Teachers are masters of “the spin.” There are many internal reactions we have in our classrooms on a daily basis, but many times we either bite our tongues or communicate our response in a different way.

“How are you in third grade and still had a ketchup fight at lunch?” becomes “We need to talk about appropriate cafeteria behavior.”

“Honestly, have you stopped talking in the last 90 minutes?” becomes “Let’s focus on the assignment, please.”

“My boss is making me change your grade so you can play football” becomes “I’m happy to give you another opportunity for your best work.”

While “the spin” is necessary to protect our relationships with students (especially in the younger grades), sometimes it can feel soul-crushing to not be able to give students the pointers that we feel they really need. Recently a Reddit user posted this question:

What are some cold, hard truths you wish you could say to your students or that they would learn elsewhere?

Here’s how teachers responded.

1. “Just because no one is calling you out on a behavior doesn’t mean that they haven’t noticed.”

2. “Honestly, the reality of work ethic.”

3. “I want some parents to realize if they keep coming to their child’s rescue, they will be setting them up for a lifetime of failure.”

4. “You can’t act like an a** toward everyone around you and then cry that no one wants to play with you.”

5. Appreciate the kindness we offer here, because …

6. Working through boredom is a life skill.


8. “Your future boss won’t praise you when you decide to show up for the first time in three weeks.”

A response to the comment above illustrating the point:

And another 😬:

9. Being a pro athlete? Probably not in your future.

10. “Learn to be on time. Now.”

11. “Learn how to lose gracefully.”

12. “Stop posting and saying stuff online that will follow you for a lifetime.”

Maybe secondary schools need a Cold, Hard Truths 101 class?

What are the harsh truths you wish your students would learn? Let us know in the comments.

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What do teachers wish their students would learn? Hint: It goes beyond computation by hand for math and leaving out emojis in essays.