Words teachers don’t want to know #3: Beat

Students can be so creative sometimes.

And other times…not so much.

The word ‘beat’ takes its roots from the Greek philosophers. In the agora, Greeks would gather to exchange thoughts about politics, social constructs, and the plight of the masses. Often, members would be ostracized for holding dissenting opinions. These unfortunate dissenters would be deemed ‘beatus.’ Essentially, this was the Greeks’ way of saying, “You suck.”

I’m just messing with you. That was all crap.

But, seriously, students use this word to assert their unearned, self-constructed dominance. A male student saying to another male, “That shirt is so beat!” is essentially saying that Goodwill will soon have another garment to sort using their incomprehensible system.

A female student claiming that, “This class is beat,” is making it known that the teacher should expect no more effort from her for the day. In many ways, this is a self-reflective term; students that use the word are often holding a mirror to their own shortcomings.

In short, ‘beat’ means ‘lame.’

A good teacher example: “Not having the entire week of Thanksgiving off is so beat.”


I have a unique perspective on teaching. As a young guy, I still have that “world is my oyster” perspective on life, so I am more than willing to try new things in the pursuit of happiness. I have always been a naturally happy person and don’t shy away from trying to make others see that it’s easy to be happy! Thus, the blog you’re reading. The main impetus for actually putting all the work in to getting this blog up and running? A coworker stopped me in the hall one day and actually reprimanded me for being so smiley all the time. They actually said that I shouldn’t be so happy as a teacher! My response? Screw that! I SHOULD be happy. I now smile at that coworker EVERY time I see them…and usually say something like, “Isn’t this such great day to be a teacher?!” They don’t usually smile back… Don’t be like them.

Posted in Words teachers don't want to know Tagged with: , ,
2 comments on “Words teachers don’t want to know #3: Beat
  1. Carmen Rogina says:

    I am a teacher at heart – always will be a teacher and smile every morning because I love my job. I will soon be retiring form my current principal position and one of my worries is that there will not be teachers that love their job to take my place. Looking for an upbeat poem to email my teachers I came accross your blog. You made me smile today – knowing there are still some great “real” teachers out there. Enjoy every day!

    • Josh says:

      Thanks so much, Carmen! I’m glad you like the blog. Don’t worry…it’s sometimes hard to find the happy teachers, but we’re out here! :)

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