Astonishing feats of superteachery

Organized Chaos has teacher talents that don’t go on a resume:

  • Can identify lice on a child’s head with impeccable accuracy, both the eggs and the bugs themselves.
  • Can go for 8 hours without using the bathroom
  • Have Knuffle Bunny, Noisy Nora, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and The Recess Queen memorized.
  • Able to make a parent feel like their child is the most important child in the world.
  • Able to make any child feel like what they are telling me is the most important thing I have ever heard in my whole life, even when they are just telling me that they went to Chuck-E-Cheese (again) over the weekend.
  • Able to sports-cast an all-classroom clean up as though it is an Olympic event.

Kiri at Elbows, Knees Dreams carries on the meme:

  • can instantly tell when a child returning from the bathroom didn’t wash his/her hands
  • can give animated, detailed lessons on how to put a cap on a marker, how to clean up the floor with masking tape, how to pee in the potty instead of on the floor, how to wipe, how to wash hands, how to blow your nose, how it’s not okay to pick your nose, how germs are spread, how to put on your jacket (the Preschool Flip!), how to put your napkin in your lap, and many more

Miss Brave‘s “astonishing feats of superteachery” include:

* I can distinguish between a child doing the “pee dance” who actually has to use the bathroom and a child doing the “pee dance” who’s just trying to convince me he has to go to the bathroom.

* When a child slams his book/folder shut and triumphantly exults, “I’m done!”, I can tell whether or not he is, in fact, actually done.

* I can, on the spot, come up with about 30 more things for children who are “done” to do.

* Out of the 28 children on line behind me, I can tell which one is squeaking his hand on the banister, which one just jumped down the last two steps and which one is surreptitiously whispering to the girl in front of her.

These are edited lists.

BTW, I think a thorough explanation of the prevalence of head lice and methods of eradication should be added to all sex education courses in middle and high school.

About Joanne


  1. Notice how all the stories involve elementary school teachers (at least as printed here), and as always congratulate themselves on what is fundamentally parenting skills.

  2. Joanne, thanks for the mention. I really appreciate it.

    Cal, I’m not sure what you mean. Parents are failing to do their jobs so teachers have to? Or teachers are teaching stuff they should leave to parents?

    My reality is that my four year olds come to me without lots of basics. Their parents are working several jobs, or are uneducated, or are struggling with depression, or have other problems to deal with. So I do what I can with the children I have.

    And nope, my darlings do not know how to blow their noses. Or wash their hands. Or aim for the toilet. I teach them these things out of respect for others (who wants to stand on a pee-soaked floor?) and to prevent the spread of germs through good hygiene.

    Somehow, we do manage to find the time to learn how to discuss books, write stories, make art, and learn math!

  3. Right. I just don’t think there’s anything particularly impressive about it. That aspect of the job can be done by daycare workers or babysitters.

    So why call that “super teaching”, when it’s anything but?

  4. Ha! I can get 28 16-year-olds to do what I tell them. Beat that.

  5. Here are my SuperPowers:
    1. Fighting Dart-Throwers and Under-Miners such as the Cals of the world – VANQUISHED!
    2. Having the humility to say I don’t know it all
    3. Working with adolescents on the cusp of young adulthood, and gaining their respect and trust
    4. Model adult behavior, tights and cape optional as this year’s accessories
    5. Helping my students find their MORAL COMPASS HEAT SHIELD which will protect them from themselves and others’ poor choices

    6. Go to work every day loving the human race.

  6. Kiri-
    Thanks for the opportunity to “pat ourselves on the back” a bit (since others rarely do) in a light hearted way. Apparently Cal does not have a sense of humor. The reality is that while our contracts say our job is to teach the state stndards to our little friends…that is such a small fraction of what we do. And these “super-teacher” things that we do are above and beyond what we are hired to do…but then again if teachers did only what was in their job description, there would be thousands of adults running around with untied shoes, and runny noses who peed on the floor. Oh, yeah, there are, they are all in Congress making decisions about Education and the future of teacher jobs int his country.

  7. Oops I meant Joanne(since it is YOUR blog after all!!) …but a shout out to Kiri anyway for your great commnent!

  8. Cal- you obviously have no idea what it takes to be an elementary school teacher in today’s society. Students come to us lacking basic foundational skills, things that are traditionally taught by parents. In a world of higher and higher academic demands at younger and younger ages, teachers are forced to not only parent their students, but push them to learn things that they aren’t always ready for. I teach kindergarten, and not only do I have to address these basic things like hygiene, but also have to have them reading at what used to be a mid first grade level.

    You say that the parenting aspect of our jobs could be done by day care workers or babysitters, and your right, it could be, but the point is that it’s NOT being done. So we, the teachers, are left to do it in addition to what all we are expected to teach.

    I AM a super teacher, because not only do my students leave my classroom reading and writing and adding and subtracting, but they leave me knowing that they are important, they have value in this world, as well as knowing how to blow their nose, properly wash their hands and how to speak politely to an adult.

    Please don’t bash teachers… we take enough abuse as it is.

  9. By 16, a portion of the students that cause trouble have already dropped out. I get 31 14-year-olds to follow my directions, in spite of their hormones being in a state that is most accurately described as an exploding chemical factory.

  10. You go, Paul! I have a 14-year-old at home.

  11. Kelly and Boy Teacher, thanks for the support and the good humor! Cal is a little bewildering — I mean, this is supposed to be a lighthearted thing. Teachers have goofy, unusual skills that most of our adult peers don’t have. Joanne didn’t post all of our skills for lack of space, but mine include being able to read upside down, recite “Where the Wild Things Are” from memory (and I have done this at a party when I had one too many drinks), and make up a lesson plan on the spot.

    He’s definitely not a teacher; he doesn’t get the teacher inside jokes.

  12. I’ve taught preschool, elementary and middle/high school.

    Those basic life skills ARE important…if Cal doesn’t think so, I invite him to teach a preschool class of three year olds to pee IN the toilet, use appropriate amounts of paper and to wash hands effectively. Not too hard to do with one kid…but when you’ve got sixteen all lined up and you’re in the bathroom alone with them? Ha.

    My super-teacher powers? I can walk UP any slide to surprise the preschooler at the top who refuses to come in at the end of playground time.

    I can keep an entire room of ninth graders silent for an hour long study hall.

    I can convince 6-9th graders that writing is not only something they can do but something they desire to do.

    I can diagram almost anything…music, texts, email…

    I can get up and go to work every day, despite inadequate facilities, disruptive students, parents of students who don’t give a hoot about education and parents of students who think they own me and my personal life; and I can do my best to educate and affirm my students. Every. Single. Day.

  13. Here’s to a string of comments that are pro-teacher. Everything I read these days seems to be the opposite, as if unmasking the numerous bad teachers out there proves every single teacher in the country is terrible. As a new guy in the classroom, it can certainly be disheartening to be given the impression from people similar to Cal that what we do is of no value at all.

  14. Cal is being grumpy, but his underlying point, I think, is that he would also like to hear about the feats that teachers perform (and there are many) that have to do with academic progress. I’ve done my share of non-academic feats in the classroom (for example, saving the life of a child who had wrapped masking tape around him neck many times, and very tightly, and was strangling himself) but I also expected to be judged by how much my students learned.


  1. […] to contribute to this meme. Here are a few I’ve enjoyed reading found at Mommyblips… Joanne Jacobs, It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages, Organized Chaos, Elbows, Knees, Dreams, Miss […]