There is no other profession on God’s green earth that judges their employees more than teaching. It’s a sad reality. There are many actions we take daily that are perfectly legal; yet we feel at any moment the people in charge are going to write us up for not following the unwritten practices of teaching.

See if you can relate to these subjective illegalities.

1. Sitting down on the job

When an administrator comes into our room, we jump up faster than a husband getting his pants on after being caught cheating on his spouse.

Sometimes our feet just really hurt; we need to take a load off.

2. Grading papers during staff meetings (and class)

Multitasking is a skill, not something to look down upon. But when I look over at my colleagues at staff meetings, they are covering up their grading like they are cheating on the midterm.

3. Wearing comfortable clothes (i.e. jeans)

When wearing jeans or other more casual attire, we tiptoe past the front office as not to draw any attention from the Admin Fashion Police.

Although jeans are frowned upon, they can look very professional when you accessorize them.

4. Not controlling the classroom noise level

If our class is too noisy, we worry someone will think we have no management. If it is too quiet, we worry our instruction is boring. We try to find the magical noise level that equates to optimum learning, but no one knows what that is. 

5. Having another teacher watch our class while we pee

We sprint to the bathroom and sprint back to our classrooms fearing that some major catastrophe will happen in that short time away. To be honest, it usually does.

6. Calling out (God forbid) sick

There’s nothing more guilt-inducing than knowing your colleagues will be suffering because you are sick, and there is no sub. Actually, coming to work sick and coughing in the teacher’s lounge feels a tad illegal as well.

7. Texting in class

If bat sh#@ crazy parents are going to text and email us day and night, we are going to answer them only while we are working. #sorrynotsorry

8. Leaving school right when it ends

“Must be nice to leave this early,” says anyone that sees us walking out of work with the students. I always respond with (trying to hide a sarcastic tone), “Yes, you should try it sometime. Your mental health will thank you for it.”

9. Showing a video

As soon as we turn on the educational YouTube video, in walks Principal Patty with her laptop ready to do one of her formal observations. For some reason, we feel the need to explain, in detail, the educational soundness of said video.

10. Sending a student to the office

There is an unspoken (or spoken) rule that states: “Do not send students to the office too much or you will be labeled ineffective.”

This is very dangerous as our classrooms become our own personal prisons. We need help with the behaviors we are seeing.

11.  Talking to adults on recess duty

At playground duty, Heaven forbid we take our eyes off of the students for one freaking second when an adult comes over. We usually just talk to each other with eyes facing forward and limited expression.

12. Saying no to subbing on our preps

We need our prep time, yet we are guilted into saying yes because of the sub shortage. But, this will only create a greater TEACHER SHORTAGE.

13. Writing brief plans

Honestly, if we can understand our one-sentence plans, they have done their job. And, that excuse about writing them all out for subs doesn’t fly anymore because there are NO subs.

14. Not volunteering to work the Harvest Festival

I’m just going to say it: “Sometimes, our own family obligations are more important than taking on extra duties at work.” Volunteering for everything is unnecessary.

15. Using store-bought bulletin board sets

Some of us can’t whip up hand-drawn replicas of Pete the Cat without it taking the entire school year. Don’t judge.

16. Not dressing crazy on spirit days

There have to be other teachers, besides me, that hate Crazy Hair Day and dread everyone asking. “Why didn’t you dress up?” like you have single-handedly crushed the spirit of every child in the school.

17. Throwing papers away

Who has the time to grade every single set of papers our students turn into us?

*Helpful Hint – Toss them out at home, or you will have students dumpster diving and fishing them out to ask why you would throw their precious work away.

18. Sending a student as a messenger

This is akin to sending notes in class. We send students to warn other teachers there will be a fire drill, the principal is making rounds, or we need some chocolate. It’s the little things that keep us going.

19. Yelling (I mean raising your voice) at a student

We are human, and we lose it sometimes. If anything, it shows our students that we all have emotions.

20. Dissatisfaction with teaching

Toxic positivity dictates that we chose this job and all of its pitfalls for our love of kids. This does not mean that we can’t advocate for ourselves, a fair living wage, and most importantly, respect.

Teachers should not fear judgment and micromanagement for legitimate actions done in and outside of the classroom. Administrators who invoke teacher guilt destroy the working climate and morale.

Abusing the good nature of teaching professionals is really what should be considered illegal.

20 Totally Legal Things Teachers Do That Feel Illegal