When I was a young, school-going gal there were many things I loved about it and many things I hated. I loved seeing my friends and going to English class and getting things right. I hated friend drama, PE, busy work, homework and little annoying things my teachers did to ruin perfection. The following is a brief list of things I’ve caught myself doing that student-me would be appalled at, and that I’m sure my students aren’t thrilled by!
Not Erasing the Board All the Way
As a student I was constantly irked when teachers would erase the board, leaving just a smidge of writing lingering behind. To me, it was meant to make the teacher look carefree and too busy when the board wasn’t erased perfectly during a lesson. But, ‘it’s right there! no way does she not see that!’ I would think to myself. It annoyed me to no end.
Now, as a teacher, I often leave just a smidge of writing lingering behind. Not to appear chill, but because by golly it takes time for my arm to move back and forth erasing that board and I don’t have time to waste! The little smidgens no longer bother me, but you can bet my students don’t love ’em!
Not Caring When Students Discover Typos
Ah the simpler joys of childhood, like catching a teacher make a mistake. Now, I believe my kids are plenty aware how human I am. At the very least, they know I’m scared of math, have trouble staying organized, and often trip over my words. I’m all for discussing or laughing any of these things off with them.
Something I don’t spend much time on though is praising students who discover Teacher Typos. I plan with 2 other teachers. Sometimes it’s their typos, sometimes they’re mine – all the time I find it unnecessary to point them out. Can you still tell what the word is? Great, then please let’s not lose another minute of time (time is so precious!)
Stapling Papers the Wrong Way
Again – time issue. In fact, it was going around stapling their quizzes the wrong way (with the stapler turned around so that the part where the staple hugs the paper is in the front instead of back of packet) that got me thinking about all the appalling things I do. Little angels, not one of them said anything, but I could see them cringe nevertheless.
Passing Papers Back Late
It used to drive me nuts waiting to get a test or other graded work back. I would ask the teacher every couple of days when I’d finally know my grade. I would think about how insensitive my teachers were for keeping us waiting on our grades for so long after we’d worked so hard.
I’m sorry former teachers. I finally understand. I understand now that I wasn’t your only student and that teaching wasn’t really your only job. I understand that you were a planner, an executor, a grader, a meeting-attender, a detention supervisor, a homework club supervisor, a conflict resolver, a friend, a daughter/son and oh yea – human.
On this one I plead guilty with no excuses. Sure I get a million papers shoved in my face from many different students daily: permission slips, signed letters, parent notes, homework, makeup work – honestly the list is endless. But a great teacher would have some sort of system for this, right? I have a couple but hey, I’ve never been great at staying organized and try as a I might to avoid it, I have lost several student papers this year. Yes, they had to redo them. I appreciate my students greatly for being so cooperative with something so obnoxious!
Not Calling on a Student Who Has Something to Share
As most of the items on my list here, this too links back to time. My students are great – they ask questions and often raise their hands to participate when I ask a question, or even when I don’t. These little 12 year olds are filled to the brim with comments, insights and inquiries. I would love to hear them all, but it simply isn’t possible. It comes down to time and tangents. How much time is this going to take? How much of a tangent are you about to take us all on if I call on you? These are the questions I must ask myself before calling on someone.
Often, my students are stretching their arms so high they may rip off as they sit up so they’re just barely on their seats anymore. In a class of only 22 or so (thank God), they know that I see them. I remember how frustrating it used to be when I thought I had the most amazing thing in the world to share and my teacher would just not call on me! I remember thinking, ‘she/he has no idea what she/he is missing out on and making the class miss out on, I’m about to speak pure gold’ (or something like that).
In my short time as a teacher though, I’ve learned that often when kids are jumping out of their seats to say something it is going to take us on a tangent of some sort. Some days this is acceptable. Most days, we have to pass on their wise words.
It’s amazing how different things look from this, the other side of things. I’m beginning to wonder what other annoying things I’ve done as a teacher this year. What did your teachers do that you couldn’t stand?