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Don't Say These Things to Your Teacher

Updated on May 17, 2014

Caveat

Recently I saw a post online from a English teacher about "rewriting" the rules to his classroom. He caught some flack because of his apparent mocking of his students but I thought it was hilarious. The point is that overall I love my job and I love my students - even when they don't act so loveable. I get the ever so challenging and rewarding job of taking them, despite all their great and stupid questions, and trying to mold them into capable and thoughtful learners.

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Stupid Questions

Whoever said "there is no such thing as a stupid question" never met a high school student. In fact, I'm not really even sure how that quote came into existence, but it sounds like something some cutesy teacher would say to help their students' self esteem. I am definitely not a cutesy teacher and I have definitely heard my fair share of stupid questions in my day. Here are my fun examples.

Group 1: The Can-We-Do-Something-Besides-What-You-Want-Us-To Questions:

1. Can we just sleep?
2. Can we just do nothing all period?
3. Can we just have a study hall this period?
4. Can we just talk to our friends all period?

Group 2: The You-Look-Like-A-Calculator Questions:

1. What would my grade be if I got an A on the test?
2. What would my grade be if I did well on the test?
3. What would my grade be if I made up this assignment?
4. What would I have to get on this test to bring my grade up to ___ ?

Group 4: The Just-Plain-Stupid Questions

1. Are we doing anything today?
2. I was absent, did we do anything important yesterday?
3. Why doesn't everyone just speak English?
4. Wait, we have a test today?
5. We had homework?
6. Can I cheat?
7. Can I use a translator?

As a teacher, my biggest annoyance is...

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Just Plain Rude

Context really does make or break these questions. Asking what page we are on after just coming in from the bathroom or arriving late with a pass is no big deal. But if I just sat there and said it four times then it is just plain inconsiderate. It is like this generation thinks nothing of looking stupid. They would rather ask and show their inattention than just lean over and ask a neighbor.

Questions:

1. What are we doing?
2. What page are we on?
3. Is this supposed to be in French? (I teach French)
4. How do you expect us to do this?

Comments:

1. You must have lost my paper.
2. You never taught us this stuff.
3. I don't remember doing that assignment.
4. You are being childish. (yes, asking you to move seats because you won't stop talking is childish)
5. I hate this class.
6. This class is boring.
7. I am dropping this class anyway.
8. I don't even know why I took this class.

This Just Says It All

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Trick Questions

These are the questions that are said by a student but really mean something else. The following includes the "translation".

Student says: Are we turning this in?
Teacher hears: Are you grading this? Because if not, why bother?

Student says: Is this for a grade?
Teacher hears: Are you grading this? Because if not, why bother?

Student says: How many lines do I need to write?
Teacher hears: What is the minimum amount of work I need to do to get a passing grade on this assignment?

Student says: Can I make up this test?
Teacher hears: Well, since we are about to take the test and you are asking me if you can make it up already I can guess that you really spent a lot of time studying and you definitely prioritize my class.

Student says: When is the last day I can make this up?
Teacher hears: How long can I procrastinate before I have to do something about this?

The Lies

These are THE WORST of all the categories. If you ask me a stupid question I look at you and roll my eyes or laugh. I would much rather take a "sorry Miss, I won't do it again" than a "I wasn't doing that" when I plainly saw it.

1. I wasn't talking
2. I wasn't talking, I was just listening
3. I wasn't talking, I was just gesturing, humming, tapping, etc.
4. I wasn't on my phone
5. I wasn't on my phone, I don't even own/have a phone
6. I wasn't eating.
7. I'll stop eating.
8. I'll put it away.
9. I am working/I am putting it away/I am taking out my stuff/I am... (this causes me more annoyance than anger, since obviously if they were doing what I wanted them to do I wouldn't have said anything to them about it.)

Other

1. Please do not talk poorly about your parents or about other teachers around me. I have heard (from other teachers) students say that they were lying to their parents - telling their parents that they were working really hard in class when really they were not. Also, I don't want to hear how bad you think other teachers are. One, I may be friends with them. Two, I am going to side with the teacher when it comes to teaching. Three, I've learned enough from my own experience that teenagers can err a bit when it comes to something in their own self-interest. Four, I don't want to imagine what you are saying about me to other teachers.

2. Can I vent a bit? I occasionally get girls who ask me to use the restroom. If I say no, usually because this is a bad time for them to leave, they tell me it is an emergency and that it is a girl thing. I'm sorry, but I'm a girl and I don't recall when girls stopped taking care of these issues at reasonable times. Are periods coming on so suddenly now that a girl has to address it at that very moment? You'd think that by high school girls would have this sort of figured out. Of course, when students have figured out that by saying "It's an emergency" they can do pretty much whatever they want, I guess it becomes an easy fall back.

I would love to hear stupid stuff your students have told you!!

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    • Discordzrocks profile image

      Gavin Heinz 19 months ago from Austin TX

      I asked to briefly explain hard water, one of the students said ice. Smart ass