‘Didn’t you forget your head at home?’ And other iconic phrases of Russian teachers

Russia Beyond (Legion Media)
In Russian classrooms, “Kamchatka is for the back of the classroom,” and “The bell is for the teacher.” But, the most disturbing thing is when you have to go to school with your parents!

It seems that all schoolchildren from Sakhalin to Kaliningrad have heard these sayings. Let’s recall the most memorable ones!

1. “Did you forget your head at home?”

Often schoolchildren forget textbooks, notebooks, pens or to do their homework… And then this phrase comes into play. 

2. “Forest of hands!”

“Who will go to the blackboard? I see a forest of hands.” “Who knows the difference between sine and cosine? Forest of hands, again.” It basically means no schoolkid has raised their hand. And, if no one wants to answer, the teacher opens the class list and goes alphabetically.

3. “The bell for the teacher!”

The bell reminds the teacher that class is over, but until the students write down their homework, no one gets to go to recess. At least, that’s what the teacher demands.

4. “How about you sit in my place and I’ll sit in yours.”

Would you like to be in the teacher’s shoes? Sometimes, they offer this option, too, especially if students bully or ask off-topic questions. Almost no one ever follows up on it, it must be said! 

5. “Get out and come in properly!”

Late for class? You can’t just walk into class, you have to do it “properly”. That is, knock on the door, apologize to the teacher and the class and, only after then are allowed to go to your seat.

6. “I’m going to sit this sweet couple down!”

This is how a teacher usually addresses students who spend the whole lesson giggling or discussing something instead of studying. Of course, it’s much more fun to plan where to go after class, rather than the second law of thermodynamics! 

7. “I’ll give you a 2 in pencil for now.”

If a student doesn’t learn the lesson by tomorrow, a teacher can take a ballpoint pen and issue an ‘E’ grade (in Russia, the grading system works from 5 to 1, with 5 the highest mark). And then, the student’s final grade will drop. But, that’s tomorrow and, today, you can exhale, because there still is hope of getting out of it!

8. “Who’s laughing in Kamchatka? Tell everyone, let’s laugh together!”

For some unknown reason, the back desks in the classroom are specifically nicknamed ‘Kamchatka’, not some other remote region of Russia. As a rule, the ‘Kamchatka’ is the favorite place of the bad students and those who have not learned the lesson. It’s more inconspicuous.

9. “Should I give you a mark for two?”

Admit it, have you ever cheated and taken the answer to a problem from your classmate? If yes, you have probably heard a similar phrase from the teacher! 

10. “Take your parents to school!”

So, the teacher says this only in the most extreme case, when a student is behaving very badly. First, they call the parents for a chat and then, maybe, even suggest a visit to the principal. Very scary!

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