Things You've Always Wanted to Ask a Teacher?

If somehow someone missed the 500 times I’ve said this before, I’m a teacher now. This is my 1st academic year being paid to be a teacher, 2nd year teaching in a classroom and 8th year tutoring. Wow. I feel old.

So now I can actually answer any questions about teachers that you may have! I’m willing to talk about anything that doesn’t put my job in jeopardy – from what we do in the staff room to what teachers think about students emailing them on the weekend. Plus, why do we give you homework. Anything!

I’d say there are no silly questions, but there are probably some! So I’ll say there are very few silly questions!

Ask away!


I used to be a teacher up until last year, so I’m definitely interested in knowing how teaching jobs differ from country to country.

First question… What year/grade do you think is the most challenging to teach, and why?

Second question… Do you get a lunch break, or do you have to be on recess duty while your students are having lunch? Depending on what school I worked at and what grade I taught, sometimes I had a full lunch break, and sometimes I had to eat while watching the kids during recess.


Damn! Really good questions!

First Question

I’m a secondary school teacher (which is ages 11-18 here in the UK), but I have also taught primary school (5-11) for 2 weeks as part of my teaching qualification and helped out at a nursery. All have their challenges, but I chose secondary because I preferred being able to talk to students in a more down-to-earth way and banter with them! Then, I chose to do 6th form only (16-18) because I hated teaching some of the younger years!

I find it’s always the transition years that are the hardest. In secondary school, that’s particularly the year 8s (12-13) and 9s (13-14). They do their GCSEs in year 10-11 here (14-16) and their A-levels in year 12-13 (16-18), so they’re really focused on that. We expect a lot out of them.

The year 7s are just starting the school and they don’t want to inconvenience the big kids. They’ve gone from being the biggest kid in their previous school to being small fry now, which humbles them. Year 9s are old enough to have “respect” from the younger years, but not old enough that anything they do at school in the year counts. They’ve got no exams and nothing to hold them accountable. so they get really cocky and complacent. It makes it very hard to be nice to them!

Last year’s year 8s sucked, tbh. They didn’t get the humbling effect in the previous year because of COVID. They were in their own little bubbles at school and they weren’t walking around the school to their various classes. So, they still felt like they were the big fish and acted like it. Entitled brats, tbh.

In primary school, the year 4s are quite similar. The year 5s are starting to do tests to get into secondary schools and the year 6s have their SATs so they’re focused. The younger years are busy being little. The year 4s are very needy and they don’t take anything seriously – even their own safety!

Right now, I love teaching both the years I teach. However, I find the year 13s the more challenging of the two. Uni applications and final exams and realising that we can’t kick them out if their attendance is low is not a good mix. Their attendance sucks from September to about Feb and then they realise they didn’t attend enough classes to know what they need to do to pass and the breakdowns start!

Second Question

Every teacher needs to have a lunch break separate from recess duty here! In my previous school, the school would pay for your lunch if you had recess duty. Now, I work at a 6th form so duties are limited. I do 2 hours of duty a week in the library to ensure that everyone is using it with respect!

We’re entitled to 2.5 hours a week of protected time where the school isn’t allowed to make us do cover (and they have to give us back those hours in some other way if they do ask us to do cover. So in my school, if I take cover, they’ll usually let one of my less important classes off that week with remote work). We’re also entitled to at least 30 mins lunch break per day!

Duties have to be voluntary, unless the school is using them to make up your full-time hours. In some schools, you get paid extra hourly for lunch and after school duties!


I have to ask (and this is definitely one of the silly-er questions), but I recently saw a tiktok (oh lovely app that I need to get off of) that some teachers will purposefully put two students near/next to each other if they believe they would be a cute couple, or if they hear through the grapevines that one student has a crush on the other.

I just want to hear from your point of view if you have done this or would do this in the future?

Also, as a teacher, do you tend to know the “gossip” that is being tossed around in your classroom/school?

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I try not to play matchmaker in my classroom in terms of relationships, but I do sit people next to each other if I think they’d be good friends! If that turns into a relationship, I always feel really smug.

I do this because people get so caught up in their friends groups that they could go their whole school lives not knowing anything about the people in their own classes! I don’t mind being the excuse to get students out of their comfort zones when it comes to friends groups.

If I found out a student had a crush on someone and I didn’t think it would interrupt the lesson or their learning to put them together, I’d get them doing group work together to test it before I even thought about moving them! But I’d also want to give the student an out if the person wasn’t interested in them, so it’s a careful balance

I know a lot of gossip — a lot more than the students think I do, tbh! They seem to think I’m oblivious to a lot of things. Maybe they just hope it, actually. They’re not subtle at all, though! And the kids in my form (I think that’s what Americans call homeroom) will just come up to me for dating advice or friendship advice so I know all about their gossip!


They used to put me next to naughty kids to calm the naughty kids down…didn’t really work for obvious reasons :joy: they just disrupted me or occasionally bullied/made me fear for my safety.

I kinda want to know what your stance on this is? Because I’ve heard similar experiences from other people this happened to.


This is a really old-fashioned view of seating plans that’s super gendered and nasty. Would you believe there’s thousands of articles of research on seating plans in school? I had to make my own essay on them based on primary research when I was doing the degree!

Basically, back in the 70s-2000s, there was this view that you should sit the quiet girls or femme presenting students next to the boys or masc presenting students because their demure energy calms the boys down!

I think it’s disgustingly gendered and it doesn’t really work. You can’t ever tell if you’re going to actually have that effect or if students are just going to affect each other negatively

When I’m arranging seating plans, the first view I take is “how close do I want the student to me? How close do I want them to the window? To the door?” And I’ll put in the students where that’s most important first

Like, if you have a urinary problem or anxiety or something that might require you to leave the class quickly, I’ll put you in prime door location. If you get distracted easily, I put you in a place where you can’t see the cute cat out the window and where I can see your book at all times. Etc etc

Then I’ll ask myself “which friendship groups need splitting up and which work well together?”

The final thing I need to consider is that the kids in my school segregate themselves by race if I don’t put in a seating plan! So I like to make sure the class is truly intermingling so that the sharing of ideas is useful to everyone!


I’m going to bump this because I’d love to answer questions (it might even help me come up with a new blog post)

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