things I never learned in teacher school

When I decided to be a teacher,  I really had no idea how many “special skills” I would acquire a long the way. You know … the stuff they don’t teach you in university. The things you only learn once you get into the classroom.

Here is a list of special skills I’ve acquired over the years …

1. All children, at some point or another, pick their nose and eat what their finger pulls out from there. When I see this happen, I don’t even cringe. I discreetly pass them a tissue and continue on with my teaching.

2. Whether I have a class of 20 or a class of 30 students, it takes me only two days to commit all their names to memory.  By the end of the first month of school, I can, with eyes closed, identify each child simply be hearing their voice. My students truly believe I have eyes and ears in the back of my head.

3. I can animate and make entertaining any lesson at the drop of a hat. I’m like a magician pulling a rabbit out of my hat on demand.

4. I’ve trained myself to go to the bathroom twice a day when at school. Sometimes 4 times, depending on the day. I don’t stray from this routine either. It’s always either morning, recess, lunch or after school. Not bad if I don’t say so myself.

5. I am able to find chocolate in the school on any given day and at any given time.  I know it’s there and I know exactly where to find it once my own stash runs out.

6. I can eat my lunch in under 20 minutes and if it’s my supervision day, I can inhale a sandwich in less than 5 minutes.

7. I can turn a frown upside down in a matter of a minute.

8. I can see a parent for the first time and know instantly which of my students belongs to them.

9. I can quickly find a place in my heart for each and every child that crosses my path regardless of whether they are well-behaved or not.

10. I can tell when it’s a full moon without even looking outside.

11. I have acquired the ability to pick out which student has had an accident in their pants and is too afraid to say with the super heightened sense I have in my nose. Note: All accidents are dealt with nothing but discreetness and compassion.

Bonus:   I can be different people all in the same day. A nurse when someone needs a band-aid, a lawyer when settling a dispute between friends, a counselor when nurturing hurt feelings and a Mom when they need reminders to eat their lunch, tie their shoes, wear a jacket outside at recess and  clean-up after themselves.  I can wear any hat, at any time of the day.

How many of you can pull off any of my special skills?


  1. Bruna, I have such huge respect for you and all teachers who have such a passion for their jobs. Thank-you for all that you do for our kids. I am truly grateful!

    I remember when I was a cocktail waitress, I could always tell too when there was a full moon. People act very differently under the influence of alcohol and a full moon!

    • Ha ha, yes! A full moon brings out the “best” in people, big or small.
      I bet you have a lot of neat stories having been a cocktail waitress :)

  2. I have a few of those special skills myself. Specifically the bathroom schedule and the full moon skill.

  3. Kudos to all the teachers for the outstanding job they do!

    but really, you have to share that bathroom secret!

  4. This made me remember my teaching days! It’s all so true!!

  5. I love it, it sounds like you truly found your calling! I’m not sure if I could handle some of those things – but I think teaching is one of (if not THE) most important job out there :)

    • I like to think my job is great. I get to spend my entire day with kids who truly are cooler to hang out with than adults :P

  6. You sound like a real special teacher, Bruna! :)

  7. I think I would have loved having you for a teacher! I’m impressed you remember their names so fast! And I love that you’re discreet about potty accidents. I remember a poor girl who used to have accidents in elementary school. The teacher was so mean!

    • I treat my own students how I would like teachers to treat my children.

      As for the memorizing of names, that just comes from years of experience. It’s a survival mechanism. The sooner you call them by name the more control you have over the class and the better they respond to you!

  8. Finding the chocolate? Most definitely. I know which of my dogs has walked into the room (without looking) by the sound of their paws on the floor.

    • My skills transfer over to all areas of my life. I don’t have a dog but I can certainly tell which of my kids is walking around the house simply by the sound of their footsteps :P

  9. I think I’d love for you to be my kids’ teacher. I don’t think I’m cut out to be a teacher like you. Those are some great skills! :)

  10. I think these skills get honed over time. Mine are a little rusty!

    • Ha ha … yes, another teacher – Deirdre! I can so tell you’re a teacher by all of the cool activities you do with JDaniel :)

  11. You have to be a special kind of person to be a teacher (of any kind), and I am most definitely NOT that kind of special. Thank God for teachers like you, Bruna! I kind of wish you had been my teacher!

    • Ah, thanks Greta :) I had really special primary teachers as a kid. I can even remember their names like it was just yesterday. I always say that it was my experience in school with those teachers that made me want to teach as well.

  12. Soooo sweet. I’d love for you to teach my child! Her teacher this year isn’t quite the compassionate, very-interested-in-her-kids kind of person. First time I actually haven’t liked one of her teachers. It’s weird. :o/

    But it is a good thing I didn’t go into education myself. Out of this list, the only thing I can do is scarf down a sandwich in 5 minutes. ;o)

    • You mean you can’t handle watching kids pick their nose? LOL

      Over the years, I have been pretty happy with my daughter’s teachers with the exception of maybe one.

      Little B has 2 great Kindergarten teachers and I think so too!

  13. There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re the best teacher in the school! I’d love to have had a teacher like you. Except for the eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head part. Mrs. Mitchell had those.

  14. You sound like an awesome teacher. I have the eyes and ears thing down, I don’t tend to need to go to the bathroom very often and I’m compassionate about accidents.

  15. Oh, Bruna, you just melted my heart with the sweetness. You sound like a wonderful teacher!!! Someone I’d like my kids to have :)

  16. Never thought about it but the full moon makes sense. It is also the only day my dog begs to sleep indoors :)
    I used to inhale a sandwich in 5 or under while the cleaners were changing gash bags in the airplane galley. Very glamours… Good practice for my current position as domestic engineer.
    Love your list Bruna, you are very funny!!

  17. 4, 5 – I’m so impressed. 10 – But don’t they act like that all month long? ;)
    You’re an awesome teacher. I wish my kids had been in your class.
    And you guys aren’t paid enough. xo

    • You’re funny. I’m pretty proud of my #4 and #5. When my colleagues want chocolate. They come to me because they know I know where to find it :P

  18. I totally want you to be Donut’s teacher.

  19. I found myself nodding in agreement with your list. I formally taught first, and you hit the nail on the head repeatedly to the bathroom breaks!

    • Ha ha, all fellow teacher can relate. I could have added so much more to the list but I didn’t want it to go on forever.

  20. I don’t know how teachers do it. I can barely spend an entire day with my OWN kids much less 20 kids who don’t belong to me. You truly have a gift and I am so glad there are people like you.

    • Actually, it’s easier spending a day with 20 students in a classroom environment than it is to spend the entire day with my 3 girls. Hands down!

  21. Your students are so lucky to have you!
    Its so refreshing to hear that you love what you do and the kids you teach.

    • I really have a hard time understanding why kids, who don’t like children, go into teaching.

      I think I’m lucky to have students.
      Couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

  22. I’m laughing at the full moon comment! What is it with kids and full moons? And wind!!! They get crazy when it’s windy.

  23. I remember the peril of full-moon day from my years teaching high school. I tell my college students now that because I’ve taught high school, NOTHING will ever rattle me–and I can read any sort of handwriting, because once you’ve taught adolescent boys, you can decipher anything. The list of what they don’t teach you in teacher school is epically (kind of scarily) long: the improv needed to keep a class engaged; the ability to do the name-face thing (scares them, too, because they know we know who they are!); the how-to-pass-out-papers-and-keep-talking thing, on and on and on. And let’s not even start with the part where no one in teacher school talks about what to do when the huge kid who is repeating 10th grade (third time!) hulks over to you and says “make me…” Great list!

    • High school is a whole other ball park. Kudos to high school teachers. I can’t even imagine teaching that 10th grade student who towers over me and says, “make me”. I think I would turn around and run!

  24. Kudos to you, the education system is lucky to have you. I especially like #9.

    • #9 isn’t the easiest of the ten, let me tell you but each child brings to the classroom his own special gifts and they need to be celebrated :)

  25. God bless you…that’s all I can say to you and the teachers like you show love their job. One teacher can make all the difference in a child’s life. Not only that…one comment from one teacher can. I know that in my own life.

  26. Bruna, I knew from #1 that you are a wonderful teacher! I have an early memory of being in 2nd grade in a new school (and I was a Polish immigrant). I had all these insecurities about being different. Anyway, I had a cold and put up my hand to sneeze- and got a handful of phlegm. I was mortified that my classmates would notice. They didn’t, but the teacher did. She nonchalantly walked by me, discreetly handed me a tissue, smiled and walked off continuing with her lesson. No one suspected a thing. She handled it perfectly and I will always remember her. I know that’s the kind of teacher you are. I so admire you and I have great respect for all teachers. It’s a multi-faceted, demanding job. Thank you for your good and important work!!!

    • Thanks Iza :) As I teacher we need to remember what it was like to be little. Kids just want to be loved and feel safe in their world. If someone doesn’t have patience and compassion then teaching isn’t the job for them.

      I treat my students like how I expect/hope that my children’s teachers treat them :)

  27. I am truly amazed by teachers. I don’t know how you guys do it, but you are amazing!

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