8 Things You Should Never, Ever Say To A Teacher

8 Things You Should Never, Ever Say To A Teacher cover image

Teachers hear a lot of crazy things every day. Here are 8 things we’d like to never hear again if possible.

1. My child never acts like that home.

We’ve all been in that parent-teacher conference. You call for the conference because this student has been tearing up your room for the better part of a month, and the parent pretends to be shocked. Look, it’s OK. Many of us are parents as well and we know our children aren’t angels either. You don’t need to pretend. Let’s just work together to get your child on the right track okie dokie?

 2. Must be nice having all those days off over the summer.


Every teacher has heard this hundreds of times, but if you actually do the math (and since I’m a Math teacher… I have) you’ll see this argument makes no sense.

The average American works an 8-hour day, 5 days a week for 50 weeks a year, or roughly 2,000 hours per year. Then of course you have to factor in about 10 holidays a year so it ends up being closer to 1,900 hours. The average teacher works 8-hour days for about 200 days a year, or roughly 1600 hours a year. But wait! Teachers routinely take work home with him. Most teachers say they do an extra 5-10 hours of work per week outside of school. Multiply that by your average 36 week school year and that’s an extra 360 hours per year easily, so it’s really closer to 2,000 hours.

So tell me again about that summer vacation we get?

3. Teachers are just glorified babysitters.

I wish! Babysitters get paid $10/hour per child. A teacher with 20 students in her room for 8 hours a day would make $1,600 a day! Multiply that by a normal school year and you’d be paying teachers over $280,000 a year. Heck yeah, with kind of pay, I would love to call myself a babysitter.


4. If I was in that classroom I would… (fill in the blank)

It doesn’t even matter what you fill the blank in with. People, especially those who have never taught before, love to tell us how they would handle certain classroom situations. Sure, in a perfect world you could develop an amazing plan to work with that one struggling student. But when you have 3 ESOL students, 5 with behavior plans, 2 others that forgot to take their medication, a fire drill and an assembly… well let’s just say it gets more complicated.

5. We politicians have decided that… (fill in the blank)

Speaking of complicated…. Politics! Many times educators feel as though we’re at the mercy of legislation that we didn’t have a hand in crafting. So many laws and policies regarding education are being decided by politicians that never taught. Some haven’t been inside a classroom since they were students. Can’t we at least weigh in with our two cents before you pass any more “ground-breaking” legislation?


6. Did you see that thing on Pinterest?

Yes. Yes I did. I have seen all the things. Pinterest is to teachers what catnip is to cats. We are drawn to it, absorbed by it, and hours after we’re exposed to it we’re rolling around the floor covered in scrap paper. But as with most addictions, Pinterest can get expensive in a hurry.

7. Why don’t you work at a job that pays better?

Oh my God why didn’t I think of that? Thank you for such sage advice! I’ve been scrapping by for years when the answer was right in front of me all along! You know, I think the New York Yankees need a new first baseman and that job pays about $12-million. I’ll just go apply there.

Seriously folks, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, we don’t do this for the money.

8. Those who can do, those who can’t teach.

People who think education is a “fall-back” profession are the same people that think teachers just babysit kids all day. They are 10 pounds of oblivious in a 5 pound sack. For educators, teaching IS the thing we “do” because we’re really good at it. We are quite literally molding future generations every single day. We are kind of a big deal.



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David Rode

Dave is a middle school math teacher. He's also a musician, a community theater, dad to two amazing children, and he doesn't get a lot of sleep.

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