Communication in teaching is paramount—so much so that teachers must work diligently to convey information in the most calculated, strategic, and sensitive way possible. Sometimes, that carefulness might lead us to fudge things a wee bit.
Look, there are the diplomatic words you say to students and parents. Then there are the silent but brutally candid thoughts you have stewing inside your brain. And these two rhetorical devices don’t always match up. You’re only human, after all.
For the sake of a few empathetic giggles, let’s take a look at what teachers say versus what teachers actually want to say. Any of this sound familiar?
What you say:
“I love my colleague’s classroom decorations.”
What you want to say:
“Her room looks like an advertisement for Pinterest, and I feel nothing but envy.”
“All right, class. Let’s everyone take the volume to level zero.”
“If you don’t sit and listen to my instructions, you’re going to learn nothing. Absolutely nothing. And guess what? It’s my job to ensure you learn every day, so do me a favor and can the chitchat.”
You say this:
“I don’t mind after-school faculty meetings. It’s nice to work together.”
You mean this:
“If we have to have this godforsaken meeting, can we at least host it at a bar?”
What comes out of your mouth:
“I can’t wait to meet Ms. Stevens at parent–teacher conferences.”
What sits inside your mind:
“Ms. Stevens wants her son to get an A, but thinks he should be rewarded with a good grade without studying. The kid’s smart, but hard work is the most crucial part of the equation. Alas, she’s not going to budge on this.”
You make this announcement:
“You kids have been working hard. Let’s do a movie day on Friday.”
You tell yourself the truth:
“I need to grade. And I don’t want to do it at home.”
You tell them:
“Amy is a joy to have in class.”
You quietly admit:
“I don’t worry that Amy will set the trash can on fire.”
“I look forward to reading your essays.”
Your internal monologue:
“Half of you write academic papers in text message lingo that turns the second-person pronoun into a single letter. The creative spelling choices and refusal to proofread makes me feel a bone-deep sense of dread.”
Keeping up with the latest pedagogical methodologies is all well and good, but sometimes teachers need to focus on self-care. To teach at your best, you need to be at your best.