15 Words Teachers Officially Never Want to Hear Again

Looking at you, “rigor.”

words teachers never want to hear

Every discipline has its share of jargon, and some of that is certainly necessary. But is it just me, or is education a little out of control? There are plenty of phrases that don’t make any sense outside of an education context (or occasionally, not even in one), and the use of acronyms is, in my opinion, egregious. (“Are you DIBELing today?”) And then there are just some words that drive you nuts. Therefore, I give you my (by no means exhaustive) list of words teachers never want to hear again.

“Synchronous/Asynchronous”

Ah, COVID-19. The gift that keeps on giving. I mean, I get that we need words to convey whether learning is happening in real-time or self-paced, but do they have to be so … multisyllabic? I swear if I hear either one again, I will lose my ever-loving mind.

“Pivot”

I cannot hear “pivot” and not have Ross Gellar echoing in my ears. And it’s extra painful because I know it means I’m going to have to throw out everything I did and start all over again.

“Transparent”

This word gives me a serious case of “I don’t believe you.”

“Friends”

I’m probably going to offend some people here, but I can’t get on board with calling my students “friends.” I’m sure you all have your own opinions around addressing students. In the great wide world of teachers, there are plenty of people who hate “kiddos, “scholars,” and “pupils.” So there. 

“Rigor”

Look, I realize that it’s important for educational experiences to be intellectually challenging, but I think we’ve taken it a bit too far. (Don’t get me started on rigor in kindergarten.) And maybe I watch too many crime procedural shows, but this word just makes me think of dead bodies.

“Robust”

Honestly, this one just gives me a fit of giggles. I feel like it’s the educational equivalent of “moist.” I know it can mean anything from hardy and vigorous to strong and effective. In any case, I’m much more likely to use it to describe wine than a curriculum or approach. 

“Pedagogy”

This term refers to the theory and practice of teaching. It’s the stuff of teachers’ daily lives. But dare I say it’s also a tad pretentious? Like, let’s just call it teaching, no?

“Unpack”

Um, can my standards just come unpacked in the first place?

“Intentional”

Oh, I’m so glad you told me because I’ve been doing all this teaching accidentally

“Fidelity”

It gets thrown around all the time and much to our collective chagrin because nothing says “we don’t trust teachers” like the word “fidelity.” Look, I get that a research-based program won’t be as effective if we step too far away from its original design. But we also deserve to have our professional development respected if we need to adapt to the needs of our students.

“Data-driven”

Let’s take a “deeper dive” while we’re at it.

“Cohort”

Dude, it’s just a group.

“Staffulty”

I know! Let’s take two words and make a non-word! Hanitizer, craftivity, and the granddaddy of them all: gymacafetorium.

“Table”

As in, I’m going to put a pin in this or put it in the parking lot. That’s eduspeak for we’re never going to get to it.

“Sticktoitiveness”

Of all the words I hate, it’s the words that aren’t words that I hate the most. Especially when there’s an actual existing word that means the same thing. “Tenacity,” anyone?

What education-specific words are you tired of? Come share in our Facebook group, WeAreTeachers HELPLINE!

Plus, 8 Private Things That Totally Aren’t Private When You’re a Teacher.

15 Words Teachers Officially Never Want to Hear Again

Posted by Kimmie Fink

Kimmie is an editor at WeAreTeachers. She has 13 years of classroom teaching experience and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

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