10 Teaching Inventions I Wish Existed

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer means I have lots of time to do important thinking, which this morning has meant coming up with this list of teaching inventions I wish existed. 

1) Grading machine

You'll notice that it looks remarkably like a fax machine. It can even grade essays! Oh, also it can create make-up exams. I just decided.

2) Silent spray
Extra strength: for grades 6-8

I’ve seen cute versions of this on Pinterest for pre-school age kiddos, but mine would be very serious. Sort of like Febreze except instead of working with smells it will work with sounds. A quick spray across the room and a hush just falls over everyone. Ahhhh.

Also, my roommate held up a placemat just behind our coffee table for this picture to happen. Thanks, Esther!

3) A special telephone that has a direct hotline for answers to everything

Preferably the hotline attendant would be Morgan Freeman. He would have the answers to my most plaguing questions, which, last year, were things like:
“Yeah, it’s October and our school ran out of paper and toner for the rest of the year. What do I do?”
“Who wrote ‘Charlie = bae’ in this copy of Flowers for Algernon?”
“Where did I put my Easy Grader?”
“Why is there a staple in my hair?”

4) A life-sized hamster wheel
For that one angel we all have.

5) A light-up PMS necklace
The heart of the ocean.
I love life most of the time. But exactly five days before my period, I love nothing and nobody. If I had a necklace that lit up and played a song (preferably, a happy, twinkly tune) when I was PMSing, it would help me to recognize that my irritability and tears were coming from a place of hormonal chaos rather than the real world, and I would be able to cope accordingly.

6) A clock that sings the perfect song at the beginning of the day, during every passing period, and at the end of the day
This isn’t like an iPod alarm or something where I choose the song; it just knows what to play. IT KNOWS!

7) Food-multiplying wand
If I’m starving during class and take out a granola bar during class, everyone wants one. It would be nice to turn one into 35 with a simple wave of my wand. Also, I could easily promise my classes cookies or mini quiches or whatever I felt like because I would only have to make one instead of a hundred and twenty.  

The wand would also come in handy when your coworker brings amazing leftovers from last night’s dinner at that new steakhouse in town and you accidentally packed yourself a bell pepper because you thought it was an apple in your early morning lunch-packing stupor.

8) A zipline that goes from my room to my parking space
Because why not?

9) A remote-control robot teacher for active monitoring during testing

Just program it to go up and down the aisles, sit back at your desk, and Sudoku your little heart out. Also I emailed my mom and asked her to draw a robot teacher with a Sharpie in under 30 seconds and this is what she sent back. I cackled.

10) An arm belt
Basically I just want another set of hands.

Excuse me while I go have a nightmare about that arm belt.

What teaching inventions do you wish existed? I'm almost worried about your creativity.




  1. I read this and cackled. I love you! Yes, all wishes are mine as well. Especially the teaching robot for testing.

  2. Have you ever heard of GradeCam? It is kiiiiiind of like #1. It will grade multiple-choice exams for you via webcam. You can also use it to bubble in grades from essays and it will import into your electronic gradebook. It's pretty magical. :)

    1. What is this wizardry? I am SO using this - thank you!

    2. GradeCam.com. Our school bought a license for it, but it's not that expensive for an individual subscription. It makes the most satisfying "bloop" sounds as it grades. So much love for it.

    3. We're using GradeCam too; I like it--except when we have connectivity issues.

  3. 11. Automatic pencil sharpening machine-that sharpens 100 pencils at a time, silently.
    12. A magic tape recorder that repeats anything I already said when kids weren't listening. Think, the kid who asks where to turn a paper in (in May).

  4. Those are hilarious...well I just really want never ending ink cartridges for my printer, a classroom robot that does everything I don't want to do (along the lines of a grading machine), and a machine that can either slow down time (like when I'm on a beach) or speed up time (like when I'm at a staff meeting). Is that too much to ask for?

    On the Go Teacher Mama

  5. Ok, first, I need that necklace, and I don't even teach anymore. It's just for home use. (My husband doesn't understand why after 25 years of dealing with PMS I can't predict/recognize it better. He generally points this out WHILST I am PMSing and I generally respond by destroying him in some Game of Thrones-like way.) And, secondly, you need to add to your inventions a light that would flash if you are about to leave the teacher restroom with your skirt tucked into your panties. Please tell me I'm not the only one who needs this.

    1. That's the remarkable thing... I can't tell when I'm pms-ing... but my husband nails it every time!

      Trials and Triumphs

  6. This is awesome! Thanks for your humor. I would also like to add a mind-reading sensor in student desks that give them a slight jolt whenever they are thinking about doing anything that might disrupt the class. (Not a painful jolt- I'd never want to hurt anyone- just a little snap to get them back on task.)

  7. Perfect shoes: cute, go with everything and make my feet feel MARVELOUS at the end of every day.

  8. An automatic responder that would say, "The teacher already said that!" for all the times a student who wasn't paying attention asked a question I'd already addressed. As a bonus, it would be great if it also thumped them in the head at such times.

  9. I loved your list of inventions!! Many more of my wishes were listed in the posts! Yu gave me a giggle and that was great! Carry On!!!

  10. this is hilarious! loved your list - thank you for sharing

  11. Okay, I love #4: the life-sized hamster wheel. Why is that "that kid" always seems to be ironically named Angel or Jesus?... it's so weird!!

  12. #9 during state-testing season.

    I would think of some type of invention that allows me time to pee during the school day. I guess it would be alike to the silent spray, except maybe it would allow 5 minutes of "freeze" time so I could run to the bathroom down my hall, then upstairs, then to the other side of that hall and to the left (as the one in our own hall is always locked) and then run back down in enough time to also take in a sip of coffee... only to digest until the next pee run.

  13. A machine that creates MAKE-UP TESTS!! Sign me up :D

  14. These are brilliant! I would like to add an extra pair of eyes on my back. Combine those with #10 on your list and you'll have instant freak show. (But don't you feel that way exactly sometimes when 20 pairs of eyes stare at you?)

  15. Honestly, the hamster wheel idea makes me want to advocate for standing desks for students, not just cubicle drones.

  16. I think you may be one of my top five favorite people on the planet. And I've never even met you. I found your blog on FB thanks to one of those teacher pages I favorited a long time ago.

    I went through and read every post you've ever written.

    And then I told all my teacher friends to read your blog. In fact, here's what I said on FB: Okay... so you will probably only enjoy this post if you have ever been a teacher, but this blog made me laugh. I bookmarked it. The person who writes this blog is a middle school teacher somewhere in our country. And she GETS IT. From the funny/crazy things that happen that remind you how privileged you are to be a teacher, right down to the not so funny things that make you want to tear all your hair out. I want to be friends with this person. But for now, I will settle for reading this blog. No matter what you teach, you should find something to relate to. Although I started on this post, I went back and read all previous posts. It was worth it. Happy May to all my teacher friends! And may the (state testing) odds be ever in your favor!"

    And some of my friends then told the rest of their friends to read your blog. Because you are hilarious. And honest. And refreshing.

    Thank you for making me laugh. Oh! And wasn't Paris just the best? I went last summer and I could move there tomorrow and be very happy. Too bad I don't speak enough french to make that an actual possibility.

    Also... as for your instant grading machine... have you heard of Mastery Connect? Because you should check it out. It doesn't grade essays (sad face), but it does do some other really cool things that make grading a much easier task. https://www.masteryconnect.com/

    Good luck this year! I look forward to reading your posts throughout the year.

  17. hahahah you're great! I wish these things will exist. My life would be much easier :)

  18. This whole thing made me laugh so much. I am your newest follower. I would want a magic phone that puts you through to new numbers when the old one is out of service, disconnected, etc. for all those impossible to reach parents.
    Brynn Allison

  19. These are wonderful. I'm a first year teacher and definitely could use some of these.

  20. That seems some how funny by the way. In these ten things you might get some particles but it's definitely not possible to have to additional hands you have to manage in two.

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