10 Most Annoying Things That Waste Teachers’ Time Every Single School Day


A teacher’s life is never boring. They say we make more minute-by-minute decisions than brain surgeons, which partly explains our complete and utter exhaustion. But do you know what brain surgeons don’t have to deal with? Distractions and time wasters! Teachers are constantly getting knocked off their game by one thing after another. Here’s our list of the top ten time-wasters teachers deal with every day.

10. Approving Bathroom Trips

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I’m starting to feel like we have a serious bladder problem with this new generation. My students will run into class as the bell is ringing and start begging to go the bathroom like they’re 10 seconds away from exploding. And once you let one student go, you know what’s coming next. Like an airborne disease, the need to pee spreads to every kid in the class, leaving you with a revolving door out of your classroom.

9. Changing Seating Assignments

No matter how set-in-stone your seating assignments are, there will always be a few kids that try to skirt the system and sit next to their buddies. The first few minutes of every day, you need to go around and make sure everyone is in their actual seat. And even if you think you’ve crafted the world’s greatest seating assignment, within a week you’re going to realize you made a few grave errors that will need to be corrected on the fly.

8. Meetings, meetings & more meetings

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Whether you’re meeting with your entire staff, grade level, subject area, PLC, or any other group you belong to… they mostly boil down to information that could have just been sent in an email. We teachers always have a million things to do, so every second counts

7. Quieting Down The Class

It’s always cute watching new teachers trying to get their class to be absolutely silent for any length of time. Experienced teachers know that our definition of “silence” is vastly different than everyone else’s. Even still, it would be nice if the majority of our students were at least moderately quiet while we’re talking.

6. Sharpening Pencils

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Everyone has that one sound that grates on their nerves, and for most teachers, it’s the sound of a pencil sharpener while you’re in the middle of a lesson. Are they purposely built to be the loudest machines known to mankind? Every time one of those things goes off, teachers have no choice but to stop their lesson and silently curse the mere existence of those pencil sharpeners.

5. Cleaning Up Your Room

I often wonder sometimes if kids realize they have the same effect on a classroom as a small herd of bull elephants. Every time the bell rings and students pour out of my classroom I turn around and see the devastation they left behind. Scattered pencils on the floor, the trash that didn’t quite make it in the garbage can, desks that are so askew it’s hard to remember where they were supposed to be in the first place. And who’s left to tidy it up? That would be me.

4. Re-attaching Fallen Posters

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother. Maybe I should just attach my posters to the floor just for the satisfaction of knowing they’ll stay where I put them. My room design scheme always looks so grand at the beginning of the year. That usually lasts about a week. After that, it’s a daily struggle to re-attach everything that fell off my walls the day before.

3. Lining Up

It’s such a simple concept. “Please stand up, and get in a straight line.” Such a straightforward command that it seems as though anyone, on any level, should be able to comprehend it. And yet with the amount of wrangling it takes to herd a class into this formation, I feel like I work at a cattle ranch. 

2. Questions From Left Field

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There you are in the middle of an amazing lesson. Things are going well, the students seem engaged and you start to see hands popping up all over the room. Clearly they want to know more about this very important topic you’ve laid out for them, so you start calling on students. That’s when you realize you have vastly overestimated the interest in this lesson.

“Are you married?”
“Why does your hair do that?”
“Have you ever been to Canada?”

Better luck next time!

1.  Repeating Yourself

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This is easily the granddaddy of all time wasters. You announce what the class will be doing, you post it on the board, you announce it again while pointing to the board, you may even sing it just to see if it gets stuck in their heads that way. Then you tell them to start and a million hands fly into the air.

“What are we doing?”
“I’m confused!”
“Have we started already?”

So you begin the entire process all over again, including the song. We wonder to ourselves if kids actively ignore us the first 10 times we say something because they know we’ll say it again, or maybe they just need to hear something over and over again for it to stick. Either way, of all the things that waste our time, repeating ourselves is the worst.

I said repeating ourselves is the biggest time-waster for teachers.

I said nothing wastes more time than having to repeat ourselves…. Oh, forget it!

10 Most Annoying Things Teachers Do Every Day That Almost Equate to the Time Spent Teaching

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David Rode

Veteran Legend

I'm currently a Middle School Math Teacher which means I'm also a glutton for punishment. Honestly though, I am keenly aware that Middle School is basically the worst 3 years in the life of a child, so it's my mission to make it suck less. I'm also a musician, a community theater, Dad to two amazing children, and I don't get a lot of sleep.

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