Upper school teachers discuss biggest pet peeves

Wonder why your teacher looks a bit crabby today? You may be aggravating them with a bad habit. This past weekend, Harker Aquila got in touch with 12 of the upper school faculty to provide students with a list of their biggest pet peeves.


DSC_9889“I have 3 basic goals, [work hard, be kind, be prepared]. I try to be very forgiving as much as I can with those, but when any 3 of those things are not met, then it definitely bothers me,” English teacher Thomas “Andy” Wicklund said. “Those are my pet peeves because I think they should be automatic, and I understand that people are still trying to find that automatic. I also know that everyone has lapses, even I’ll lapse, especially with a student who is not prepared and I know that they’re always prepared. Even though I say that’s my pet peeve, it doesn’t matter to me that day because I don’t expect that to happen again.”






“I really don’t like [it] when people are late for an appointment,” French teacher Antoinette Gathy said.







“I don’t like it when students argue the minutiae of the law instead of respecting the intent of the rule,” middle school French teacher Denise Sorkin said. “There’s a difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. I don’t like being lawyered to death.”







“When people don’t put the chairs back underneath the table when they’re done. Like at the dining table, the lunchroom, and the classroom. They leave the table and don’t push their chair underneath the table again,” physics teacher Miriam Allersma said. “It’s minor, but it’s just annoying for the people who come afterwards. Cause now they got to navigate around the chair and it doesn’t look neat. I like things to look neat.”







“There’s tardiness and lack of effort. Because tardiness in the coaching sense, if you’re on the team, tardiness means you’re disrespecting you teammates. Everyone else has made the effort to get here, and you decide that doesn’t apply to you,” upper school varsity swim coach Tania Chadwick said. “Lack of effort [because] your coaches put a lot of time and effort in planning your practices, and for whatever reason if you just really not care about doing the workout, you’re kind of saying you don’t care about your coaches because you’re not even trying. Everybody has a bad day, but sometimes there people that just are lackluster all the time. If they don’t want to be here, they shouldn’t be here.”







“Poor grammar. I’m a Latin teacher. [It happens] all the time,” Latin teacher Scott Paterson said. “I am very passionate about the proper use of the English language.”









Public forum coach Sandy Berkowitz: “People who talk to me on the airplane who want to have full fledged conversations.”

Cindy Wang (9): “Because she is asleep at wheels up and wakes up at wheels down. Airplane wheels.”

Berkowitz: “They didn’t believe me. It’s true.






“Pulling calculators out as soon as you pass out a test, that’s one. Because all a student cares about is the percentage when they do that. And it’s not looking at the test to see what it is you did wrong, so you can improve,” upper school orchestra director and conductor Chris Florio said. “It’s ‘what percentage did I get, what is the class average?’ Those kinds of questions really, frustrate me, obviously there’s other things as well.”





“Eating with your mouth full, it’s just the sound and the visual. That kind of thing drives me insane,” Latin and history teacher Clifford Hull said. “[It does not happen] often, but, there’s the Nightly show with Larry Wilmore, and what he does is he has guests quite often. And then part of his skit is to have people eat, so they will be eating kind of like chicken wings and stuff like that and it’s just, that sound of them chewing and talking and speaking at the same time just drives me insane.”





“My favorite– my best pet peeve is when teeneagers constantly say “wait” because it just seems like a waste of air, ” mathematics teacher Jane Keller said. “And they say just without even thinking, so they are not thinking about what their getting ready to say. It’s like, ‘I’m going to say the word “wait” just so that I can figure out what I’m getting ready to ask you.’ In class, all the time, and we make a joke out of it.”




“The one that really pushes my button is when people do not use my time well. For example, they’ll say, ‘Okay, I’m coming for a meeting with you’ you know, ‘let us have a meeting,’ and then they show up 20 minutes late, ” performing arts teacher Susan Nace said. “Something like that, when I have other things to do. They make comments and say, ‘I need this right away,’ and well, I can’t give it to you right away. I will give it to you in 2 days because I’m a busy person. Musically? People singing out of tune is my pet peeve. It hurts! Since I have music classes everyday, four different periods plus a club, yeah it happens daily, and by the end of the year, it happens less because they’ve learned.”




“When students leave worksheets lying on their desks at the end of the sessions instead of taking them with them, it just sort of annoys me. I guess because they’re not valuing the learning that they could continue to do as a result of those worksheets or those activities,” English teacher Michelle Andelman said. “They’re sort of leaving it and moving on instead of continuing to try go back to things they’ve done in class in order to see how they could continue to learn from those activities moving forward. It’s just funny; at the end of the class session you will often times see a bunch of worksheets that students left.”