February 1, 2016

(Non) Teacher Hacks

...in my ever-so-humble opinion.

There's so many articles, pins, and compilations of ideas out there for teachers. Things you can do, should do, must do to make your life easier.  "Hacks", if you will.

There's several on Buzzfeed and I usually scroll through the lists for a good laugh.  Today, I'm dissecting this one and telling why most of it is a waste of your time.  When you're a teacher, time is the most valuable commodity there is. That's my bottom line.

I think a big chunk of the problem is that people who aren't teachers are writing and compiling these articles.  The author of this list writes that she likes "shopping and bubble gum" and her hodgepodge of compilations makes my head spin.  Why doesn't Buzzfeed hire an actual teacher or teacher-blogger (there's so many out there!) to write these things?

I pinned this particular article the other day under "Funny" and not under "Teaching" because I fully intended to use it for blog material, not in my classroom. There's a few here that aren't the worst ideas, but I'm going to skip over those.

Here's the waste-of-your-precious-time stuff.

1.  Use Hershey's Kisses and colored dots to put kids into groups.
----I'm not allowed to give kids candy.

2. Or use colored bracelets to separate them into groups.
-----Remember when these bracelets were used to play some weird elementary/middle school game where each color represented something sexual? Kids were playing games with them that weren't school-or-kid-appropriate. I wouldn't hand these out, ever.

3.  Paint chips to make log-in cards.
-----Students have about 15 log-ins. I'm not writing all that down. That would be a misappropriation of time. Plus, Lowe's would love it if I went in and swiped 30 paint chips for something useless.

4. A straw dispenser for pencils so kids aren't searching through the pencil bin looking for the perfect pencil.
---I don't have a pencil bin. I run a rather sink or swim classroom.  If you can't bring a pencil to school or acquire one somehow, I'm not sure what I can do with you, really.  If a kid doesn't have a pencil, I tell them to find a friend who has one they can borrow.  I regularly give out pencils, though, and I do lend them out from time to time.  The last thing in the world I would do is spend time sharpening/maintaining/storing a cache of pencils.  That's also a misappropriation of time.

5. Use binder clips to separate flash cards.
---Really? Use binder clips to....hold things together? Genius.

6.  Store paint in squeezable ketchup bottles and use Starbucks frappuccino cups for painting.
----This would only be useful if you were an art teacher. Where would I store all this stuff??

7. Stack/tie crates together with zip ties.
----I do like this. Crate-cost adds up though. You'd need at least 25 all stacked up. Plus you'd need wall space.

8. Sending a bottle of hand sanitizer as a bathroom pass.
----That's a dangerous game.  Many kids can't even handle the novelty and privilege of a paper towel dispenser.


  1. Haha the last one makes me laugh. Kids and hand sanitizer is a funny combination lol.

  2. Oh yes, I have seen so many of these "articles" full of lists, and so many are unreasonable. I think you should become a Buzzfeed teacher blogger :)

  3. Uh yeah. Very unpractical. And sending the HAND SANITIZER as a bathroom pass?? Are they nuts?! Even with my sixth graders the likelihood of hand sanitizer squirted everywhere is NOT worth it.

  4. hahaha these are hilarious. 'use binder clips to....hold things together?'. and the candy one.. honestly?!

  5. I'm stuck on the hand sanitizer as a hall pass. The hell? How is that a hack or even a good idea? Don't bathrooms have sinks and soap?? I can't wrap my head around this one. At all.

    It seems like all of these are designed to have a Pinterest perfect classroom rather than an actual functional practical one.


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