Classroom FAQs and Writing Dialogue


Whenever attempting to write dialogue, the goal is to make it sound as if an actual person might really say the line.

I often read coming of age stories, so I frequently run across what I would classify as “student dialogue” or “classroom chatter,” and most authors do a decent job of making the line sound like it came out of student’s mouth. However, many authors do not truly comprehend or reveal the amount of questions that are thrown around the classroom on an hourly basis, and the fact that many questions are repeated every class period and every day.

So here are a few of the common questions that I (as a teacher) am asked quite frequently. These are from high school students in a public high school in the US.

After you read, feel free to leave your most frequently asked question in the comments!

Before Class Starts:

  • I left my ______ in Mr. ____’s room. Can I go get it before class starts?
    • If you can get it before the bell rings, yes.
  • Can I go to the bathroom?
    • If you can be back before the bell rings.
    • Yes, unless it’s in the first or last 10 minutes of class, OR you’ve used up all of your bathroom passes.
  • Can I go to the attendance office?
    • Not in the first 10 minutes of class
  • Can I go to the front office?
    • Again, not in the first 10 minutes of class
  • Can I go to the nurse, I’ve got a hangnail.
    • No, and here’s a bandaid.
  • I fell asleep last night, so can I have until tomorrow to turn in my homework?
    • No, unless you have a 504 or IEP

As I am starting the warm-up

  • When is our next test going to be?
    • Did you look on the board? Did you look on the website? Did you look on your phone calendar where I told you to put it?
  • Whirrrr- Oh, sorry. Can I sharpen my pencil?
    • Wait until I’m done explaining the warm-up.
    • Yes, we will wait on you.
  • Do we have any homework?
    • Did you look on the board? Did you look on the website? Has class even started yet?
  • What are we doing today?
    • Again: Did you look on the board? Did you look on the website? Has class even started yet?
  • Are we doing anything important today?
    • Always
  • Are we doing anything fun today?
    • Hopefully this will be more fun than having my hair or teeth pulled out.
  • Are we writing anything today?
    • Considering this is an English class, the chances are good that you will be writing.
  • Do we need our book today?
    • Considering this is an English class, the chances are good that we will be reading today.
    • Also, did you check the board and website?

As I am giving directions for the day’s work

  • Do I need a pencil?
    • Always
    • What have you been doing during the warm-up?
  • Do you have a pencil that I could borrow?
    • Are you actually going to give it back to me?
    • I get to keep one of your shoes or your cell phone until I get my pencil back
    • Did you check the pencil cup at the front of the room.
  • Could I keep this?
    • It depends on what it is… Pencils and paper- fine. Textbooks, novelty items, or school technology – no.
  • What page are we on?
    • I just said it and it’s on the board
  • Wait, what page are we on?
    • Ugh.
  • What are we doing?
    • I just explained it and it’s written on your paper. Read the directions.
  • Ms. T, I spaced out. What are we doing today?
    • Ugh
  • When are we going to get extra credit?
    • When you actually do your real work

Near the end of class

  • If I don’t finish, can I take this home?
    • If you work for the next 10 minutes, I may consider it, but you should be done within 5 minutes.
  • Do we have homework?
    • Sigh. Did you look at the board and website?
  • Do we have a quiz tomorrow? Is our test next week?
    • Eyeballs. Board. Website.
  • Are we going to get a study guide?
    • Did you check the website? It’s already up.

The Personal Ones

  • The relationship ones: Ms. T, are you married? Ms. T, do you have a boyfriend? Ms. T, do you have a girlfriend? (bless them for being inclusive)
    • No, but none of your business, you nosey children!
  • Ms. T, do you have kids?
    • I have over 100 teenagers for 5 days a week. It’s the most effective form of birth control that I’ve ever seen.
  • Eww, Ms. T, what’s wrong with your elbow? It looks broken!
    • I’m double jointed. It’s fine.

The Ultimate Question:

  • Ms. T, why did you become a teacher?
    • Because I love you, children, and I hope that I give you a place of safety, knowledge, and the foundations for future skills.

2 thoughts on “Classroom FAQs and Writing Dialogue

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