Well, That’s a GOOD Thing for a Teacher to Say — I Think…

Um...Is That a Compliment?  Funny School Discussion!  #teacher #funny #school #backtoschool #teens #son #humor

So then…he slings his backpack on the counter and pops open the fridge for a snack.

“How was the first day of 10th grade?” I ask.

A muffled “fine” floats up from the fridge.

“Oh come on, you gotta give me more than that. I’m excited to hear about your classes and teachers. Can’t you tell me something about your day?”

My 15-year-old son emerges with a container of pineapple — pauses, concentrates — then brightens when he remembers something.

“After class, one of my teachers, Mr. Preston, said, ‘Tucker, I am really glad you are in my class.’”

“Oh!” I say proudly, taking it as a compliment for my son.

Then I think a moment. “Wait, why did he say that to you?”

“I dunno.” He opens the silverware drawer for a fork.

“Did he know you from last year or something?”

“No.” He grabs a water bottle.

“Did he say it to anyone else?

He shrugs. “Nope.”

“So he just told you specifically that he’s ‘really glad’ you’re in his class? What class is this?”



So now I’m wondering if the teacher said that because he was impressed with Tucker’s keen philosophical grasp of theological principles –

or because he was thinking, ‘Good Lord, this heathen’s on the brink of eternal damnation. Thank God he’s in this class so we can SAVE HIS SOUL!’

I’m sure it’s the former. Yeah, definitely the former.

— Darcy Perdu

Original Illustration for So Then Stories by Stefano Marchio

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(Do you agree it’s like pulling teeth to get your teenagers to communicate? Any examples of “compliments” that might NOT be actual compliments? Any odd teacher quotes?)

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29 replies on “Well, That’s a GOOD Thing for a Teacher to Say — I Think…

  1. AinOakPark said:

    It wasn’t until third grade that I figured out that when a teacher told me my daughter was “very social” it meant that she talked a lot in class. There I was, thinking the whole time, “Gee, she gets along with everyone and is sooo empathetic and such a good friend!” Not. She was an annoying piece of work to have in class, distracting herself and others.

    • Ha! “Social” is a great euphemism for “too talky!”

      I had a lot of teachers tell me that Tucker is “very spirited” — I’m guessing that’s code for “super hyper!”

      • AinOakPark said:

        I would guess that IS what that translates to in “teacher-ese”!

        • KAte said:

          Not so much “teacher-ese,” more like “you-can’t-tell-parents-their-special-unique-flower-is-a-talker-and-a-constant-distraction-because-then-you-get-harassed-so-instead-you-say-he/she-is-social.”

  2. K.Haskins said:

    HaHa! You had me at “fruit”!!! Only ONE of my three (as teenagers) would even THINK of looking a piece of fruit in the eye–that would be my daughter. The two boys would rather have a “sweet” of some kind–or a full-blown meal (“When’s dinner? I’m STARVING!”–and that would be at 2-something in the afternoon…)(Sigh)-I kinda miss those days…((sigh, again))! Thanks for the memories–see you next time-keep up the great work, Kiddo!

    • Thanks! My son LOVES fruit of all kinds (but detests veggies) — and my daughter LOVES veggies of all kinds (and detests fruit)! But I’m lucky they’ll each eat something other than pizza!

  3. Judy said:

    In high school, I made some comment about my friend’s granny sweater and she was so offended that she didn’t talk to me for weeks. “Granny sweater” was and still is a high compliment in my world. It means a nice big comfy sweater, like your grandma would wrap around you if you were chilly and had a bad day.

    • I’m with you — Granny sweater sounds really cozy and comfy!

  4. HA HA HA! Totally because he knows that your boy will be the smartest in the class! No doubt! Lisa always cracks me up describing what it is like to try to get a comment from her teen. A lot of mumbling and one word answers for sure!-Ashley

    • I can empathize with Lisa. And teen boys are the worst! We were complaining to some other band parents that whenever we called our son on his school band trip to New York, he’d say “I can’t talk now!” — and he’d basically type one word answers if we texted to see how it was going. One parent said he got only ONE phone call from his son the whole week he was gone — and it was an accidental butt dial!

  5. I so dread this phase of parenting. Even for my 7 year old, it’s hard to get answers out of him about his day. My son once told me that my butt was squishy, not hard like Daddy’s. I really believe he thought that was a good attribute, but man, did it make me eat salad for a week and get back to working out.
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    • Ha! “your butt is squishy” is a pretty funny thing to tell your mom! It’s kinda cute, actually!

      • keyla said:

        I remember telling my older cousin (she was in her twenties, I was maybe about 10) that she looked “as big as a whole house” — she was about 8 months pregnant… I was just so impressed she was making a baby in that belly!

  6. Joy said:

    My now 13 year old son was once described as “quirky” (he was 9). During a parent/teacher conference, the best thing she could think of to say was “well, he’s quirky, isn’t he?” We never did figure out what he did that was so “quirky.”

    • that’s so funny! and I love that she also turned it in to a question like she wanted you to agree with her!

      although to be candid, we’re pretty quirky over here in this family — and weird — and different — we try to embrace it! :o)

  7. Now what if it’s the latter?

    I had a teacher back in high school who looked like an accountant, and was, well, crazy, but in a really good way.

    He carried a seal stick into class, occasionally smacked the blackboard with it, and would go off in asides about not having had his sugar for the day, the evils of baby seals, and the infamous Chicken Story (no, we’re not allowed to tell). Best teacher I had back then.
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    • Isn’t it somethin’? My teen son is the same. You’d think they were secret agents sworn to secrecy!

    • Exactly! Like I don’t have enough to worry about already! :o)

  8. Sometimes it’s best for us moms to not ask too many questions. :)

  9. My favorite “compliment” from my son was when he looked at me, while we were doing his homework and said “mommy, you would be so pretty if you did not have those holes in your face”……They happen to be scars from having the chicken pox lol

    • bless his heart! he was trying to compliment his mama — sweet and funny!

    • ha! Phil, I can totally see a teacher beaning you in the head with an eraser!

      I don’t think anyone uses chalkboards anymore, though — so how do teachers wake up their snoozing students now? Maybe throw a laptop stylus at their heads?

  10. Frankie said:

    I had a horrible math teacher I think when I was a junior in high school. That woman flat out told us that if we couldn’t figure out the work she was not going to let us work with our classmates and would just let us basically “drown”. I hope my daughter (who is 4 months old) would never encounter such a biatch in school. Sorry didn’t mean to rant. I”m glad that your son was liked and seems his teacher is nice LOL