14 Teachers Share Their Biggest Pet Peeves

 Today, we're teaming up with a bunch of our teacher friends to bring you a fun time of commiseration as we share our teacher pet peeves. So enjoy reading this blog, watching the YouTube video, and sharing your own comments down in the community comment section. And, of course, share it with your friends!
Today, we're teaming up with a bunch of our teacher friends to bring you a fun time of commiseration as we share our teacher pet peeves. So enjoy reading this blog, watching the YouTube video, and sharing your own comments down in the community comment section. And, of course, share it with your friends! Keep on being awesome!
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          Please don’t ask me for a letter of recommendation for that super-important summer internship/scholarship/college app the day before it’s due. I mean, you want a nice letter where I gush about your razor-sharp intellect, inborn leadership qualities, and maturity beyond your years, right? Right. You certainly wouldn’t want me to mention the time I caught you texting in class or discuss your habit of waiting until the last possible moment to get your work done. That’s what I thought. I’m gonna need at least a week.
Laura Randazzo

          Please don't put your head down on your desk during the middle of my instruction!  As a beginning teacher there was nothing that would push my buttons more than a student's head resting on his or her desk.  I took it as a major insult. Then, one day as one student's head dropped to his desk I had a major epiphany.  That single gesture was actually an incredible instructional cue.  He was telling me that my lesson was just not that engaging.  That's an important thing to know as a teacher!  These days I use a head-on-the-desk as a signal for some instructional shake-ups.  When a head goes down, I've been known to do the following...
  • Hold an impromptu debate about what I'm teaching.  Pose a question, have students take a stand, and host a pop-up debate.
  • Have students stand up for a quick stretch break.
  • Get out a ball.  Have students sit on their desks and toss it around as I ask question or share information.
  • Sing my lesson (off-key) which is a sure way to perk up some students.
  • Quickly partner up students and have them share 2 things that they've learned thus far and 1 question that they still have before continuing my lesson.
  • Pass out some colored pencils and instruct students to complete the rest of their work in as many colors as possible.
  • Ask students to pack up their stuff and move to a new seat just for a new view.
  • Plan future lessons that have students moving and transitioning learning activities several times during a single lesson.
Who knew that a gesture that I used to find so offensive could become one of the greatest ways for me to improve my teaching?  Need some more heads-on-the-desk reducers? Check out this post about incorporating movement into instruction and these learning center resources that will surely keep kids' heads off their desks!

          I love everything that you do, but please don't continue to talk when I give you the “you shouldn’t be talking right now look." I love how you look away for a few seconds and then look back at me to see if my facial expression has changed. As you already know, it didn’t change.
          I also love when I give you “the look”, and you smile while still trying to talk to your friend like a  ventriloquist. This pet peeve is something that I will never, ever, forget about you.
          And I'm fairly sure your feelings are mutual toward me.
Teacher Turning Frowns into Smiles

 14 Teachers Share Their Biggest Pet Peeves          Please just don’t unpack your folders and leave your book bag and jacket strewn about the cubby area for everyone to step on. While I don’t mind if you call me “Mom” once in a while, and I do love you and the other 21 students in our room, I am not your mom and I will not pick up after you. Our classroom is a community and we need to do our part to keep it clean for everyone. Please remember to look at all of the steps of our morning routine and put you coat and book bag away…completely…as in not half hanging out of the cubby for others to step on. And while you’re at it, remember to check your folder for notes and choose your lunch!
          I like to think that you students or mine are productive from bell-to-bell regardless of what we’re working on. Every so often, however, there’s a lull in the action before lunch or at the end class. And at that moment, several of you slyly meander to the door - ready to sprint to the next class, cafeteria, or the buses. I understand your hunger is similar to a raging wolf, but I wish you would realize that lining up at the door is only going to buy you a few extra seconds. Then again, there are times I want to be the first one out the door. #letthewolfout
The Class Couple
          I love all of you middle school students, but I don't love your selective amnesia when it comes to certain topics. Fortunately, I can use technology to record, quantify, or confirm what's happening in our room and reduce your excuses. Don't remember what the homework is? It's on the class Edmodo calendar. Don't remember ever discussing that grammar topic? My flipped video is on YouTube. Don't remember my suggestion of what to change in your writing? It's in the comments section of your Google doc's revision history... and it's time stamped to show when I gave you that formative assistance. Creating a digital paper trail gives my voice a fighting chance against the other variables fighting for attention in your lives.
Secondary Sara

          Please just don't ask me to repeat the directions, AGAIN. We know the pencil sharpener was "oh so dreamy" while you stared at it when we went over the directions for how to complete today's lab. And we know that note you traced through the sky as it arrived via "air mail" was soaring high with your daydreams of after school fun times on the bus with so-and-so, which is WAY cooler than the reality of the demonstration of how to prepare a wet mount slide we did in front of the room. We know it seems like a burdensome request to ask you to pay attention to us talking about microscope safety rather than draw a picture of a flower on your lab desk with your eraser... BUT, it really drives us bananas when you ask us to give you a brief two minute synopsis of the lesson we just spent the last twenty minutes explaining in detail to the entire class. Trust us, we know middle school science is lackluster compared to your social life. Believe it or not, we were middle school science students once, too - we totally get it. It's just that, well, we REALLY LOVE science, and we love it so much we want to inspire YOU to be scientists like us. So, c'mon, join us in the class discussion, ask questions about the exploration today, make insightful inquiries about the world around you, and have fun WITH us. We promise to be less grouchy when you have a question about the lab, if at the very least, you look like you're listening when we tell you all about it. Thanks!

                             Your Always Nerdy teachers,

 14 Teachers Share Their Biggest Pet Peeves
          Please don't touch, fondle, borrow, or swipe items from my desk. That is my personal property and the only area of my classroom that you are not granted access to! I freely giveaway pens, pencils, and papers to anyone lacking in another location. Do not touch items on my desk!

          "Can you puhleeeeeze...COVER YOUR MOUTH AND/OR NOSE WHEN YOU COUGH AND/OR SNEEZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" This is not just for elementary students by the way, you should see what high school students are capable of!  We love our students but we are sooooo sick of getting sick! Someday we won't be forced to go to a germatorium everyday and play hide and seek with cooties all day but until then can you give a teacher a break?
          Sometimes I wonder if I am an educator or a zookeeper. There are some days, even though I seem to be in a high school classroom, when I hear the most peculiar sounds in my room, coming from down the hall, and in the quad. I hear peacocks, chickens, seagulls (to think of it, birds are quite popular), monkeys, pigs, crickets, horses, and even an elephant on the rare occasion. You ninth graders can really be quite bizarre at times. Nothing adds more to an inspiring classroom conversation than your throaty toad croak. It really was a phenomenal discussion. I was amazed at the mature insight so many of you demonstrated, but all of it came to an abrupt stop once the zoo came to town. Please don’t make animal noises during class. One day, one day not too soon from now, you will be embarrassed by the purring noise you would always make when we opened our textbooks.
The Daring English Teacher

          Please don't write on my dry erase board unless it is to share an answer, solve a problem, write a definition, or fill in a graphic organizer.
          My secondary English classes are engaged in movement around the room while completing project-based tasks. I usually build in 3-4 minutes of fast “clean up time.” You students are swarming the classroom putting books back, returning caboodles of materials, and storing projects. Teachers do not sit back and watch, we are right in there trying to get everyone out the classroom door by the ringing bell so there are no tardies to the next class (and I don’t have to write anyone a late pass).
          It never fails. This is the opportunity for you kiddos of mine to bring out your “inner-teacher.” I know this because at the start of the next class, I am updating my bell ringer on the dry erase board, and there it is. I don’t know what it’s called. Let’s say they are doodles.  I consider them terms of endearment. In my ten years of teaching, I am lucky. I haven’t received anything inappropriate. Your white board doodles are usually flowers, someone’s first name, our school’s name/mascot, or my name, “Mrs. Knight.”
          Why does this bother me? I’m not sure. I remind you consistently, “No writing on the dry erase board.” I think it’s because I wouldn’t have thought of writing on a teacher’s board without permission. Am I worried that you will take my hard-to-get dry erase marker? All teachers know they disappear. Or maybe I am scared you will write something to raise eyebrows.

          Please don't just cram that paper into your schoolbag. It's important. That's why I gave it to you. You'll need it tonight for homework or tomorrow in class, and maybe the day after that too. But now when you need it, you won't be able to find it. Or if you find it, you won't recognize it in its crumpled state. You'll ask for another copy. You'll tell me you never got one or that you left it at home. I, your teacher, may make you empty out your backpack to look for it, and five minutes later, you may find it jammed beneath notebooks, other papers, and the leftovers of yesterday's lunch (gross!). But to avoid wasting time, it's more likely that I will sigh and begrudgingly give you another copy even if it means yet another trip to the copy room for me. Wouldn't it just be easier to put that paper where it belongs now, safely tucked away in a folder or the correct section of your binder? Please save us both from the wasted time and frustration of yet another paper disappearing into the abyss of your bookbag.

          Please just don't "play stupid."  I know that you're in middle school and you are trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in.  You want to be cool and have cool friends - lots of friends - and you're worried that if you're "too smart" then kids will call you a "nerd" and that is so totally NOT cool.  But here's the thing - people tend to be like those that they hang out with.  That means if you hang out with winners, you'll be more likely to be a winner too.  So really you need to surround yourself with people who have the same values as you do because if you'll pretend you don't know even the most basic things for a laugh or to look cool, you need to realize that you're sacrificing what you and your family stand for.  Trust me, it won't be worth it when you want to get into certain classes in high school, but you can't because your reputation is not one in which people have faith. So here's the bottom line.  Be you and be OK with being smart because smart is the new cool. 

          Please don't ask to go to the bathroom. If I don't have a little fun with this struggle, I might scream in horror, and the lunch ladies will get so scared they'll drop a vat of macaroni and cheese on the floor, which will then cause the entire 5th grade to slip and break their legs, and the school will sue the macaroni and cheese company, which will go out of business, and there won't be any macaroni and cheese anymore. And everyone will hate me.
        So here's the scenario:
        Student: "Can I go to the bathroom?"
        Me: "Well...I certainly hope so. I will pray for you."
        Student, trying again: "Is it possible for me to go to the bathroom?"  
        Me: I look down. Close my eyes. Sigh. "No. There is. No. Way."
        I breathe deeply: "Legend has it there was once a way to go to the bathroom. Long ago, there was a teacher who knew the secrets of the bathroom. But that teacher went far away to a strange, ancient land called Boca, never to return. She took with her...the secret of the bathroom..."
       There you have it. Your macaroni and cheese is safe. You're welcome.

          Please don't tell me I'm wrong. Now before you get the wrong idea, let me be the first to confess that I'm wrong . . . often. But you're in no place to TELL me I'm wrong. You might think you know. You even think you know that you know. But you don't know. Okay, sometimes, you know. But "telling" is not the way you want to go about things. See, you're not an elder yet, so you don't get to tell people things very often. Plus, isn't your goal for us to admit that you're right, get us to change our minds, and tell the whole class what a great idea you just had?! The best way to do that is not through telling. It's through asking. So ask. Ask away. Ask as much as you want. Ask with a humble heart that really wants to know if the knowledge you think you know is true or not. Trust me on this one. Your teachers will love you for your thoughtful, caring, intelligent mind. After all, we're created for learning too.


  1. PLEASE do not come to me at the end of the day and say, "I am going away for a week- I need the work that I will miss". Or better yet, don't come to me all tanned after you have been away for a week and ask "what did I miss". It is like nails on a chalk board and takes every ounce of my professionalism to keep it together!

  2. Totally, right?! No, we stopped everything and waited until you came back to join us. :)


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