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12 Annoying Questions From Students That Drive Teachers Completely Crazy


12 Annoying Questions From Students That Drive Teachers Completely Crazy

Teachers love inquisitive students. We encourage curiosity and celebrate kids who seek answers to tough questions. Still, there are some questions students ask that make us want to jab ourselves in the ear with a #2 pencil. 

1. Are we doing anything today?

As if there is ever a day when we are doing absolutely nothing. When a student asks this, what they are really asking is “What are we doing today?” which is equally annoying because no teacher wants to verbalize the day’s lesson to half a dozen students before the second bell even rings. So the answer to this question is always, “You’ll find out when class starts—just like everyone else.” 

2. Did we do anything while I was gone yesterday?

“No, we just sat around and cried because you weren’t here.” But since sarcasm is lost on some students, that answer has to be clarified with, “Just kidding, we were very busy. But please see me when I’m not in the middle of today’s lesson to ask about what we did yesterday.” 

3. Is this for a grade?

The student who asks this question is definitely trying to figure out how much (if any) effort to put into the assignment. 

4. Are you gonna count off for spelling (incomplete sentences? handwriting? single spacing?)

This seems like a reasonable question, but most teachers have a standard policy about these things. Either they do or do not count off for spelling. They do or do not expect answers to be in complete sentences. This policy is usually well established within the first week of school. So, when a kid asks a question halfway through the school year about how a typical assignment or quiz will be graded, the best answer is usually, “Yes, I count off for everything.” And then let them figure it out from there. 

5. Can we just have a free day?

To be clear, no teacher in the history of the world has ever been swayed by this question. Either there is work to be done and we need to get busy, or it’s Saturday. 

6. Can we have class outside?

This seems like a reasonable question. After all, it’s spring. The weather is lovely. But if the lesson is conducive to outdoor learning, you can bet that the teacher who has been stuck inside all winter with a bunch of kids has already thought of it. 

7. Why do we have to know this?

The simple answer is, “Teachers enjoy torturing kids by making them spend hours on pointless activities instead of just going outside or having a free day. We take a whole course on it in teacher college.” The real answer is much more complicated and involves things like higher-order thinking and brain development. Kids do not want the real answer. 

8. Did you paint your nails a different color?

This seems like pleasant small talk or even a thoughtful question from a detail-oriented student. But a question like this almost always comes after a brilliant and inspiring discussion about literary symbolism or the wonders of photosynthesis and is the response to, “So, does anyone have any questions?” 

9. Huh? Oh ummm, what was the question?

This response is frustrating for two possible reasons. 1. The student was completely zoned out and just missed your totally brilliant and inspiring discussion about literary symbolism or the wonders of photosynthesis. Or 2. Said student is stalling and is making you repeat the question in the hopes that the answer will somehow suddenly come to her. 

10. What’s for lunch today?

See that menu—there, where I’ve been posting the week’s menu since the first day of school?” Of course, this clear, straightforward answer is usually followed by a second question, “Yeah, but what day is it?” 

11. Can I text my mom back?

“Oh, little Apple! If the tree from which you so obviously fell needs to reach you, she should call the office—as is clearly stated in the parent handbook.” 

12. You should give us extra credit.

Okay, technically this is not a question, but that’s what makes it so maddening. Apparently, for kids, “You should…” has replaced “Will you please…” or “May I…” as a form of request. Other popular directives from students include things like, “You should let us have extra recess.” “ You should take us to the bookfair.” And “You should bring us treats for the last day of school.” 

Teachers answer approximately one zillion questions every day. And for the most part, we welcome these. It’s why we are here—to shape young minds and guide young intellects. Unfortunately, in the process, we have to field a whole lot of questions that do neither but that do drive us totally crazy! 

Come join the conversation in our #teacherlife community!

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12 Annoying Questions From Students That Drive Teachers Completely Crazy

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Laura Hudgens

Veteran Member

Laura has taught ELA and communication in grades 6-12. She also enjoys writing and taking care of her little flock of chickens. Her little flock of children have all grown or are mostly grown, but she still enjoys taking care of them too.

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