn’t offensive, didn’t harm anybody, was a laugh and set this guy straight.. As much as I can see where those who were against this are coming from, it didn’t harm the kid at all..

  35. What a bunch of little pansy-ass, leftist, whiny, spineless panty-waists. You people telling the author that he’s gone too far with embarrassing the poor little fella in front of the other students make me spit up in my mouth. If more of you people were in charge, we’d have time out for terrorists. Honestly… The teacher was spot on and could have gone way further than what he did. Instead, he taught the student a lesson that the student can take with him when he leaves the class – there are repercussions to actions. It’s all you wanker parents out there that shelter your children and think no harm will ever come to them if they open their fat mouth and say something stupid or prank someone and think nothing will become of it. Keep raising your kids like that and we’ll become a bunch of sissy-ass goat herders.

  36. I think that Super Jamie said it pretty much as I would have.

    You met him on his terms. By the way you dealt with the problem, you showed him that:
    A.) He shouldn’t try to bust your chops. Your chops are unbustable (thanks to Maddox for that).
    B.) You have a sense of humor and don’t take it personally when there’s adversity.

    This kid doesn’t sound like a bully. He sounds like a guy who was testing the waters to see what kind of pool he was in. You showed him that it wasn’t the kiddie pool, but it wasn’t shark-infested, either.

    From what you communicated, it seems to have been the optimal method of correction. However, the big question is follow-up: How is your relationship with the kid, now? How have you treated him since then?

    I’d guess you’re doing just fine, but I just gotta know.


    Anyway, good read and fun times.

  37. Dumb teacher, just wanted to prove how great he was in front of his students.. “look what I can do , I am so smart”

    and then blogs about it.. lol

  38. Well played Sir. Well played indeed.

  39. Oh, please. I had teachers like that (though not for computer related courses) and to a student, we liked those teachers best. Why? Because they’re showing that they have a sense of humour, because it wasn’t intentionally malicious, and because it wasn’t an unprovoked attack- it was a response and a damn funny one as well. If the kid had been quiet, well-behaved, and just a little behind in the course work, then it would have been malicious.

    I’m not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination, but Jesus, people, children aren’t made of glass. We learn through this stuff.

  40. Referring to the overall tone of the description of how this ‘lesson’ was pulled off:
    Its jerks like this teacher and their attitude of talking down at people that don’t find Linux/Unix intuitive:
    3) In /etc/passwd, there’s this really cool user called (and I kid you not) “backdoor”. Backdoor is authorized for ’su’. WOW you must be pretty cool yourself to understand this type of thing :)

    that assure me that Linux will never ever make it, even though it is superior to Windows in every way.

  41. The best way to make people remember things is to associate them with ‘new’ or ‘different’ experiences. That is what the teacher did. I’m not surprised at all. This is the reason I find my physics class fun (read educational), its comedic and some people get picked on (they don’t mind).

    Although I have to admit the actual prank wasn’t all that smart from a technical point of view. The kid could have easily turned sound off with alsamixer or unloaded the corresponding module(s) after the first ‘attack’.

  42. I also wanna to join that classroom…

    Thanks for posting!

  43. That was really funny. Man, Pima must of really got on his nerves

  44. lolz! great!

  45. I agree with what the teacher did. Some kids are stupid and need to be put in their place. This is coming from someone who is still a kid themselfs and to be honest, most kids learn better with a funny teacher like this guy is.

  46. What if pima just bought an n52 magnet and clanked it to each computers harddrive and passed it by all the monitors. How would you make fun of him or prove it was him then? Careful who you mess with. Some people may be a bigger PIYA than you may know.

  47. good read man.

  48. LoL, nice!

    To those crying foul, during lunch this teacher went around and “broke” things on his students’ computers forcing them to figure out how to fix their cpu’s anyway – so what he did to this student wasn’t really out of line with the lesson plan. So relax.

    I sort of wonder if this story is 100% true though, I mean it’s not like the only way to turn down the volume on a PC is the knob…

  49. your such a b***h!!!!
    poor kid…
    by the way- PIMA stands for pain in my ass right?

    cool article anyways

  50. How can you even sympathize with that kid? This doesn’t even classify as a punishment. Either kick him out or resort to corporal punishment.

  51. hole…

  52. Thats what’s up!

  53. @Dexter Smith:
    It could be him, but it’s missing that 1,000:1 1337speek:English ratio.

  54. not interesting nor funny…

  55. This is great! And the kid wasn’t completely mortified or anything, he deserved it. Some people just can’t help but to take shit so seriously.

  56. This teacher is too awesome, kid got what was coming to them.

  57. why the hell did i stumble upon this? i really want this minute or two of my life back. i’m sure this is fake, but also not funny. what a waste of time.

  58. I doubt you teach anything.
    If you don’t know the difference between whole and hole, I suspect you don’t know your ass from a whole hole in the ground.

  59. To the people bitching nonstop about “whole” vs “hole”.
    Get OVER it!
    It’s not like this story was riddled with spelling errors. Yeah, a few. So what? It’s not like you’re all perfect. If you’ve ever written any kind of lengthy paper, you either made some mistakes and probably overlooked one or two, or you’re a freaking writing freak.
    Yeah, they bug me too, but if most everything else was written correctly, and it’s not nonsense, suck it up and let him know you like it.

    By the way, real or not, this was funny as hell to imagine.

  60. I was dissapointed with the WAV messages. Why not hardcore porn? Would be much funnier.

  61. True or not, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of being in class with a kid like that. Hats off to the teacher for not letting that kid ruin the class for everyone else.

  62. Whats Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & assist other customers like its aided me. Good job.

  63. yawn….really ..o wow you really are amazing

  64. Good job teacher

  65. This teacher’s a tool, and this story should be put out as what not to do to teach children, even young adults.

  66. So a teacher that doesn’t know the difference between hole and whole, I call shenanigans on this whole thing.

  67. Lol. The whining comments are the funniest bit of this article. Great lesson and absolutely harmless. This teacher saw the best way to fix the situation and he took it. Much more positive than kicking him out or reprimanding him. And FYI – computer scientists are usually poor spellers. Get over it. You may be able to write a sentence with proper spelling and grammar, but I doubt you can write a piece of code to do anything.

  68. Hilarious!

  69. Sorry can’t get over the “dig a whole”…

  70. Nice Post, keep sharing like this.

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