10 buzzwords educators never want to hear again

We asked educators on social media to share their least favorite education buzzword and Why he grinds their gears.

Hundreds of them have weighed in on multiple posts, and from “differentiation” to “self-care,” there’s a lot to unpack, to parse.

Here are the most popular words or phrases that educators are tired of hearing and why. (Keep scrolling to see even more terms our audience found off-putting, visualized in a word cloud.)

1. Rigor

“Rigor. Being told that something doesn’t seem rigorous or intellectually challenging when they know nothing (or almost nothing) about this child or group of children. Then explaining how and why. Or having to explain that the activity is a milestone and that we are moving towards a certain goal.I work with 5 and 6 year olds, they are just beginning to understand that there is a thinking process.

—Corina C.C.

“[Rigor] implies that having fun while learning doesn’t raise the bar…or that slowing down when kids don’t understand is somehow failing. For me, real “rigor” is the ability to push each student just a little beyond their comfort zone so that they can always be encouraged to succeed.

—Tristen Bonacci

“Rigour. The current definition connotes nothing but inconvenience. And its implementation often results in more work without regard to quality, relevance or importance.


“Rigour. So vague. Also makes me think of rigor mortis. To stiffen up instead of learning with joy.


“Strictness for 1000000, Alex. The admin likes to use this to mean challenge, but in reality they don’t have any concrete metrics to determine if a teacher has achieved the grade.


2. Loyalty

“Fidelity. Definition: Follow this script, within the prescribed time, whether or not it’s too fast or too slow, or even sucks. If you follow it with FIDELITY, all of our educational challenges will disappear. Poof!”

—Jenifer Pastore

“[W]hen administrators use the word “fidelity,” they say they don’t trust teachers to think for themselves and make appropriate decisions. … Requiring teachers to follow ultra-specific guidelines and “robotic” actions in order to use a program or curriculum is a CYA decision. It keeps bad teachers from messing things up and prevents disaster, but it crushes great teachers and stops them from doing their magic.


“Fidelity: copying and reproducing independently of the application of professional knowledge.”


“[F]ideality. [Because] there is NO black and white in teaching children.

-Michelle Ruhe

3. Rotate

“Pivot – After hearing it for two years in a row, we knew what we needed to do to support our students during a pandemic. We didn’t need a new buzzword, we’re adults who can already think on our feet, we do it thousands of times a day as it does.


“Pivot: Throw away what you do because we say so, no matter what you think.”


“Pivot – because I’ve never seen an admin do that.”

—John Petito

4. Take care of yourself

“Self-care implies that teacher burnout is the result of something they do wrong as individuals and not a systematic problem.”

— Dawn Cooley

“‘Self-care.’ As in “please do this, that and the other.” And remember that after school staff meeting today and grades are due tomorrow at 8am. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure you take care of yourself.

-Chuck McWilliams

“[Self-care] demands that teachers maintain a healthy balance in their lives without addressing salary/additional responsibilities/poor conditions and blames them for struggling.


5. Squealing

“Gritty. Most school kids emphasize grit because they’re already ‘gritty’. Already resilient. Already dealing with situations and circumstances that most of their educators have never encountered.

—Sherell A. McArthur

“Courage…why should students persevere in educational environments?” They should just be able to thrive and be great in environments that love and appreciate them for who they are and will be in the future.


“Grinding. It’s great that our kids have to overcome barriers? Really?”

—Sarah Scarff Baumgartner

“[Grit] assumes that children do not face harsh realities outside of school and should therefore suffer in the classroom.


6. Unpack

“‘Unpack’ It sounds so stupid – just use the word ‘analyze’.”

— Tammy Evans Hughes

“Unpacking. Unpacking the curriculum, unpacking the standards, unpacking the resources… SO boring. I don’t see any baggage here.

—Stacy Grover

“Unpacking – a lesson shouldn’t be so complicated that it has to be unpacked.”

—Kate Ingalls

“Unpacking – who is actually responsible for unpacking?”


7. Learning loss

“The ‘learning loss’ because she ignores the trauma and stress the kids have been through in order to quickly cram information into the kids’ heads instead of meeting the kids where they are and making them to advance.”

— Christy Evans

“’Rigour’ was my most hated word… But now a new phrase has dethroned the champion: ‘learning loss’. It devalues ​​the work that students, families and staff have done during the pandemic. »

—Elizabeth Kerridge

“’Learning loss’ because it’s a loss compared to what? According to what and according to whom?

— Alexandre Darraccott

8. Differentiation

“💯 differentiation. It’s another way of saying ‘give more work to the advanced ones and score two of the four multiple choices on the test for everyone else.'”

—Tim Gray

“‘Differentiation.’ It has been misused to increase class sizes and put more and more responsibility on teachers and expect more and more results with the same amount of limited resources.


“Differentiation – I’ve always hated that word, because when you have 32 students and one teacher, it’s an impossible burden for teachers to be everything to everyone, and teacher education doesn’t adequately support differentiation .”

— Miriam Arvinger

9. Children

“Kiddos – usually said only by those who don’t work with them on a day-to-day basis (administrator, coaches, etc.).”

—Marcy Welch

“When adults call kids high school kids. Like nails on a blackboard. To me that means they don’t hold the students accountable because they’re just kids.

—Josh Adams

10. Liability

“The responsibility, not the parents or the politicians. Who [is] punished? Overworked educators and students.

—Cathy Stockton

“Accountability (or ’empowering people’) implies that educators don’t do their best unless some administrative boogeyman chases them to success. Where else in the universe does this make sense to anyone?

-Farhan Shah

“Accountability. Accountability is a one-way street. Those who craft state liability laws and those who craft specific liability formulas do not have the same public accountability.


Want more?

Here are even more terms that educators told us they could do without, visualized in a word cloud:

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