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You’re a good student, but not my best speller

November 23rd, 2011 · 69 comments

Writes Mrs. McMahon in Melbourne, Australia: “One of the students in my class decided to make a a big card for World Teachers Day and have it signed by all her peers in our grade. When I read this message, I could not stop laughing.”

Dear Mrs. McMahon, Your [sic] a good teacher, but not my most favourite.

related: Teacher appreciation letters from first graders

FILED UNDER: Australia · kids · Melbourne · schools & teachers · your/you're

69 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Michele

    Dear Mrs. McMahon,
    While the card IS funny, it’s not funny to share it with the internet. I get mocking adults, but kids. FAIL.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 1:36 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   s.a.

      good grief, lighten the hell up.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm   rating: 161  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   A. Fox

      Michele, you are obviously not a teacher. While I love my job for the usual reasons (making a difference, imparting knowledge, summers “off”), it’s also frustrating for the usual reasons (summers “off,” unrealistic goals, ungrateful children) – if I didn’t mock the occasional kid and laugh a little, I’d probably be one of those burned-out teachers that everyone hates in movies.

      Mock away, Mrs. McMahon!

      Nov 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm   rating: 97  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Jenn

      Are you new here? There are several notes from children on this site. And they’re all hilarious.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm   rating: 63  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Jessica

      Mocking adults is okay, but mocking kids isn’t? But kids are inadvertently hilarious!

      Nov 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm   rating: 34  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   Canthz_B bang

      Michele may think Art Linkletter was the anti-christ, but kids really do say the darndest things.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #1.6   Nick

      Ok, I guess we’ll just mock you too, Michele.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm   rating: 36  small thumbs up

    • #1.7   infant tyrone bang

      Maybe, just maybe, the writer of the note is a person whose classification of Mrs McMahon as not his favourite is something that does not cause Mrs McMahon to lose any sleep.
      Most teachers are quite all right knowing that they are not the favorites of most of their students.
      Some teacher/student relationships can be contentious and adversarial for a year or longer, some of these mutually respectful all the while.
      Sure, building self-esteem can be equally as important as learning content.
      But, it’s learning and teaching, not Spelling with the Stars.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #1.8   twhit

      The teacher said nothing that was mocking of the student. As a former after school program director, I thought the sentiment was funny – kids are just so honest and it seems that’s Mrs. McMahon’s view. It’s the title of this post that’s snarky, not her comments. The only word misspelled is “your” instead of “you’re”; favourite is the proper spelling in Australia.

      All that notwithstanding, even if the teacher is mocking the student, so what? It’s not malicious and I agree w/ A Fox that if you don’t mock a little here and there you will burn out fast. Teachers and kids are people, not perfect deities and untouchable angels, respectively.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm   rating: 53  small thumbs up

    • #1.9   shesajem

      You SNEAKY teacher!!!

      Nov 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #1.10   Kim

      They aren’t mocking the kid, it’s passive-aggressive… It’s just funny that the kid says he likes her but she isn’t his favorite… ruiner of things.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #1.11   Nunavut Guy

      Dear Michele;
      Thanks for the obtuse observation and the “I protested but stayed occupying too long” attitude.

      It really made this post.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 8:39 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #1.12   Adriana

      Frankly, I prefer to mock children.

      Nov 24, 2011 at 9:58 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

  • #2   s.a.

    lol, what a little asshole.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm   rating: 15  small thumbs up

  • #3   Wrench

    I don’t mind mocking children — but I find it even more funny that she’s willing to advertise her teaching fail on PAN.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #4   Kate

    Mrs. McMahon is probably not her favorite because Mrs. McMahon didn’t teach her student how to spell correctly or use proper grammar.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 1:53 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   maura

      Or it’s equally possible the kid was taught how to spell, but just messed up. Or sees it misspelled too often, everywhere. Teaching spelling ain’t rocket science, and some kids just aren’t and will never be rocket scientists. Or good spellers.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   MEEE

      “Favourite” is correct, in places such as England,…or Australia, from where this note originated.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm   rating: 31  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   kermit

      Mee, Kate was referring to the fact that the kid doesn’t know the difference between the possessive “your” and the contraction “you’re”.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   Yannick

      Come on, half the people on the internet don’t apply that rule correctly and you’re going to put the hate on an elementary teacher for this one mistake? Get real.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 7:27 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

    • #4.5   quat

      You’re right. And I hate every one of those people.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 8:37 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #4.6   Canthz_B bang

      You’re right, Yannick. Once half of the people routinely do something wrong, no one should ever point out that it’s wrong because that’s “hate”.

      Though some would say that if half of the people on the internet cannot properly use a contraction teachers may deserve a little blame, I’m sticking with you. ;-)

      Nov 24, 2011 at 1:06 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #4.7   mitte bang

      It is my understanding that the student made the grammar mistake, not the teacher.

      Nov 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #4.8   Canthz_B bang

      mitte, teachers accepting such errors throughout the years of a student’s education is why my supervisor, manager and director all routinely make the same “mistake”.
      A few red marks on a few papers would be greatly appreciated, but not expected if that’s the way the teacher writes the words on the board – or whatever they may be using as a blackboard these days.

      Nov 25, 2011 at 1:34 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #4.9   kermit

      All lessons are transmitted via Twitter now, CB. The tyranny of the 140 character limit is to blame for this.

      Nov 25, 2011 at 9:33 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #4.10   Jamie

      Yes, it is definitely the practice to correct students’ spelling on a card that the whole class signed. Also, students NEVER make the same mistake again after they’ve been corrected. That’s why all my students speak fluent, flawless Spanish just from listening to me and their Spanish-speaking peers. Thank God we’ve finally figured out whom to blame for a (probably) second- or third-grader’s spelling error. That teacher should probably go ahead and quit before she continues to ruin more lives.

      Anyway, the note is hilarious.

      Nov 26, 2011 at 8:16 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #5   Beth

    Clearly, the English/Spelling teacher was not his favorite, either.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #6   Pip

    Before you lay into the spelling too much, don’t forget that Australia uses the English spelling and therefore favourite is correct.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Canthz_B bang


      Nov 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   infant tyrone bang

      None of the other words are misspelled either.
      “dear” needs a capital,
      “Mrs” needs a period, and
      “your” (spelled perfectly, but not correctly used here) should be “you’re”.

      So, our witty young Wilde-woman is doing well for her age.
      The headline writer could pay a little more Earnest attention to detail.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #6.3   Pip

      Well put infant tyrone.
      It’s not standard practice in the UK to put a period after Mrs, Mr, Dr etc., so I suspect the same is true of Australia.
      Therefore the only error here is the lack of capital on dear and you’re/your. Hardly worthy of the headline.

      I do think that the content is wonderful though. Children can be so honest.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #6.4   infant tyrone bang

      Pip, thanks for the tip about the aperiodicity of contracted UK honorifics.

      Sorry if that sounded like something from the CDC…just couldn’t resist.

      Do you know if the periods were used long ago (like maybe in pen & ink times) and were used less frequently after some point (maybe mass usage of typewriters or computers). I’m curious enough to google it in case you don’t know, but patient enough to wait for your reply in case you do.
      I love being this curious, I just don’t want to stay this way indefinitely.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #6.5   Pip

      Lynn Truss talks about it in her book Eats, Shoots and Leaves.
      I shall dig it out and take a look.
      I think it is a fairly recent change. I was taught to do it, but then I was taught to put an apostrophe in front of ‘bus and in hallowe’en. I think I am the last person left to do both of those!

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #6.6   Pip

      Right, just checked.
      It seems to be one of those things that has just fallen out of fashion but no one is sure when.
      The rule used to be that if the title was a contraction and ended with the same letter as the full word, Mr for Mister for example, then no full stop (period) was required. However if the title was an abbreviation, Prof for Professor for example, then a full stop was used.
      The book then goes on to mention that America has kept a lot of the punctuation rules that we have dropped in the UK.

      I think that this was just something that fell out of fashion, rather like the apostrophe of ‘bus and commas in addresses.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #6.7   infant tyrone bang

      We must have some reason for keeping all of those arguably useless rules.

      Can’t back it up with hard evidence (or any other kind)
      but I think grammarians are getting finder’s fees
      from people in the bail bond business.
      It’s just a* hypothesis…

      *just trolling for someone to tell me it has to be “an” hypothesis

      Nov 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #7   Ed.D.

    I love the honesty of the kid.
    Agreed: Michele DOES need to lighten up a little bit the kid’s name isn’t there.
    Who says it’ a teaching fail? This is probably a young kid just learning proper spelling vs. “kid” spelling (Where they sound it out in their own inventive way.) I think that’s clear given the lack of proper capital on dear and your vs. you’re as well my “favourite” part. I share my kids’ inventive spelling with family & friends on FB all the time. It’s cute and sometimes very clever.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   Dr_Know

      Not inventive spelling!

      Nov 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #8   maura

    The kid’s name isn’t there, and they likely don’t read this site (if the kid does, there are bigger problems at issue). And it was a P-A note; not a skill I’d encourage or tolerate much in a youngun.’ A little (gentle) turnabout’s fair play here, I think. I’m with team McMahon.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #9   Sara

    Oh relax Michele. I think it’s awesome she can laugh at the situation and not have her feelings hurt. Kids are honest — that’s just how they are. And for the record, when you submit notes to this website, THEY write the headline — not you. I really don’t see how she’s mocking a kid.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 1:59 pm   rating: 15  small thumbs up

  • #10   CDJ527

    I don’t see how this is “mocking”: definition of mock: treat somebody or something with scorn: to treat somebody or something with scorn or contempt
    mimic somebody: to imitate somebody in a way that is intended to make that person appear silly or ridiculous
    prevent something: to prevent something from succeeding in a way that causes frustration or humiliation

    Ever see the show “Kids Say the Darndest Things”…I’m thinking this is the same premise here, she is sharing a funny thing that happened, not saying the kid is an idiot, and should be treated as such.

    So Michelle, thank you for irritating me, and making me not want to laugh anymore at something that was adorable. *sigh* Just kidding, I’m still laughing, darn kids are so freaking funny! :P

    Nov 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #11   Marissa

    Favourite is the correct spelling in Australia, everyone. So besides the your/you’re mistake, this letter is free of spelling or grammatical errors. I’m sure the teacher sent this in because of the actual content, not the “mistakes”.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

  • #12   sun

    Amusing, yes. But it’s worth noting that in Canada (and Britain) we spell “favourite” with a “u”. (And colour and neighbour etc.). So, if the source is non-American than that one is right.

    As for the “your”, sadly, I know too many adults that *still* don’t know when to use “your” and when to use “you’re”

    Nov 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   Adrian

      Am I getting this right? They let Canadians on this site!

      Nov 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #12.2   park rose

      @sun, it’s usually, standard practice to use “then” as a way of linking a sentence, or to introduce an idea, and to use “than” in a comparative sentence. I think this use applies in most English speaking countries.

      She is taller than him.
      First comes Monday, then Tuesday, Wednesday and so on . . .

      Nov 24, 2011 at 2:44 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #12.3   infant tyrone bang

      @park rose…your then/than info works well, adroit.
      But isn’t something either standard practice or not ?
      If so, then you’re better off parking your ‘usually’ back in the garage…
      fight another day…lower carbon footprint without than with, y’know ?

      I think you pretty much have to agree that you’re sure I’m probably right.

      Nov 24, 2011 at 4:33 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #12.4   Rattus

      Isn’t sure an absolute, and probably not?

      Just adding to the chain of pissiness :D.

      Nov 25, 2011 at 10:31 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #12.5   infant tyrone bang

      Dear Rattus,
      re your: Isn’t sure an absolute, and probably not?
      Intentionally or not, not putting “probably” in quotes turns
      your one-liner into an absolute gem of verbal jewelry for sure.

      My intent was to set up a teeter-totter with a hybrid absolute/possible phrase on each side…”pretty much have to” vs. “sure I’m probably”.
      Fairly long-winded compared to your Necker Cube of brevity.
      But it catalyzed you, so there is that…

      Offer not good after curfew in sectors R or N.
      Aw, they never come into the hills!

      From: Don’t Crush that Corinthian, Hand Me the Swivel Knife

      Nov 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #12.6   Rattus

      Alright, I have a grade nine education so I’m going to have to unlink myself from the chain. Confused. Head hurts. Don’t know nothing ’bout no grammar. Or no Necker Cubes. Will google once head stops hurting.

      Nov 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #12.7   Rattus

      Okay, could’t wait for the head to stop hurting before I googled. Unfortunately I’m too much the low-grade linear thinker to appreciate such things as Necker Cubes, Shrodinger’s Cats and tautological philosophy, so head hurts even more now.

      Nov 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #12.8   infant tyrone bang

      Sorry, Rattus…when you riffed in context with the Sisyphus bit
      I figured you were into some of the rest…guess not.
      My Plan “A” would be an herbal pain reliever.
      Pharmaceuticals are an OK second choice,
      but avoid ones made in China these days.
      In either case, research your local regs
      as to what is considered personal use
      and what constitutes distribution.
      Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
      Print this, de-seed that, roll and
      finally, burn after reading.
      Let’s Get Really Small
      Steve Martin

      Nov 25, 2011 at 7:54 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #12.9   Rattus

      Sorry, infant tyrone, I am naught but an occasionally lucky idiot.

      Nov 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #12.10   infant tyrone bang

      Part of me thinks you’re sandbagging,
      but, hey, as long as we’re not playing for money,
      I’ll tell that part to disregard your Sinclair Lewis line. ;-)

      Nov 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #12.11   park rose

      Yep. Fucked up! Pissy points taken on board.

      Nov 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #12.12   Rattus

      @infant tyrone, nope, not sandbagging – I only have a grade nine education. But on a less frivolous note, did I quote Sinclair Lewis somewhere in there? If so, it was purely accidental, but I am delighted nonetheless as he is my favourite writer.

      Nov 26, 2011 at 10:00 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #12.13   infanttyrone

      You mentioned Sinclair Lewis back on the George C. Hubbs “Motivational Quote on the Toilet Tank” thread, tautologies on a sandwich thread, and Sisyphus most recently.
      If you’re not what the Ed. Biz calls a “lifelong learner”, your nine years in the classroom must have been hell on wheels. Keep on chooglin’…

      Nov 26, 2011 at 11:16 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #13   Quite Contrary

    Six words into the first sentence mentions this note is from Australia and we have to debate the spelling of favourite? Wow.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   Canthz_B bang

      The saddest part isn’t even that it’s been pointed out as if everyone here is stupid.
      The saddest part is the sheer number of times it’s been pointed out.

      Nov 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm   rating: 21  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   park rose

      True, CB, and QC, but I think it is in reaction to Kerry’s title for the post (which has also been pointed out). Of course, You’re a good student, but not my best punctuator just doesn’t cut it.

      Nov 24, 2011 at 2:46 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #14   Liz

    Look people… most people know that in Australia and in the UK, a “u” is added after the “o” in a number of words. However, a kid wrote this and that “u” looks like an “a.” So, I can understand where some people would think it was spelled wrong.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 6:31 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   Canthz_B bang

      That’s a valid defense…er…defence…um…defense…aw, screw it!!

      Nov 24, 2011 at 12:48 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #14.2   Rattus

      And Canada, dammit! We love our U’s as much as the next empire member.

      Nov 25, 2011 at 10:35 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #14.3   Lauren

      I’m going to be an arse (ass for those playing in the USA) and point out that we Australians don’t add in a ‘u’ after the ‘o’, Americans take the ‘u’ out of words.

      Nov 28, 2011 at 12:58 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #15   The Elf

    Whoa, back off kid. Do not mess with the McMahons, or you will end up in some sort of horrible tag team match with a partner that will betray you. He’ll pile drive you right there and strip you of your championship. Then you’ll have to plot revenge until the next pay-per-view.

    Nov 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #16   Mai Naim

    Don’t get me started on “most favourite”…

    Nov 24, 2011 at 1:25 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   infant tyrone bang

      Your maximum number for ‘favourite’ is ONE ?
      Youtube must be a source of continuous temptation and annoyance.
      One because you could have as many as you like.
      The other because to get them, you have to use that singular noun as a verb in a pluralistic environment.

      Nov 24, 2011 at 5:00 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #17   AussieinUSA


    This is how we spell in Australia. Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful that I have lived in the US for 13 years and can also spell the American way. I’ll have to re-learn how to spell correctly when I go home for good April 2012. ;-)

    Nov 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   anglophile

      Wait, so you’re saying “favourite” isn’t misspelled?

      Nov 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #17.2   infant tyrone bang

      Is “noulo countendere” an option, You’re Honour ?

      P.S. Did you get my email from 8 Nov. ?

      Nov 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #18   sophie

    really first person to comment….REALLY
    i am a kid and i can be a pain in the ass!
    teachers deserve the right to laugh at me!
    i am ok with it and most kids are.

    Dec 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up


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