12 Things Teachers Say vs. What They Really Mean

12 Things Teachers Say vs. What They Really Mean cover image

Whether it is talking to our students, other teachers, administration, or parents, we all say things we know mean something else. I don’t remember it being a class in my undergrad, but you learn how to be very political in your responses to certain situations. I think it is just part of being a teacher, or maybe we heard them so much growing up that we think that’s what we are supposed to say. I’m thankful you can’t see the thought bubbles above my head, or tenure wouldn’t even save me. Here are a few things I’ve said over the years and what was going through my mind when I said it.

1. “Good morning class, everyone come in quietly and have a seat, your morning work is in your chair.

What that really means:

Good morning, I’m going to need everybody to sit down and get to work. I swear if you come in like you did yesterday I’m going to lose my mind.  Don’t talk to me before I’ve had this coffee and no I don’t want to hear about the cops getting called last night…wait, yes I do.

GIF - Clint Eastwood holding coffee mug looking disgusted

2. “Repeat after me…

What that really means:

“Please for half a second listen to me and at least let me know you are on this planet. I’ve been explaining this for 30 minutes, give me something.”

GIF - teacher in Ferris Beuller's Day Off "Anyone?"

3. “Thank you so much for making me this cupcake, I’ll eat it for lunch!

What that really means:

“I have no intention of this ever leaving the corner of my desk and will hide it under a stack of paper in the trash when you leave for P.E. I’ve seen you pick your nose in front of the class; I don’t know what you have done at home.”

GIF - Selena Meyer in Veep fake smiling

4. “Class, this is our new student. Make him feel at home.

What that really means:

“This is our new student. I now have to re-do all my class rosters, find new passwords, make new groups, and make 1 more copy of everything.  Show them how we do things and make sure they don’t turn this room into a zoo.  Everything was perfect yesterday, today is ruined.”

GIF man lying on couch crying

5. “Oh I’m going to miss little Johnny, I wish I could keep him another year.

What that really means:

“Oh I’m not going to miss little Johnny at all. You owe me $245.12 for all the wine I had to buy to keep my sanity.”

GIF - Amy Schumer drinking from giant wine glass

6. “Sure, put that on my desk and I’ll look at it.”

What that really means:

“Throw it over there. There’s a strong chance I won’t find it until May, but I’ll do my best to remember what you were talking about.”

GIF - woman with big red afro shaking head no

7. “Thank you so much for the drawing, I’ll hang it up right here!

What that really means:

“What in the world is this? Please tell me this isn’t a picture of me. It looks like a dragon with a gorilla body. I’m going to hang this up as a reminder to me and anyone that walks in here what I’m dealing with.”

Gif - Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love looking disgusted in shoe store

8. “Oh my gosh, it is so good to see you. I haven’t seen you in forever.”

What that really means:

“Oh my gosh I have no idea who you are. I haven’t seen you since you were eight and I don’t know your name. I’m going to smile and hug you hoping you haven’t figured that out!”

GIF - Joseph Gordon-Levitt awkward hug back tap

9. “I don’t mind at all. I’ll get it done before I leave today.”

What that really means:

“I’m wore out and have so much work to do I really have no time at all to get this form filled out for you. I’m going to do it and probably make up a few numbers, but that’s life.”

GIF - Stanley from The Office nodding head smiling "Yes, sure... No problem.

10. “That is so creative, I would have never thought to write about that.”

What that really means:

“I have no idea what you are talking about and can’t read your writing. I don’t think unicorns and Ninja Turtles can save the world from chimpanzees, but good try.”

GIF - Jon Hamm drinking from glass, laughing

11. “Put that down. Get that out of your mouth. You let go of him right now!”

What that really means:

“WTF is going on here. This is not WrestleMania. It is 8:05 on Monday, are you serious right now?!?!”

GIF - Pheobe from Friends yelling "Stop! Stop the madness!"

12. “We are going to have 10 minutes silent reading time. Everyone find a book and no one gets up, so you don’t disturb another reader.”

What that really means:

“I need 10 minutes of not hearing my name or another question.”

GIF Emily from The Devil Wears Prada rubbing forehead in exhaustion


12 Things Teachers Say vs. What They Really Mean feature image

Andy McCall author


This article was written by Andy McCall. Andy is in his 9th year teaching and does everything to honor his little girl, Penelope, who passed last year. Check him out on his Blog or on Facebook: Penelope’s Path.

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