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Uncategorized   |   Mar 5, 2009

The top 10 (harmlessly?) unprofessional behaviors

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

The top 10 (harmlessly?) unprofessional behaviors

By Angela Watson

There are seriously unprofessional behaviors, like coming in late everyday or not having your lesson plans prepared. And then there are…those things. The ones that don’t REALLY impact the kids or instruction in any substantial way. Those behaviors that are, ahem, frowned upon?

There’s been a ongoing discussion on our campus about whether it’s okay for teachers to wear those velour sweatsuits that were popular a few years back. Some of us are passionate: They’re sweats! Absolutely not! Others of us say: Hey, what’s the difference between that and the jeans we’re allowed to wear on Fridays? 

My opinion on each of these photos, for our school in Florida:





  • No (logos are tacky);
  • No (sloppy, and more importantly, ugly);
  • No (although it’d be easier to get dads in for a conference);
  • Yes (occasionally on a Friday).


The whole thing got me thinking about the subtle and trivially unprofessional behaviors that we as teachers sometimes engage in:

  1. Giving an assignment mainly because you want to write about it on your blog. Heh.
  2. Positioning yourself towards the sun during recess to darken your tan.
  3. Talking on a cell phone while walking the class to lunch.
  4. Eating in front of students.
  5. Setting up a book buddies routine (or other combined class activity) so you and your colleague can chat while the kids work.
  6. Always scheduling book fair visits, guest speakers, and other classroom diversions into the time slot of the subject or class you least enjoy teaching.
  7. Turning off the classroom lights after dismissal so no one will knock on the door while you’re grading papers.
  8. Wearing house shoes or slippers in the classroom [this was huge in D.C.].
  9. Having a student fetch your sweater, phone, or keys from across the room.
  10. Setting up a classroom behavior system that involves pizza party rewards because you love Papa Johns.

In the interest of full disclosure, my personal weakness is #2. At least it was last year, when the assigned third grade recess slot was 1:45 p.m. This year, our time was suspiciously changed by administration to 8:15 a.m. Coincidence or conspiracy? I think the evidence speaks for itself.

Are any of these things a pet peeve of yours? What wouldn’t fly at your school? And, what’s YOUR (harmlessly) unprofessional behavior?

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. I will admit, I HAVE done number 1 before… 🙂

    And I don’t know about the benefits of that yellow terry cloth outfit, but I like the woman who’s wearing it. 😉

  2. I do eat in front of my class…because I rarely get a lunch break. I HATE it though, when I see teachers talking on their cell phones in front of their class. It’s unecessary and so unprofessional. I see one teacher talk on it on the way to lunch, AT the lunch table, while on recess….and in staff meetings, we have staff who chat on their phones by hiding their phones under their hair.

  3. Ok, I admit to #4 and #9! Usually, I’m on stupid lunch duty freezing to death when I send a student for my sweater! I try not to do #4, but if I get shakey, I eat so I don’t pass out. #2 is not possible here – we have no recess.

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