There are a lot of classes teachers wish they’d had in collegeCreating and Maintaining Effective Seating Charts, Dispute Resolution for the Apathetic Playground Manager, and Advanced Copy Machine Repair and Maintenance. But even if teachers could design our own course of study, there is nothing to prepare us for the numerous awkward situations we face throughout our careers–or even over the course of an average week.

1. You run into your students while you’re doing some “personal shopping.”

You just want to crawl under your shopping cart and hide. Speaking of a teacher’s less professional side, it’s also super cringe (as the kids would say) when you run into your students while you are shopping for things you don’t even want them to know you buy—like lingerie or pregnancy tests.

2. Your students invade your living room unannounced.

From 7:30 to 3:30 you are the model of professionalism and decorum–organized, well-dressed, enthusiastic, and prepared. But by 8:00 p.m. you are in your pajamas with a big glass of wine, a giant bag of your favorite chips, and a nice relaxing murder show. That’s when your teenage son decides to bring a group of friends over–all your students. You can’t get up to greet them–no bra. You can’t change the channel–the clicker sunk between the cushions two episodes ago. And the last thing you want to do is engage in friendly chit-chat with your 10th grade English students while a man in the background describes a freezer full of body parts.

3. A student asks a really good question—but you got nothing.

Seriously, you should know this. You are the adult and the expert for Pete’s sake. It’s not even like you forgot. You honestly don’t know who won the French and Indian War, what the largest sea creature is, or who wrote Crime and Punishment. This might seem like a good time for the old “How about you do a little research and let the class know what you find out” trick. But most of the time even younger kids see through this face-saving attempt to redirect. It’s better to create a diversion. Try “accidentally” knocking over your cup of name sticks or suddenly remembering the super fun brain break you meant to start five minutes ago.

4. Your lesson is going fine, but you crash and burn.

Speaking of creating a diversion, falling down in the middle of class because you tripped over a student’s backpack or computer cord or your own two feet is a very effective way of doing this, but it can also be super embarrassing and painful, so it should be avoided. If/when it does happen, your best bet, once you’ve collected yourself, is to offer your students some sort of reward to never ever speak of it again. Chances are, the awkward story will still be all over school by lunch.

5. Aspoonerism ruins your lesson.

Your literature discussion was going so well until you got tongue-tied saying A Tale of Two Cities. And no lesson can ever recover if you flub up talking about tool kits for fire trucks. Ummm…time for a brain break!

6. You conference with a parent one week, and the next you don’t even recognize them.

Last week Juniper’s mom came to parent-teacher conferences looking like she’d just stepped out of a salon. But today when you ran into her at the grocery store with her hair in a ball cap, no makeup, and wearing a frumpy pair of sweats, there was an awkward moment when you didn’t know who you were talking to. But kudos to Juniper’s mom for recognizing you with no makeup, a ball cap, and a ratty old college t-shirt. Solidarity!

7. Alert! Wardrobe malfunction!

Unfortunately, everyone has awkward moments like this. Your pants are unzipped, your bra strap is showing, you have coffee down the front of your blouse–it doesn’t matter what it is, the kid who hasn’t noticed a single due date all year will notice this.

8. Your hair somehow becomes a serious distraction.

You were feeling pretty spiffy about your new hairdo–but that was before the bell. Yes, even grown-up teachers like to experiment with new hairstyles, and like the coffee spot on the front of your blouse, this will not go unnoticed or un-critiqued. The first time you wear a messy bun, it will be cause for much excitement. Hey! You look like Miss Frizzle! They will go nuts if you change your style, Whaaaaat! You cut your hair? You were so pretty with long hair. And heaven help you if you ever get bangs. Miss T, have you ever seen New Girl? Now she looks good with bangs.

9. Your boss catches you in after-school prep mode.

You think you’re the only one left in the building, so you totally get your groove on.  We’ve all done it. Right? It’s the end of a long day and you still have to re-do your spring bulletin board or clean up from the day’s art project. So, you crank up the tunes and get to work. At first you’re just singing along, maybe bobbing your head to the beat. But as the stress of the day begins to melt away, so do your inhibitions, and before you know it, you are in full on Uptown Funk mode–even without any student backup dancers. And that’s when you remember–principals never knock.

10. Your “in-your-head words” accidentally come out of your mouth.

At some point in nearly every teacher’s career, she will find herself thinking (or saying), “Did I really just say that out loud?” But in most cases, you won’t have to wonder long though because the students who are losing their minds or gleefully repeating the offending word, will be all the answer you need.

When you work with children or teenagers every day, awkward situations are bound to occur. The key is to be cool, change the subject, and get through the day. No sense overthinking things, tomorrow will be a whole new day–and a whole new chance to impart knowledge, influence lives, and do something embarrassing.

10 Super Awkward Teacher Situations No One Prepares You For