Everyone has things that bother them and I’m certainly no exception. Maybe this is specific to every profession, but as a teacher, I feel like I have to exercise a lot of self-control when it comes to my pet peeves. It just seems like I have to deal with them more often than people in other professions. Once kids figure out what pushes your buttons they are relentless. And you can try to hide those buttons from them for as long as possible, but eventually, they’re always going to figure it out and use it against you.
I wish I could say that students are the only ones who exacerbate my pet peeves, but that just isn’t the case. Here are the things that drive me absolutely up the wall.
1. “These ones” and/or “Those ones”
I know I’m an English teacher and so I’m predisposed to notice grammar errors, but seriously this drives me crazy. Referring to something as “these ones” or “those ones” just makes you sound illiterate. I understand that colloquial language is endearing and that you don’t have to speak in perfect grammar. I don’t expect that from anyone. However, that does not mean that you can walk around talking like you didn’t receive any education past the third grade.
2. “We was” and/or “They was”
See the explanation for #1. Don’t let your speech imply that you are less intelligent than you actually are. #sorrynotsorry
3. Playing the blame game
I know everyone is guilty of this sometimes, but some people take it to an entirely new level. Some of my students are the absolute worst about this. Take responsibility for your own stuff. If I give an assignment on Monday and tell you it’s due Friday, but you’re absent Thursday, I still expect that assignment to be turned in on Friday. Don’t make excuses…”But I wasn’t here and everyone else got another day to work on it.” That isn’t my fault. Plus, you knew when it was due well before you missed school.
Don’t complain that a teacher is too harsh because they gave you detention for being tardy just one time. There are rules for a reason.
Don’t come up to me and give me 1,001 excuses as to why you didn’t finish your essay on time even though I gave you a week to do it in class. I don’t care if your throat hurt, I don’t care if you worked late every night that week, I don’t care if your girlfriend broke up with you. I mean, I do care, but not enough to give you an extension. Short of a hospitalizing illness or a major family emergency (a verifiable major family emergency). I expect you to be responsible for you.
I’ve heard every excuse in the book for every late assignment, poor decision, and bad behavior choice that there is and nothing irritates me more than an inability to recognize that you and you alone are responsible for your own actions.
4. Helicopter Moms
I hate even listing this because I’m not a mom and I have no business judging parents when I have no experience. I recognize that. I just want to point out that from the perspective of a teacher, when you insist on micromanaging every single detail of your teenager’s life, you are doing them a huge disservice. These kids are about to be out in the world on their own. You won’t be able to email their boss and ask them to give your kid a break today because they just didn’t sleep well last night. If you ask your kid’s college professors to email you every time they don’t turn in an assignment or get a bad grade on a test you’ll be lucky to get a response at all, but if you do it’ll just be to laugh at you. I know you don’t want your precious little snowflake to door poorly on a test or – heaven forbid – fail a class. But sometimes failure is the best motivator, and if your kid has never had to do anything on his/her own, then why in the world would they be motivated to do so when they don’t have you there every second (i.e. adulthood)?
5. Not paying attention and then asking for clarification
Each of these things in and of themselves is not that big of a deal. Everyone’s mind wanders every now and then. I don’t pay attention all the time either. And everyone has moments where they need clarification on something. On their own, each of these things is understandable.
However, if you are talking, playing on your phone, doodling, or otherwise engaged in an activity that actively prevents you listening while I’m explaining something and then you ask me, “What are we supposed to do?” or some other similar question that proves you have no idea what I just said…then I am going to lose my sh*t. I can’t tell you how many times someone is talking while I’m explaining an assignment and then comes up to my desk while the rest of the students are working and asks a question I’ve already answered. I don’t mind clarifying when someone needs help understanding, but if I know you weren’t listening to me then it’s highly unlikely that I’m going to enable that level of disrespect by helping you now.
6. Being disengaged
It drives me nuts when people are talking while I’m talking to them. Students do it, but adults do it too. If someone is talking to you, you owe them your full attention. Why? Because they’re a person. I am as bad about this as anyone, so I can’t be too harsh here, but it drives me nuts if I’m talking to someone and they are on their phone or fiddling with something or interrupting and talking over me.
Pay attention to the people you’re with.
7. Disrespect to elders or people of authority
I can’t stand it when kids assume that they don’t have to respect adults. That’s not how the world works. An adult deserves your respect because they are an adult. Period. They can do things to lose your respect and that’s on them, but until then the very fact that they have been around longer than you means that you have to be respectful.
There was a teenager riding a dirtbike in my neighborhood once on a day that my husband and I were working in our front yard. We had been out there stripping and re-mulching our landscaping for hours. This kid rode his dirtbike in a circle around my husband in our front yard. My husband lost it and yelled at the kid to get off of his yard. The kid got off the bike and said, “I wasn’t in your yard. Where is your yard anyway?” And his tone was blatantly aggressive and disrespectful. My husband informed this kid that as an adult who owned property, his yard was wherever he said it was as far as that kid was concerned. He was furious and I don’t blame him. That kind of blatant disrespect is way too common and it’s enough to drive anyone crazy.
Maybe a better way to explain this point is to say, “Just be a decent $#*%(^* person.”
8. Talking to me while I’m reading
I love reading. If you follow this blog you know that already. Reading is my way to unwind and escape. If I am sitting in a quiet spot reading, leave. me. alone.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t pop over and ask a quick question then move on. That’s fine. I’m not trying to live in a bubble. But if I am sitting somewhere engrossed in a book, then please do me a favor and don’t come and try to start a conversation. All you’re going to accomplish is me trying to read while you’re talking, which means I won’t be listening, and I’ll be repeating rude things about you over and over in my head just waiting for you to shut up.
Reading is my “me time.” It’s sacred. Don’t mess with it.
9. Patronizing attitudes
I get this all the time. I have colleagues whose ages range from a few years younger than me, to old enough to be my parents. That’s the way the workforce works. I’ve been teaching for four years and I am fortunate to work with people with much more experience than I have.
However, I am qualified to do my job, and the thing that annoys me more than anything else is when someone looks down on me because they think I’m young. I look younger than I am (trust me, I’m not complaining about that), and sometimes people make unnecessary assumptions about me based on that. I have a couple of co-workers who are close to twice my age. We teach the same classes and work together all the time. They are great mentors and helpers and I don’t know what I would do without them. I am grateful for them for so many reasons, but what I appreciate the most about them is the fact that they treat me like an adult. They don’t patronize me.
Being condescending doesn’t get you anywhere, and treating someone – who is on the same level as you professionally – as if they are less than you because they are older is rude. There are ways to mentor and give advice without being patronizing.
10. People who don’t use their blinker
Do I really need to explain this one? It’s there for a reason. Use it.
Trust me when I say, I know I’m just as annoying (sometimes more so) than anyone else. We should be consistently and continually trying to better ourselves. We should always be aware of how our actions affect others. Sometimes it shouldn’t matter, but sometimes (i.e. using your blinker) it does. I’m guilty of some of my own pet peeves. Whether we admit it or not, we all are.
What are some of your pet peeves?