Things Your High School Teacher Wanted You to Know

1. I can hear you.

Really. I’m not deaf. It’s a surprise, I know, given my horribly advanced age.

And you know that I can hear you. How many times have I called you out for swearing when I’ve heard you from across the room? It happens. A lot.

Yet, you discuss your weekend activities at the same volume, while I’m in the room.

I can still hear you. But I wish I couldn’t.

Because I know what you’re talking about.

2. Hallways aren’t sound bubbles.

So, class is over. No more teachers staring you down! Woohoo!

Trust me. I get it.

But know what else I get? Way too much information.

The hallways might be quiet, but it’s deceiving. We’re still around. Trying to work. And we can hear you chattering away.

At best, this is potentially embarrassing if I happen to leave my room while you’re in mid-conversation and you remember that I exist.

At worst, I have to reprimand you for use of derogatory language and the like. Repeatedly. Then you end up in my class the next semester.


3. I don’t give you grades.

You earn them.

So, no, I didn’t “give” you a C+, or whatever grade it is that you don’t like.

I didn’t look at your name on the assignment and pull out my Mr. Burns thinking fingers, determining just how evil to be. I looked at you assignment and the marking criteria. Then I marked it. You know, according to the criteria you were given.

There’s only one person to blame if you don’t like the result. I’ll let you figure out who that is.

4. I’m not a robot.

I’m actually human.

I know, right?

And, like other humans, sometimes I make mistakes. Especially when writing on the board while simultaneously explaining what I’m writing, shooting the teacher stare at your classmates, and thinking about whether I’m supposed to be writing in English or French.

So, laughing at mistakes or rudely yelling them out while I’m still explaining? Uncool.

Politely asking if I meant to write Frenglish or add accents to random letters? Cool.

Because, as a non-robot, I’m not only imperfect, but I have feelings. Real ones. And you have the ability to hurt them.

Now, are you going to hurt them by taking pride in finding my errors on the board? Not likely. But remember that your teacher is a person before you bitch about them behind their backs.*

* See numbers 1 and 2.

4. I don’t actually live at school.

Not that I’ve actually tried napping under my desk, but it doesn’t look very comfy. And it’s definitely dirty.

So, I live outside of school. In a place where I not only sleep, but actually have a life in which I’m not just a “teacher.”

As such, you might see me at the mall sometime. Or the beach. Or a concert. You know, somewhere in the world.

I might not be wearing business casual clothes. I might be carrying a liquor store bag. Hell, I might be (gasp!) with my husband.

I might be, you know, doing regular person stuff.

This doesn’t mean that you have to literally run away when you see me. Because if you saw me? Chances are that I saw you too.

And I’m not the one doing anything weird.

5. I don’t remember you.

But, to be honest, I’ll probably only notice you running away from me for a couple of years. If that. And I definitely won’t know your name to call out to you.

I may not even remember what course I taught you, which school it was at, or what we could even make small-talk about. Because I average 200 students a year.

Sometimes, I can’t remember your name by the middle of the next semester. I don’t have unlimited memory, and, as a human, I don’t have the option of breaking the warranty seal on my brain and adding more.

So if I end up asking you for help picking out underwear or buy an econo-box of tampons from you? Don’t be embarrassed. I’m not.

I just don’t know who you are.

6. No, you didn’t get me fired.

Not that I’ll likely be at your school next year, though.

It takes many years for teachers to get a permanent position at a school, so all of those teachers who come for a year, a semester, or less? You might hate them. You might think that they’re terrible teachers. You might treat them like they’re gum on your shoe and feel like they return the favour.

But they didn’t get fired.

I didn’t get fired either.

Just laid off.