Teacher/Student Miscommunication

What the teacher says and what the student hears are rarely the same thing. Here are some examples.

I teach an elective Bible class which is held off campus that students at Parkview High School can take. Recently in class I explained, very thoroughly, an assignment that was due soon. About an hour after class I received a text from one of my students that said: “What are we supposed to do for that assignment?” I simply responded: “Please withdraw from my class.” (In my head I did, anyway.)

It got me thinking about how a simple statement spoken by the teacher can be taken in many ways. Here are a few that I thought of.

Actual Statement

What Teacher Means

What Student Hears

Alright guys, you ready to get started?

I have an amazing lesson for today that will impact your lives forever. Let’s get going!

Let’s talk about some more useless facts today.

Please put your cell phones away before I take them up.

You and your stupid little phone are the reason that you are so incompetent.

Please lower your phones under your desk so that I can’t directly see them. I will never figure out why you are constantly looking down at your lap.

I have an assignment for you to complete tonight.

I am giving you a great opportunity to take what I have been teaching you and learn even more about it! It’ll be wonderful!

Please spend 5 minutes of your class time in another class before mine to complete this busy work.

Do you understand what I’m saying?

I don’t expect anyone to not understand because I have done a masterful job of explaining this to you, but in the off chance you were zoned out for a couple of seconds, let me know if I could help you better understand.

Let’s move on to the next thing.

Understanding this concept is the basis for everything else we do in class.

What I am telling your right this moment is the most important thing you will ever need to know for the rest of your lives. Without it you will literally stop breathing and die.

Blah, blah, blah concept, blah, blah, class.


Someone needs to create some sort of technology that deciphers the teacher’s statements, balances it with realism and communicates it effectively to the students. You could also market this technology to husbands.

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Everett Bracken November 08, 2011 at 05:50 PM
There are approximately 1 million more examples that could be taken from parents and children!
Abelardo Casillas November 10, 2011 at 11:45 PM
What would happen if you try the following: Learn the newest text lingo, and text them your lesson before your class. I assume that at least you will get their attention.
Abelardo Casillas November 10, 2011 at 11:49 PM
Everett Bracken November 11, 2011 at 02:35 AM
good idea
Cheryl Miller November 13, 2011 at 09:59 AM
Call me naïve because I don't have a child that age, yet, but isn't there a policy against cell phone use in public schools right now, or has something changed? I don't see why you can't just tell the kids that all the same policies apply in your class as they do at school, and that includes phones being turned off in the classroom. Maybe a teacher-to-student translation dictionary could help. While you are at it, a teacher-to-parent translation dictionary would be helpful, too. Read my article about Parent Involvement and you will see that we get confused sometimes, too! http://tucker.patch.com/blog_posts/parental-involvement-does-not-mean-baking-cookies


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