Teachers share 23 things they’d love to tell their students but can’t

Some of these things could end up being a service to young people, if only someone would just tell them.

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Some of these things could end up being a service to young people, if only someone would just tell them.
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

To maintain order in the classroom – and to keep their jobs – there are some things teachers just can’t tell their students, even if they want to.

But some of these things, while perhaps controversial, could end up being a service to young people, if only someone would just tell them.

So we asked teachers everywhere to weigh in on the one thing they’d love to tell their students but can’t, and more than 50 teachers shared their insights.

We’ve (anonymously) included some of the most constructive thoughts here:


‘Really, all this stuff you learn is probably not that important’

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Eric Gaillard/Reuters

“What is important is the life skills you learn while completing the tasks in class.

“You learn how to argue effectively and communicate with different types of people. You learn how to listen to others and respond respectfully. You learn so much that you don’t even realize because it seems disguised by homework and essays. But really, you are learning to be independent adults more than you know.”


‘Don’t waste this opportunity’

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Matt Cardy/Stringer/Getty Images

“Please just know that I love teaching and I sincerely want to help you. But I can’t help you if you don’t put in the effort. I chose this job because I’m passionate and hardworking and I know my s—, and I will help you get to where you need to be. But you need to meet me halfway.

“It’s so frustrating because education opens so many doors, and people around the world would kill to have this educational opportunity. Malala was shot in the freaking head for it. And you’re just throwing it all away, and that makes me want to tear my hair out.”


‘You are not your test scores’

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Reuters

“All the standardized testing we do is so insignificant to who you will become.”


‘The world can be very harsh’

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Scott Olson/Getty Images

“You are more than what others judge you to be.”


‘Adults don’t always know best’

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Flickr/mrhayata

“Sometimes I wish I could tell you when your parents are wrong.”


‘I don’t like standardized tests either’

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Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

“They stress me out too!”


‘I love you lots …’

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Captain Ted/flickr

“But I may not like you at this very moment that you’re choosing to act out.”


‘We’re not that different’

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David Rogers/Getty Images

“I’m just as nervous as you are at the beginning of school.”


‘Don’t be afraid to fail’

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“I am here to help you succeed.”


‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

“Your elementary years won’t have a tremendous impact on your academic, professional, or personal paths. I wish you could just enjoy these years of your lives. Have fun – you’re kids!”


‘Be kind’

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Stefano Tinti / Shutterstock

“You’ll regret not being nicer to people that you had the chance to.”


‘There are only so many spots at Harvard’

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Paul Marotta/Getty

“Not all of you are going to an Ivy League school after you graduate.”


‘Tests aren’t everything’

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Shutterstock

“Knowing the answers to a test does not make you smart.”


‘Learning won’t always be fun’

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Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/flickr

“I know some of the things I have to teach and you have to learn are boring.”


‘I’m also addicted to my smartphone’

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“I have to fight my impulse to check Facebook every day.”


‘I respect you and wish you the best’

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Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

“I know that you are an individual with your own perspective and problems even though you’re only a teen.”


‘If you don’t work hard, you aren’t going to get any better’

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Flickr / COD Newsroom

“Parents and students often come to school thinking that it is the teacher’s job to help you get smart – you are right. I can only help. Actual learning can only happen by the students themselves. “


‘I hate homework, too’

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John Moore/Getty Images

“It becomes more work for us to do during the weekends and holidays.”


‘Don’t worry about testing’

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Tim Boyle/Getty Images

“It’s all bulls—. Just have fun, always be kind to those around you, and be true to yourself.”


‘Life isn’t all about qualifications …’

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COD Newsroom/Flickr

“But they help.”


‘Relax and have fun’

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REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

“Elementary school is for fun and learning, and you don’t need to take it so seriously.”


‘You’re not the only one’

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Rosmarie Voegtli/flickr.com

“I hated Shakespeare in high school, too.”


‘Learning is a life-long process’

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Garry Knight/Flickr

“It doesn’t just live in a school.”

Responses have been edited slightly for clarity.