The older I get, the more it seems as if the little sayings and phrases I heard growing up are falling by the wayside. Every so often my students remind me of this in a truly spectacular way. A perfect example occurred when I introduced an expository essay topic that was going to be the focus of their assignment. This writing prompt for both high school and middle school was guaranteed to grab their attention. They would love the instructional video; I loved the detailed lesson plans, and everyone loves the essay tutorial which takes them through writing an expository step by step. The only thing I hadn’t counted on was my students now knowing the term “pet peeve”. Okay, this lesson will also introduce them to a great little saying.
Now, I had been charmed by the illustration of a “pet peeve” and had used it for the introductory slide because I assumed my students would get a kick out of it, also. Well, we all know what happens when you assume.
It began with a chorus of, “What is that?” and then they started guessing. My personal favorite was from a student who assured me he knew what it was. He told me that his grandma had told him about pet rocks and the illustration was a picture of a pet rock named Peeves. After I fended off the inevitable questions about why we had rocks as pets because “they aren’t alive, you know” I explained the concept of a pet peeve.
A pet peeve is a particular thing that bugs you every single time. If your pet peeve is ridiculous student statements, you’re in the right place. A peeve is an annoyance, and a pet peeve is an annoyance that’s nurtured like a pet— it’s something someone can never resist complaining about.
As teachers, we have more than our fair share of peeves, pet and otherwise. Of course, the ones that come to mind immediately are student centered. So, let’s take a look at Pet Peeves 2018 – Student Edition.
When Students Say . .
- Are you going to grade this? No, I’m just assigning this to torture you.
- You’re the only teacher who . . . Who what? Cares enough to try and teach you?
- None of my other teachers . . . I’m sorry; you’ve mistaken me for someone who would care about that.
- EVERYBODY failed the test. Really?!? Everybody?!?!? Not one person in all of my classes passed it? And your parents believed that?
- NOBODY understands what’s going on. I refer you to the answer for EVERYBODY failed the test with a few adjustments.
- Are we doing work today? No, I have a DJ and pizza waiting for us outside in the courtyard. Party!!!
- Do we have to read this? Of course not. I thought you could just put it on your head and let the words sink in by osmosis.
- Can I go to the bathroom? I don’t know. Is there a physical problem I need to be aware of?
- Do we have to use complete sentences? You do realize this is English class, don’t you?
- When do we get to choose our own seats? After you have graduated high school, college, completed student teaching, and have a classroom of your own.
- You never told us that was due today. Right, I’ve only announced it every day for the last two weeks and the due date has also been on the whiteboard for two weeks.
- I’m gonna call my mom. Tell her Ms. Edwards said, “Hi.”
When Students Do . . .
Now, a close second to “When Students Say . . .” is “When Students Do . . .”; therefore, let’s take a look at some of their antics that can drive a teacher to distraction.
- jump up and hit the door frame EVERY time they go in or out.
- beat on the desk with their pencils like a demented Energizer bunny.
- refuse to punctuate and capitalize
- call you by other teachers’ names
- cheat, and worse, cheat badly
- take 10 minutes to tell me a convoluted story that ends in “And that’s why I didn’t get my assignment done.”
- tell me they are hot and to turn on the air conditioning, but are wearing a long-sleeved hoodie over their shirt.
- hide their phone on their lap and try to have a text conversation with someone.
- come to class with absolutely nothing – no books, pens, paper, brain.
- throw away the essays I spent hours grading without looking at anything more than the grade.
- tell me they can’t do the assignment and haven’t even tried to yet.
When Parents . . .
Now, if it seems as though all teacher pet peeves are student based, let me squash that idea. Parent behavior can elicit just as many, if not more, peeves as student behavior. In fact, parent behavior is more peeve inducing because they are adults and therefore, should know better. The operative word is should. Unfortunately, this is frequently not the case. And so, without further delay . . .
When parents . . .
- call in a furious rage to set up a conference and then NEVER SHOW UP. It’s even better when it happens on a Friday, and you have to worry about it all weekend.
- email you daily to ask about precious pumpkin’s grades because they are afraid to ask the child because he might get mad at them. I am not making this up. She actually said she didn’t want him to be mad at her, and she wanted us to email her every day instead of just talking to her child.
- show up 45 minutes late to pick up their child from an after-school program, because, hey, I’m just a teacher. I don’t have a life or family and would be honored to sit outside a school in the dark with your child while you finished shopping.
- wait beside your car at the end of the day. If the word that comes to mind is stalker, you hit the nail on the head.
- threaten to call the district office because they don’t like a grade their child EARNED. Hey, if you don’t like the grade, maybe she should have spent more than 10 minutes in the class before mine doing it.
- are helicopter parents. Nuff said!
But, this all pales in comparison to my BIGGEST PET PEEVE.
The latest parenting craze driving teachers crazy.
These are the parents who go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle or failure. Instead of preparing their children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so their kids won’t experience them.
This is one of the most disturbing trends in education that I have witnessed. Although these parents are probably well-meaning, what they are actually doing is emotionally crippling their children. These are kids who will grow up never having to face adversity or learn coping skills. They will be unable to rely on problem-solving techniques they should have honed through the years.
Well, there you have it. Teachers’ Pet Peeves. I’m sure I didn’t even scratch the surface, but it’s nice to know you’re not alone out there – feeling peeved.
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