July 31, 2012

Things-to-Talk-About-Tuesday: Teacher pet peeves

Okay.  There is no polite way to go about this.  So I'll approach it from the "I'm the teacher and, really, it's because I said so" angle.

Or maybe the "I have 30 human beings to keep track of so, seriously, don't buy your kid this stuff" angle.
Walking by the back-to-school aisles makes me giddy.  If you think I became a teacher just so I could buy new school stuff every August, you wouldn't be completely off base.

Just kidding.

I'm went into teaching for the money, obviously.

I have a very specific supply list that I give to parents and students.  And I include the "no-no's" on that list too.  As in "Do Not Bring Them Into My Classroom OR-I-WILL-TAKE-THEM-AWAY" items.

If the school district would give me a couple hundred bucks, I'd go buy all the stuff the kids need.  Parents could save money and I could save myself sleepless nights and heartache (really, it's stressful telling kids what to do).  But that's not how it works. 
My personal pet peeve.

These dumb little pencil sharpeners cause more messes than you'd ever believe.
You would need to see it with your own eyes to understand why they are banned from my classroom.  Since it's made out of 10 cents worth of cheap Wal-Mart plastic, they usually need to be used over the garbage can so shavings don't fall out.  Well, the kids don't do that.  They use it over the floor.  And they use it over the drawer of their desk.  Or they do it over their lap so that, when they stand up, it all falls on the floor anyway.  And if they are smart enough to walk to the garbage can, soon enough you've got a party at the trash can because everyone "needs" to sharpen their pencils.
I tell them to take them home the first day of school and not to bring them back ever.  I usually do end up with a drawer full of pencil sharpeners, because kids tend not to listen the first time around (It's, like, a gift that they have or something).

My other gripes?

The stapler and the calculator.
  "But they're so cheap! Why can't Sally have one?  Her teacher won't mind..."
Think about it.  When did YOU ever (EVER) need a stapler or a calculator in elementary school?  
I'm guessing that was never.  

But because calculators and staplers are so cheap and readily available, parents buy them for kids and the kids, then, store a calculator they are never allowed to use (and quite honestly, don't know how to use) in their desk all year. 
And the stapler?  They will take any scraps of paper they can find and staple that crap stuff together.  And the stapler will jam (because it's cheap) and they'll spend their study hall/spelling homework time trying to un-jam a stapler they never needed in the first place.  It's 97 cents worth of frustration.  
The best is when they come up to me and ask for "a refill" for their stapler. 

 No, dear child, no.

So, teachers, what are your pet peeves about back-to-school supplies?  

(I suppose the deeper point to this message/PSA is that these are the silly things that distract children who are supposed to be learning.  Every day is a battle, guys.  Every. single. day.)


  1. And here I thought you were going to talk about everyone complaining about your having summers off or how the tax payers $$$ is your paycheck so you should shut up about your pay.

    Just kidding.

    I don't envy you!!!

  2. I hate when my students ask what we are doing before class begins! It's like, first of all, do you think I'm not going to tell you? Secondly, I am not going to tell you and the next 10 kids that ask, when I can tell everyone at once! Ha ha!

  3. When I taught high school it was the cell phones. And that was 4 years ago, I cant imagine how bad they are now. *You can not have your phone in class. I know you arent looking for chapstick in the front pocket of your backpack.*

  4. SO true about the staplers! I'm not sure what grade you teach, but they haven't figured it out by 8th grade. They also get into my tape all the freaking time. No, you cannot have any more tape. I also really hate mechanical pencils. I mean they are okay, but why do they all have to have different sizes of lead? There should be a standard size so I don't have to hear, "do you have lead 7? I need led 5."

  5. Bless you for taking on teaching. I worked at a day care for two years and much as I loved it, it definitely tried my patience at times.

  6. Oh. My. Goodness. This post is seriously something that I think only teachers understand! I send a welcome letter with a supply list home to my parents in August. In fact, they're in my mailbox waiting for pick up now...

    With school money & my own, I give kids two pencils, two erasers (a pencil til eraser & a square one), a box of crayons, a glue stick, and store it all in a pencil box. That is in addition to the 3 different folders I provide.

    I specifically ask parents not to send in rulers. (1st don't even know how to measure until mid-year, and they just use them as weapons....), 3-ring binders (Seriously. Your child is 6. They do not have that much stuff, let alone the organizational skills for that), markers (I have markers for them in the art center), and the boxes of crayons with, like, a million colors. All these things do are cause distractions from easily distracted children. And they fight over the stuff. And "She said I could keep this, but now she wants it back...". It's just a day in the life, folks. If the teacher asks you not to send it, trust me. She has a reason.

    I hate those pencil sharpeners because of the mess, but I also hate the sound of the pencil sharpener. I have an electric one, which actually does sharpen pencils. The hand crank one is awful, the kids can't crank the handle fast enough, etc. I find pencil sharpening to be a catch 22.

    Now, since this comment is turning into what probably should be its own blog post, I think I'll end my rant there! :)

  7. I taught HS. My biggest pet peeve was the cell phone, lol. :)


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