10 Teacher Promises I Can’t Keep

10 Teacher Promises I Can't Keep via @KRenaeP

There are some promises I can never keep…

10. I promise I won’t eat the candy from the treat bucket.

Nom nom nom... I'm eating all of that candy.

Image by Mateoutah

I’m totally going to eat that candy. Unless it’s candy corn. I won’t eat it; that stuff is the worst.


9. I promise I will always be in a good mood in the mornings.

Coffee, you are the best thing that happens to me every day.

Coffee, you are the best thing that happens to me every day. Mornings, you aren’t. Monday mornings, you are especially bad; you are torture.

8. I promise I will always remember to check last night’s homework.

Homework can be tough on teachers too

I’m driving home, and BAM!  I realize I forgot to check the homework. The next day; they all have the homework from the night before- even the ones who rarely do homework. I still somehow win.

7. I promise I will return your graded papers so fast it will make your head spin.

Procrastination is indeed the thief of time. via ChibirdProcrastination is indeed the thief of time. I try to get feedback to my students in a timely manner because I think it is disrespectful to their work and time if I don’t. It just takes me a few days.

6. I promise I will never eat or drink anything while grading your papers. Hence, you will never have to worry about coffee or chocolate stains on your work.

Fitness? More like fitness whole pizza in my mouth!

Fitness? More like fitness whole pizza in my mouth!

That purple stain is just soup. Mmm Hmm. Don’t ask questions. Go sit down!

5. I promise I will never lock myself out of our classroom.

Let me in, let me in!

 My keys are always disappearing on me. I think they hang out the same place all my remotes and cell phone hang.

4. There will be no humor in my class. I don’t smile ’till December.

Cloud pee... hehehe

“Be stern for the first the first semester. Don’t let them see you smile!” This is the worst advice ever. I don’t want to hate the first 8-9 hours of my day everyday. I’m strict with my expectations, but I gotta be me!

3. I promise to only get the substitutes you like.

Not Happening

I’m going to get the subs I like. I’m fortunate to have a list of awesome, hardworking substitutes.

2. I promise I will never get off topic in class.

Nonsense makes sense.

It took me a long time to accept that this is “how I roll”, and I needed to start planning for off topic discussions.  I know which subjects will get us to hemming and hawing, and I make time for it. I try to make it organic; students think they are wasting class time. Little do they know I have masterminded it all! Bwahahahahaha!

I still somehow manage to get off topic though.

1. I promise I will never raise my voice.


I’m not a fan of yelling at other human beings, but raising my voice will happen. On the other hand, I don’t stay mad, and I never hold grudges. I don’t have time for all that nonsense clogging up my emotional space.

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60 thoughts on “10 Teacher Promises I Can’t Keep

  1. I had a blast reading your list. So funny and true. My favorite is #2, getting off topic in class. In general, a teacher needs to stick to the lesson plan. After all, you took the time to think the topic through and come up with good ways to help your students understand and remember it. On the other hand, I think some of the best learning occurs during off topic times. Students are more engaged because you have entered the arena of things that fascinate you and them. Didn’t you usually make better grades in classes you were interested in? The down side of “off topic” is CCSS along with principal drop-ins. Your evaluation scores plummet because you are not following your lesson plan or worse, the lesson plan set forth by the experts on high. Down with rigidity; up with creativity!

    • “Down with rigidity; up with creativity!”

      A virtual high-five on that one. I personally think there needs to be flexibility in a lesson. Of course we have to remain goal focused but not so much so that we are cut ourselves off at the knees. The lesson plan is a plan of instructional action not some edict set in stone.

      Sounds like we are members of the same choir! 🙂

  2. An excellent post. Your last sentence hit home with me. Being the mum of two sensitive children 17 and 12…. My 17 y/o when she was in 2nd grade had a teacher that pushed me to the edge of thinking about home schooling. I SHOULD NEVER HOME SCHOOL!!!!!!! She held grudges…… She then paraded my child in front of the class when she was called out on the carpet. The teacher that is. The 12 y/o when she was in 5th grade, last year had a teacher that was just MEAN!!!! Should NEVER have been a teacher.

    You sound like an amazing teacher. The oldest is in her last year of High School and had four amazing years with some of the MOST AMAZING teachers. As for the 12 y/o we are holding out for high school. Not sure what the high schools hiring policy is but boy the hire some amazing, encouraging, outstanding teachers that want, yes WANT the best for the kids.

    • Sad truth- You’ll find unpleasant people in any occupation. I don’t understand why hateful people choose to be educators. I get teaching isn’t for everyone, but why do it if it doesn’t make you happy? Honestly, my terrible teachers have inspired me more than my amazing ones (most of them were awesome). I know that’s weird, but I have a long list of things I’ll never, ever do thanks to them. I have always been ‘spirited’. I had a couple of teachers who treated me like trash because of it. I declared that was something I’ll never do to my students. I never want to be the example of what not to do. I want to be a good, fair teacher to spite the mean ones I had.

      I hate your kiddos had some bad apples but hooray for the awesome experiences. Your story about that 2nd grade teacher makes me angry. I had a horrible, grudge holding 2nd grade teacher too. She flat out told me she hated me and hated I was in her class. I rewarded her hate with the worst behavior possible. The good thing was she hated most of us so I had company. Kind of sad learning that it is okay not to worry about what some people think of you at 7, but it sure was a valuable experience in the end. Plus, it made me appreciate the awesome ones even more.

      Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate your comment.

      • Renae,

        I agree that the worst can be the inspiration. In another life I was a woman in an all male industry. Car Industry. High Up Management. As I climbed the corporate ladder it was the awful bosses that I remembered and promised myself NOT to be like. I would treat my employees with respect, and kindness. Years later several key management asked me how I continuously got more out of my employees. My response, I never asked them to do something that I wasn’t willing to do. I even cleaned the mens bathroom once. You would never believe how clean my office was after that. I never forgot the person who cleaned my office, the person who made my lunch, the person who filled my gas tank or cleaned my car. They were treated the same as my personal assistant because they were just as important as far as I was concerned. I have taught my kids to be the same. I am glad that you are here to mold those little 4th graders…… Remember the one that is having a rough day, still looks at you with wonder and AWE!!!!!

      • “I never asked them to do something that I wasn’t willing to do… They were treated the same as my personal assistant because they were just as important as far as I was concerned.”

        If I were to sum great leadership up, it would look like this^^^. I’m not trying to be the boss of you, but you could write (blog) a super, awesome open letter about effective leadership.

  3. I totally, actually laughed out loud. How did I miss the episode where Tina Fey ate the pizza like that?? *sigh* Now I’m going to have to go re-watch a ridiculous amount of TV to find it. 🙂 Thanks for posting – going to have to forward to my teacher friends.

  4. I’m a 1st year teacher in China–I’ve never had to yell, but I do have a naturally really loud voice that has come in handy plenty of times! Sometimes the class does like to steer me off topic, and it’s easy to see when they’re doing it, but when they’re interested and initiating conversation, then I’ll usually go with it.

  5. Ha! I loved this post 🙂 You keep it real, I love that. Thanks, by the way, for checking out one of my posts as well – I appreciate that!

    • Thanks. My kiddos probably haven’t read it. Those 4th graders aren’t interested in reading their sweet teacher’s blog :/, but they already know most of it. I’m a pretty transparent teacher.

      I’m not going to lie. I have heard, “Ms. P, please don’t all the candy in our treat bucket.” I’ve heard it a lot.

  6. Stopped by to check out your blog and am so glad I did! I’m a former teacher and ALL of your promises resonated with me. 🙂 I especially nodded in agreement about not being able to stay stern until December. I loved teaching and my students too much not to let it show!

    • I’m glad you dropped by. I just never understood why we shouldn’t share our true selves with our students while still maintaining a high level of professionalism.

      When I’m done and traveling the world, I want to think back an smile at my memories.

  7. High school history teacher 33 years here in Miami. Homework ? For the most part honors students did it but regular classes – 80% never did it . 20% did, but 90% of those were copied with the same wrong answers. Some stole papers, whited out the student’s name and wrote theirs over it. Like I was not supposed to recognize the two different handwriting and different color ink. It was mandated at least one homework a week. Administrators would then call us in asking why so many students received F’s and D’s (for me 60%). If this was so we ought to change our teaching style. I agree with that. Something must not be working. However, a zero a week for no homework equals nine zeros for the grading period which makes it fairly hard to pass unless all the other paper’s were A’s which would hardly be the case. I think I was the easiest teacher as far as issuing grades there ever was. I never used a calculator to add up points and then divide by number of grades. Real good was an A, pretty good was a B, just enough C and if you did not give me a hard time and did something now and then was a D. I don’t think you can get any more liberal than that. Most were 2 – 4 years below reading and writing level and I did not even test those but gave them artsy craftsy things to do to get a C. The ones with poor attendance with no make up done, the truant ones, the ones asleep and the ones that never lifted a finger got their well deserved F’s. Thanks visit my blog.

    • I tell my students that they earn their grades; I never give grades. Ever.

      I love your comics. Is it okay to use them with appropriate acknowledgement and link backs?

      • Yes. Thanks for asking repost and other use. Lesson plan suggestion: I think your grade level group would understand many of my cartoons. Perhaps download, remove color and delete caption and let students color and make original caption. Regards.

      • Oh thanks! My kiddos and I like doing caption comics/pictures in my science and social studies class. They like thinking of something funny while still being accurate. Side summer project!

  8. I’m so glad I came across you blog – I found you through Blogging 101! I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts and this post has inspired me to write one similar (if you don’t mind ofcourse!).
    Loved reading your blog and look forward to your next posts.
    From a fellow (attempting to be) a teacher blogger,


  9. I fully relate to grading procrastination, spilling coffee on the homework, and the inability to keep a stern face until December. The fact that Candy Corn is the worst… I have to disagree with that. I’d be all over the treat bucket if it had Candy Corn in it! 😊

  10. Oh my God, I wonder if this is what goes through my husband’s mind? He teaches high school, but I can definitely see some parallels here, especially on Sunday night. LOL!

    • I bet he can relate. Grading any sort of writing is tough.

      Every year I say I will do better, and I still find myself waiting until the last minute. It gets done, but the process is always harder than it should be. It has been that way since I was in kindergarten. I’m still working on it. I’ll get there…

  11. love, Love, LOVE this list. It is funny and so true! Your images and examples are fabulous and really bring it home. Not smiling never works for me either…just not my personality. Wonderful post that made me smile and laugh! 🙂

    • Hahahaha. I actually had a Dad accidentally spill beer all over his kid’s homework assignment. The kid turned it in and it reeked. Dad attached a note that said “Sorry” with a smiley face. We all gotta unwind in the evenings. 🙂

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