Annoying teachers


Guest post by Theodora Papapanagiotou who has come up with a list of the most annoying teacher habits. Her list is from authentic sources that she researched and compiled from student forums.

Have you ever tried to be an annoying teacher?

Here’s how!!



Have you ever wanted to see yourself through the eyes of your students?

When you read this list you may think that surely these things don’t REALLY  happen in the classroom, especially not YOUR classroom.

But then, why did Theodora find these complaints on student forum threads?

Take it away, Theodora.


Sometimes it is not the language (or the subject) you teach.

It is also the way you react in certain situations.

So, after a little research on students’ posts, here’s what I found:

 1) Blame the whole class for something bad.

Somebody did something bad; he wrote on the wall, he did not do his homework or he made too much noise.  I don’t say we should not reprimand the person who was at fault, but putting the blame on the whole class makes the teacher really annoying to everybody.

After all, we are here to teach and not judge.

 2) Start talking about your childhood, your life, your trips, your problems.

Who cares about grammar anyway?

Well, I’m not saying we should be impersonal.

Of course students will want to know more about us. We are people spending time with them. But spending too much time on sharing your life and not actually teach is WRONG and students don’t really care!!! They just want not to have too much to study!

 3) Be extremely strict.

So strict that your students can’t even breathe because they are afraid of punishment?

Lighten up! You are at a classroom, not a military camp! Students will learn because they will find your subject interesting, not because they are afraid of you.

 4) Be  cooler than a cucumber.

Do students do what they want in the classroom? That’s not ok either!

Too much freedom without any rules is bad. Students have to want to learn, but they need rules and boundaries.

5) Talk as loudly or as softly as you want.

Everybody talks they way we talk, and obviously we cannot change our voice, but we can change the tone of our voice. Too loud is disturbing, but too soft is also very boring and students make noise!!!

 6) Be best friends with your students and follow them on facebook.

Do they have your phone number; are they your “friends” in Facebook?

Do you share jokes?

Well, don’t be.

You are their teacher, yes you care about them but if they feel too comfortable, maybe they won’t respect you as a professional (not everybody, but still these are thin lines we should not cross). And then it could be annoying!!

 7) Do most of the talking in class.

Is it possible that you do all the talking explaining things without letting your students think and make their own conclusions? Do you know how you sound in your students’ head after some time? Ask them things! Make your lesson interesting!

 8) Avoid parents.

Do you talk to them?

If you don’t set specific appointments with the parents to talk about the students’ progress, it can be really bothersome for their parents, most of the times they want to find out how their kids are doing, but sending them messages every day can also be irritating.

9) Tell them that they’re in over their heads.

Some teachers tell their students on purpose that a certain task is too difficult for them to do. This can be really disappointing for the student. It shows that you don’t believe in them.

10) What would your number ten be, dear reader?

This was some food for thought for me trying to improve myself as a person and as a teacher.

I’d love to hear what you think!


Thank you Theodora for your frank, straight-forward look at what students really think and want.

Things that sometimes seem self-evident to us and things we think we’d never do still come to the surface unbeknownst to ourselves.

Just as we sometimes feel we’re turning into our mothers, perhaps we also turn into the teachers we once had, and their subconscious influence trips off our tongues to the horror of our students.

Theodora points out that we all need to take a good look in the mirror and see if our actions reflect who we want to be, or reflect some lazy or hidden weaknesses we’ve never tried to overcome.

What I’ve learnt from this is that:

1) We need to reflect.

2) We need to be honest with ourselves.

3) We need to listen to our students  – deeply and without judgement.

4) We need feedback and constructive criticism.

5) Many of the above issues never really die, perhaps. They are part and parcel of complex social dynamics.

6) Teachers may disagree on teaching styles and approaches, so it would be great if the wider teaching community would comment below on some of the points Theodora raised in her guest post.


About Theodora Papapanagiotou:

THEODORA PAPAPANAGIOTOU is a teacher of EFL and DaF (German as a foreign language) in Greece since 1992. She has worked in various language schools in her hometown, Thessaloniki and with various levels and ages. In the past few years she has been working as a freelance teacher and taking parts in conventions, webinars and online courses, trying to become a better teacher. Connect with her on twitter at @dorapap72 . Theodora is an iTDi Mentor and blogger.

To learn more from Theodora, check out her Virtual Round Table Presentation here:

Watch live streaming video from letstalkonline at


The TESOL Macedonia Thrace 2014 Pecha Kucha Evening

In her interview with yours truly: Brain-friendly English Online Interviews

…and on her blog: Theodora Blogspot

That’s all for now folks, but rest assured that Theodora The Teaching Sleuth never rests and is always trying out something new.



Sylvia Guinan

is an online English teacher, writer and blogger who facilitates professional development online. She uses brain-friendly techniques to help students and teachers around the world. She designs educational materials, develops courses, writes resource papers and publishes ebooks. Her work is the result of much research into the psychology of learning, as well as hands-on experience with multi-media technology.

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