What do teachers know about their students that the students don’t know about themselves?

  • How much they complain. I’d say about 25% of students have a knee-jerk response to complain about everything these days. It’s annoying. Anything I say short of “let’s just have free time” is going to be met with sighs, groans, and complaints.
  • How short their attention spans are. Not all of them, of course. Many students are able to focus on a single task for more than 30 minutes. Many, though, cannot. Students with an attention span of less than a minute are usually self-aware about it, like it’s been a diagnosed problem with them. But students with a 5–10-minute attention span don’t realize just how short that is, and how easily distracted they really are. They think it’s normal, but it’s really not.
  • How they make things more difficult than they need to be. They procrastinate. They look for the easy way out. They try to cut deals with teachers to get out of work. They cheat for no reason other than they just wanted to avoid some work. But, if they’d just sit and do the work, they’d find that it’s not too hard and doesn’t take too long.

What do teachers know about their students that the students also know about themselves, but they (the students) don’t know that the teachers also know?

  • Medical issues they have. There’s a little icon next to their name in the online gradebook which lists all medical issues they have which a teacher may need to know, like allergies and whatnot.
  • When they have a crush on another student, or when best friends are fighting. It’s usually pretty obvious.
  • Incidents with previous teachers, both earlier that day and in earlier years. Yes, Timmy, I heard about what you said to your fourth grade teacher that got you suspended before I even worked at that school. I also know that you gave Mr. Smith the middle finger last period, too. We teachers have a group chat just for stuff like that.

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