I loved being a teacher. I love learning and being a part of someone else’s learning process. Teaching gave me an opportunity to be creative, coming up with lessons and projects that were fun for me and my students. I miss education and being around other teachers everyday. Most of all, I miss the students and mentoring them. We had fun together, and they did learn something. I am proud to say. If I do say so my snarky self, I had the best one-liners as a teacher. Here are my top 10 teacher quotes:
1. I am never late to class. I am never early to class. Because class doesn’t start until I get here!” - Frequently, I walked into class after the bell rang because I didn’t have my own classroom for a long time. As a result, I would stroll in after the scheduled start time because I was coming from another classroom. A student jokingly said, “You’re late.” A blatant deflection but true nonetheless.
2. “Whatever you’re thinking about doing, I either invented it or perfected it.”
3. “You can’t win. So don’t try.” - This line was reserved for when a student tried to talk their way out of something, and I wasn’t in the mood to entertain them.
4. “I’m the teacher, and I can flunk you.” - A 7th grader tried to tell me they were “the man,” and they could choose whether or not they were going to do their work. He wasn’t being defiant as much as he was just being a smart ass. I showed him who the bigger smart ass was.
5. “If you want my help, ask me. And don’t wait until the day before it’s due!” - I found myself saying this many times.
6. “Okay. Leave me alone now.” - This was used when I had a free period, and a student I had a good rapport with didn’t need help but just wanted to hang out and lollygag.
7. “Do your work. Don’t make me save you!” - By saving, I meant I didn’t want to go to another teacher and ask for a meeting to see what the kid had to do to not fail. As a teacher of English Language Learners, I had to advocate. I only said this to kids who I knew were capable of doing the work.
8. “Shut up.” - If I had to tell a kid more than twice to be quiet. It turned into, “shut up.” No, I don’t feel bad about that. If you got a “shut up, “ you deserved it.
9. “Sit down.” - It’s amazing how many times I had to say that to high school kids.
10. “Okay. Get out.” - Used in place of “bye” or “see you later.” I only said this to students who were used to my sense of humor.
Based on this list, you might think it's a good idea I am no longer a teacher. When I did practice this wonderful craft, I did a lot of good. As a colleague once told me, "sweet is not a weapon in your arsenal." Maybe so but the kids knew they could count on me. I just have to be myself no matter where I am.
Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer