Teacher and Teaching Wit and Wisdom
The following is a compilation of the wit and wisdom of teachers and teaching. It is by no means complete. Such things are
always a work in progress (how could they not be?). Some sources used cannot be identified, but I credit the many thousands of teachers who have learned to see themselves in a
different light and find both humor and meaning there. There is also a collection of some of the best sayings and thoughts about the
meaning and purpose of education. If you would like to add to this page, please send
that describes what you have in mind. Please enjoy this and come back and see
what's new on ADPRIMA.
Things You'll Never Hear a
"Our principal is sooooooooo smart. No wonder he's in
"Thank goodness for these evaluations. They keep me
"I'd like to see Red Lobster offer a meal like this!"
"Here class, just put all your gym shoes in this box
next to my desk."
"I bet all the people in our administration really
"Gosh, the bathroom smells so fresh and clean!"
"I'm so glad I gave my phone number to my students'
parents. It makes keeping in touch so much easier."
"I'm also so glad I gave my personal email address to my
students' parents. In some ways, it's better than the phone.
"I can't believe I get paid for this!"
"I think the discipline around here is just a LITTLE
"It's Friday already????"
"Those student teachers this semester really made my
job a real joy."
"I believe that athletics are not getting enough
"We'd be able to educate our children if they let us
teach through summer too."
"Have you noticed that the teachers drive better cars
than the students?"
"This in-service training has been fabulous."
"It must be true; the superintendent said so!"
Be in Education If . . .
the staff room should be equipped with a Valium salt lick.
You find humor in other people's stupidity.
You want to slap the next person who says, "Must be nice to
work from 8 to 3 and have your summers free!"
You believe chocolate is a food group.
You can tell it's a full moon without ever looking outside.
You believe "shallow gene pool" should have its own box on
the report card.
You believe that unspeakable evil will befall you if anyone
says, "Boy, the kids sure are mellow today."
When out in public you feel the urge to talk to strange
children and correct their behavior.
You have no time for a life from August to June.
Marking all As on report cards would make your life SO much
When you mention "vegetables," you're not talking about a
You think people should be required to get a government
permit before being allowed to reproduce.
You wonder how some parents ever MANAGED to reproduce.
You laugh uncontrollably when people refer to the staff room
as the "lounge."
You believe in aerial spraying of Prozac.
You encourage an obnoxious parent to check into charter
schools or home schooling.
You believe no one should be permitted to reproduce without
having taught in an elementary setting for at least 5 years.
You've ever had you profession slammed by someone who would
never DREAM of doing your job.
You can't have children because there's no name you could
give a child that wouldn't bring on high blood pressure the
moment you heard it uttered.
You think caffeine should be available to staff in IV form.
You know you're in for a MAJOR project when a parent says,
"I have a great idea I'd like to discuss. I think it would
be such fun!
You smile weakly, but want to choke a person when he/she
says, "Oh, you must have such FUN every day. It must be like
playtime for you."
Your personal life comes to a screeching halt at report card
Meeting a child's parents instantly answers the question,
"Why is this kid like this?"
How to Tell If You're a REAL
Real teachers grade papers in
the car, during commercials, in faculty meetings, in the
bathroom, and (at the end of the six weeks) have been seen
grading in church.
Real teachers cheer when they
hear April 1 does not fall on a school day.
Real teachers drive older cars
owned by credit unions.
Real teachers clutch a pencil
while thinking and make notes in the margins of books.
Real teachers can't walk past a
crowd of kids without straightening up the line.
Real teachers never sit down
without first checking the seat of the chair.
Real teachers have disjointed
necks from writing on boards without turning their backs on
Real teachers are written up in
medical journals for size and elasticity of kidneys and
Real teachers have been timed
gulping down a full lunch in 2 minutes, 18 seconds. Master
teachers can eat faster than that.
Real teachers can predict
exactly which parents will show up at Open House.
Real teachers volunteer for hall
duty on days faculty meetings are scheduled.
Real teachers never teach the
conjugations of lie and lay to eighth graders.
Real teachers know it is better
to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.
Real teachers know the best end
of semester lesson plans can come from Blockbuster.
Real teachers never take grades
after Wednesday of the last week of the six weeks.
Real teachers never assign
research papers on the last six weeks or essays on final
Real teachers know the shortest
distance and the length of travel time from their classroom
to the office.
Real teachers can "sense" gum.
Real teachers know the
difference among what must be graded, what ought to be
graded, and what probably should never again see the light
Real teachers are solely
responsible for the destruction of the rain forest.
Real teachers have their best
conferences in the parking lot.
Real teachers have never heard
an original excuse.
Real teachers buy Excedrin and
Advil at Sam's.
Real teachers will eat anything
that is put in the workroom/teacher's lounge.
Real teachers never plan
discussions for first period or co-operative groups for 7th
during an evaluation.
Real teachers have the assistant
principals' and counselors' home phone numbers.
Real teachers know secretaries
and custodians run the school.
Real teachers know the rules
don't really apply to them.
Real teachers hear the
heartbeats of crisis; always have time to listen; know they
teach students, not subjects; and they are absolutely
Real teachers keep reminding
their students that the police department does have caller
You know you teach middle school if...
You empty your pockets at night and find
1. two used hall passes
2. one unused bus pass
3. a pencil stub
4. no money (you spent your change in the faculty room
5. a note with a drawing of Satan and two expletives that
You brag to your spouse about how many parent phone calls
you got done today.
Your relatives refuse to attend one of your parties if
"it's going to be mostly teachers" because they all talk
You keep trying those techniques that were recommended by
experts during the latest pendulum swing.
You walk the halls of your building and unconsciously
pick up litter.
You are irritated by adults who chew gum in public.
Your spouse surreptitiously reads the paper at dinner
while you describe your day.
You plan your seating chart so that the short kids can't
hide behind bigger ones.
You have seen firsthand what gum wrappers and pennies can
do to a floppy disk drive.
You write your name conspicuously on all personal
objects, including your car keys, your masking tape, your
textbook, and your chair.
You sometimes choose to pretend not to hear comments that
were perfectly intelligible to everyone else who was in the
You know what your classroom door sounds like when
You have classroom rules about where people may put their
You know what the ventilation fan in your room sounds
like when whirling small objects, usually folded paper or
Your librarian cringes when you sign up your class.
You tell subtle jokes in class just to see those few
smiles of the ones that catch on.
Your class gladly acknowledges that they watch Letterman
and Rosie O'Donnell and MTV but tell you they haven't time
to look at something by PBS during prime time.
You despise Halloween candy, Christmas candy, and
Your students prefer current events stories that deal
with rape, murder, electrocution, and demonic possession.
One of your students writes to Congress (on your nickel)
to complain about some cigarette butts thrown into a local
You still can't believe you allowed yourself to be sucked
into an argument regarding whether Beanie Babies should be
allowed in class.
You know at least three ways to remove objectionable
doodles from textbooks so the next user will not be offended.
Your team goes out for dinner to celebrate the news that
your biggest headache is moving to another district.
You clean desks yourself just to keep the place looking
nice and to help your own morale.
A mother calls to chew you out because you have ignored
her son's project only to learn from you that it must be the
one that has sat on the chalkrail for weeks with the words
"Whose? Is this yours?" written above it.
Your colleagues claim you inspected a blank student
agenda in study hall and said, "Let me guess: All your
teachers have been absent for the last month and a half."
You know you teach little kids when:
You think Freddie Kruger is a new kid in school. (This
actually happened to me)
All of your clothes have matching earrings.
You have earrings for all of your social study and
Your hands are covered in marker.
Your clothes are all dirty or smudged at the waist.
You wear stickers proudly.
You know more finger plays than current songs on the
You have no qualms about going into the boys bathroom
You can fix zippers, usually with a child in them.
You live for the excitement that your students bring
into your class.
You wear flats or sneakers so you can catch those that
At meetings, you are the one coloring or cutting out
Your teacher bag comes on rollers.
A new box of crayons is the BESTEST present!
Assistant Professor of EC
If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as to
continuingly be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of
In teaching children we must seek insensibly to unite
knowledge with the carrying out of that knowledge into
practice. Immanuel Kant
Learning is by nature curiosity. Philo
In seeking knowledge, the first step is silence, the
second listening, the third remembering, the fourth
practicing, and the fifth - teaching others. Solomon Ibn
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in
creative expression and knowledge. Albert Einstein
To live a single day and hear a good teaching is better
than to live a hundred years without knowing such teaching.
Any teacher can study books. but books do not necessarily
bring wisdom, nor that human insight essential to consummate
teaching skills. Bliss Perry
A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single good
action, for one single good poem, accomplishes more than he
who fills our memory with rows and rows of natural objects,
classified with name and form. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting
of a fire. W.B. Yeats
How to tell students what to look for without telling
them what to see is the dilemma of teaching. Lascelles
Here are some actual excuses parents have written in
notes to the teacher or school:
Actual Excuses Written by Parents
1. Dear School: Please excuse John from being absent on
Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.
2. Please excuse Dianne from being absent yesterday. She
was in bed with gramps.
3. Please excuse Johnnie for being. It was his father's
4. Chris will not be in school because he has an acre in
5. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken
off his face.
6. Excuse Gloria. She has been under the doctor.
7. Lillie was absent from school yesterday because she
had a going over.
8. My son is under the doctor's care and should not take
fizical ed. Please execute him.
9. Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing
football. He was hit in the growing part.
10. My daughter was absent yesterday because she was
tired. She spent this weekend with the Marines.
11. Please excuse Joyce from P.E. for a few days.
Yesterday she fell off a tree and misplaced her hip.
12. Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very
13. Maryann was absent Dec. 11-16, because she had a
fever, sore throat, headache, and upset stomach. Her sister
was also sick, fever and sore throat, her brother had a
low-grade fever. There must be the flu going around, her
father even got hot last night.
14. Please excuse Blanche from jim today. She is
15. George was absent yesterday because he had a stomach.
16. Ralph was absent yesterday because he had a sore
17. Please excuse Sara for being absent. She was sick and
I had her shot.
18. Please excuse Lupe. She is having problems with her
19. Please excuse Amanda from school yesterday. She had
perfect attendance last nine weeks. That’s really good so I
let her stay home for a reward.