Former teacher shares the funny 'secret code' she used when talking to parents
“Your son is going to make a great lawyer" is code for: "Your kid won’t stop arguing with me."
There are many things that teachers think but cannot say aloud. Teachers have to have a certain sense of decorum and often have strict rules about the things they can or can’t say about children, especially to their parents.
Plus, it’s a teacher’s job to educate, not judge. So, they find ways to kindly say what’s on their minds without having to resort to name-calling or talking disparagingly of a student.
Jess Smith, 33, is a former teacher who goes by the moniker Miss Smith as a stand-up comedian and on her podcast, Hot Mess Teacher Express. She decided to have a little fun with euphemisms, or the “secret code” she had to use when speaking to parents about their children.
The video has gone viral on TikTok, receiving over 70,000 views, after being shared by the Bored Teachers page.
Have you used our secret Teacher Code when talking with parents?? 🤫 #teachersoftiktok #teacherlife #secret #teacher #parents
"We have a code when we email parents," Smith said in her video. "When we use phrases like, ‘Your child is very social,’ that means they won’t stop talking," she explained. “'Their excitement in the classroom is contagious,' translates to 'They will not calm down,'" Smith said, adding that a "natural born leader" is a polite way of saying "super bossy."
The post struck a chord with parents and teachers who shared secret codes they’ve heard or used.
“My son’s pre-k teacher told me he was the most scientific kid she’s ever had, she prob meant he asks a million questions allll day long," Tina Marie wrote. “In kindergarten, I got ‘is overly helpful’ when my parents asked the teacher said I was finishing my test and giving answers out so we could play,” Tallulah the great added.
“When I first started teaching, I was told to tell parents their child is ‘spirited’ if they never stop talking and can’t sit still," Allie commented.
“‘Your son is going to make a great lawyer,’ which is code for: your kid won’t stop arguing with me," C added.
However, the post wasn’t a hit with everyone. Some believe teachers should speak to parents in a straightforward manner and avoid using euphemisms.
“As a parent. I would rather a teacher just tell me, instead of using codes. We know our kids. We live with them and you have them for 8 hours," happily_married wrote in the comments.
“It’s time to start saying it like it is. Why are we so afraid of laying the truth on the line?" QYMSC added.
In an interview with the "Today" show, Smith assured everyone that when she was a teacher, she had no problem being straightforward when necessary. “If a serious conversation needed to happen, I didn’t sugarcoat it,” Smith said. But the code was a way for her to share difficult information politely, in a non-confrontational way.
“Connecting with the parents was always important to me, and I never wanted them to feel like, ’This is your problem to take care of.’ No, this is something we can work on together. I’m here to help your kid,” Smith said. “I found that parents just responded better to the code.”