13 Popular Sayings You Should Avoid as a Teacher

After many years on the job, many teachers can recall phrases that they regret saying to their students. Today, not only are numerous teachers still saying these things, but many are unaware that they are causing harm to their students. These regretful phrases may influence students’ motivation and affect them in a negative way, which impacts how well teachers can manage their classrooms.

Here are 13 common sayings that teachers reported to later regret, and why they should be avoided at all costs:

“You have potential that you do not use.”

This insults students when they hear it. It works 50-50 in that some will gain motivation to work harder, while others lose it completely. Instead, educators should ask students what they think will help them.

“I am disappointed in you.”

As a teacher, disappointments are inevitable. Whenever a teacher uses this phrase, it judges a student based on the past. Instead, teachers should look into the future and be more encouraging.

“What did you say?”

This phrase commonly applies after discussing a student’s negative behavior, when the child seems to whisper something after you start walking away. It’s an antagonistic phrase. Rather than cause escalation, just ignore the alleged “comeback” and move on.

“If I do it for you, I will have to do it for everyone.”

As an educator, you must understand that your students are not the same. Some of them will require extra assistance. Provide it, and if not possible, politely explain why you cannot help them.

This is against the rules.”

Rather than stopping your students dead in their tracks, devise a better way of trying to accomplish their goals. For instance, tell them you will try and solve their problem without bending the rules.

“Your sister/brother was better than you.”

Comparing a child to another student, let alone a sibling, is the best way of killing their esteem.

“I like the way Dan is sitting.”

If your intention is to tell the class to act in a particular way, tell them directly. Manipulation just causes more harm.

“You will never amount to much.”

Apart from being an insult, this phrase is usually completely wrong. How many successful people have been told this at some point in their lives?

“Who do you think you are?”

This phrase indirectly tells students that they are not as important as you are.

“Do you ever stop talking?”

Sarcasm might be appropriate in some cases, but not in the classroom.. Ask the child to stop talking without being snide.

“I am busy right now.”

Understand that when children come to you, they need your attention. Therefore, do not dismiss them abruptly. Show them that you care by scheduling a better time to talk.

“You will all suffer _____ unless one of you admits to _____.”

The above phrase represents collective punishment, which is never appropriate. Collective punishment makes innocent students suffer, which in turn, leads them to believe that they will endure negative consequences regardless of their actions. It does not promote individual responsibility, which is essential for children to learn.

“What’s wrong with you?”

This phrase adds up to an insult apart from perceiving of the students as impaired or imperfect. Everyone, the teacher included, has flaws. In some cases, a student may be suffering emotionally, and such comments worsen their plight. This is one of those questions that does not have an answer; therefore, find the problem then seek the answers to help the student.

Teachers will inevitably get frustrated with many things in the classroom. However, they should not take their frustrations out on their students. Although the occasional mishap will probably not affect the average student, children are less likely to forgive teachers with whom they have no trust. Therefore, although student-teacher conflicts may be common, educators should avoid things that they already know can cause long-term damage.

This article originally found at: 13 Common Sayings to Avoid


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