Michael Scott may be a delusional, socially inept narcissist, but sandwiched between his racist or sexist comments and “That’s what she said” jokes are gems of misguided wisdom and raw emotion that anyone, but especially teachers (read: fellow circus ringleaders), can appreciate.
For those days when your classroom feels more like the dysfunctional Dunder Mifflin, here are 20 times Michael unknowingly articulated the trials and tribulations of teaching.
1. If you’re a new teacher struggling to find the balance between nice/savage, drop your Harry Wong book and just adopt this flawless philosophy of classroom management.
2. If this DOESN’T happen to you, then you are likely a robot and not a real teacher…and if you disagree, please unfollow me immediately and/or humor me with scathing insults in the Comments section. Teacher brain is a very real disease (but don’t look up your symptoms on Web MD, or your first result will say brain tumor).
3. This applies to one of two scenarios:
- When I am sitting at my desk after school with 22 tabs open, 17 things on my to-do list, and 3 unfinished email drafts, and I impulsively exit Chrome without finishing absolutely anything and proceed to sprint out the door.*
- When it’s Sunday at 8 p.m. and Netflix hits me with the rhetorical question of “Are you still watching” and I make the conscious decision of selecting “yes,” simultaneously telling myself “one more episode” while knowing full well that I will binge-watch all night long instead.*
*Both of the aforementioned scenarios typically result in me frantically “lesson planning in my head” while listening to trap music during my 7 a.m. commute to school.
4. This is for everything I was NOT instructed in during my teaching education program in college. Including, but not limited to:
- Locating and properly disposing of a fart bomb hidden in a student’s bookbag (all while ridiculously calling SACURRRRRRRRRRITY like Bon Qui Qui)
- Negotiating a hostage situation in which a student has been zip-tied to a chair
- Mediating an argument over the existence of Santa Claus while subbing in a kindergarten classroom (GOD BLESS YOU, ELEMENTARY TEACHERS)
5. Because teaching sucks the life out of you and causes your body to physically shut down at 8 p.m. on Friday evenings, preventing you from functioning as a normal human with a social life. (If I do want to be a real person on a Friday night, I have to schedule a 3-hour nap.) This also describes how students think teachers are mythical creatures that only exist within school and have no life outside of it.
6. What you wish you could say when That One Kid returns to school after an absence or in-school suspension, as you solemnly cherish the Glorious Day you had without said student.
7. When you are hype for your lesson plan on iambic pentameter but your enthusiasm elicits eye rolls or comments about how you need to “chill.” I usually shout something along the lines of, “Thanks for killing my vibe, you filthy animals.”
8. For absolutely any excuse. Ever. This is best when accompanied by violently enthusiastic fake nodding and smiling, followed by a quick, savage scowl.
9. The look you give to a hooligan who starts actin’ a fool during your evaluation, despite your attempts at begging/bribing/manipulating/etc. your class into angelic behavior.
10. For those days when you are absolutely sure that the shenanigans going down in your class would make a viral video or ridiculous reality show. I’m still available, y’all.
11. When you catch kids cheating on a vocabulary test and your teaching-induced illusion of their innocence is forever tarnished. FYI: The newest form of cheating is the “Sexual Harassment” Cheat, which means writing your vocabulary words high up on your inner thigh because one simply does not ask a student to show his/her inner thigh without being labeled a pedophile. (I am not even making this up, people…)
12. When you casually deliver the pun you thought of while laying in bed at 11:30 p.m. last Tuesday, wait for the laughter, and refuse to continue your lesson until someone acknowledges your brilliant wordplay. I AM THE PUN AND ONLY, CHILDREN. And let’s be real; Michael is loosely quoting Poe here: “Of puns it has been said that those who most dislike them are those who are least able to utter them.”
13. When you make it through teaching the day before Spring Break without any kids setting books, you, and/or the school on fire. Go ahead and treat yourself to a humble brag. You deserve it.
14. When you realize you probably shouldn’t have said that, and an alternate universe in which you have been fired from teaching flashes before your eyes…like the time I used “Get low” to teach how to use slashes to indicate line breaks when citing poetry: “To the window / To the wall” and then realized mid-example that I had to immediately stop. (Hey, the DJ played the song at prom, so sue me.)
15. Prison Mike encompasses more emotions than I can realistically articulate in a novel, let alone a short blurb on a blog post. So I will just leave this here.
16. Because you can always channel your inner Beyoncé, especially when anyone questions your authority and you need to feel empowered. Or anytime you need to interject a lesson with a “Get in formation,” “Boy, bye,” “I ain’t sorry,” or any other Bey-ism (which is at least every single day, if you’re me).
17. When a kiddo answers a question with a 100% wrong answer but you euphemistically manipulate your response so that it does not sound like public humiliation.
18. Classic reverse psychology for teaching how to find reliable sources and spot fake news. Michael Scott is predicted to replace all English teachers by 2020!
19. For those days when you are lecturing with a boring PowerPoint and you know it, but you still expect movie-theater engagement. Sometimes, you just have to be your own hype man.
20. Two words: SUMMER BREAK!