It is inevitable that after teaching for nearly a decade that I would repeat a phrase one of my former teachers had said. I am proud of myself for not ever espousing curses on students about their future like some of my teachers. However, a phrase that I hate more than anything came out of my mouth, “When you get out into the real world….” As soon as I said it, my hand hit my forehead. My students asked if I was alright and I laughed to assure them I was fine. I said, “I always hated it when my teachers said that phrase.” I mean seriously, “the real world.” I know it is a verbal attempt to inform young people who their lives will be different after school. Even still, the “real world,” happens to all of us on a daily basis, regardless of age. What followed next was one of the funnest moments I have had with my kids in a long while. I asked them a simple question. “What do your teachers say that drive you absolutely crazy?” Some of them revealed many things that I say, and instead of getting upset or butt-hurt about it, I laughed. We all laughed, even better, we came to some understanding about each other. That’s what we call a teachable moment!
So here is the list of phrases teachers say that my students hate to hear:
YOUR INSERT NAME OF GENERATION, JUST DOESN’T GET IT!
Kids hate this for the same reason we hated hearing it from our parents and educators. Seriously, taking a slew of generalities and pop culture references and applying them to an entire group of children born in an age range is discriminatory. As one of my students said, “Not all of us want a stupid trophy.”
THE BELL DOES NOT DISMISS YOU, I DISMISS YOU!:
Then why is it called a dismissal bell? Controlling much? I have said this myself. It really serves no purpose other than to control kids. Although we all want power in some way, shape, and form throughout our lives. However, does controlling the movements of kids make you powerful? As my students told me, “Why not look at your classroom management and try to be more conscious of time?”
WHY DO I HEAR TALKING?
Because your ears are picking up the vibrations traveling through the air. This one is a lot like the second one. It is just acerbic, silly talk. Why the power struggle? Do you think stage actors stop do this in the middle of a live performance, “To be or not to be…WHY DO I HEAR TALKING!” When teachers learn to ignore a lot of the hub-bub going on around them, classrooms run smoother.
YOU WILL NEED THIS IN YOUR FUTURE:
I agree with this one! Students our smarter than we take them for. They know that they will not use every single skill that we teach them. When I was in school my algebra teacher would try to tell me that I needed to know how to solve quadratic equations for my acting career. “You might have to play a part that requires you to know Algebra.” Are you serious? I have a script that I need to learn. When students ask me why I need to learn history, I tell them that they don’t. I tell them, that it helps to know why our country is the way that it is but unless they want to teach it or become a historian, the only purpose for it is to become a good citizen. If that doesn’t catch your fancy, consider it a hoop you have to jump through to move forward with your life. Other than that I can count on one hand the number times I have used quadratic equations in my own life.
BECAUSE I SAID SO:
This again is another one of those power struggle phrases that get educators caught in a fight that is unnecessary. I have said this only in moments of sheer frustration, and I am always bewildered by why. For example, a child asks why are we learning this? You say, “You will need this in your future!” The child doesn’t really want to know why? They just want to upset your flow of command. They know that asking you why the class is doing something is a challenge to your authority. They know that if they persist enough they can get you to lash out with a, “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” Now the entire class is off task and you have lost command. Using an authoritarian phrase like that only proves you are not in control.
What stupid phrases did your teachers say that drove you nuts? Tell me in the comment section! As always thank you for reading Tales From The Red Pen be sure to share with others and follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Until next week,I bid you adieu!