Thirty Back-to-School Idioms

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  1. “An A for effort!” – a recognition of effort over achievement
  2. a bookworm – a keen reader
  3. a school of thought – a particular way of thinking, a particular philosophy
  4. a schoolboy error – a foolish mistake (usually made by someone who should have known better)
  5. a show of hands – collecting a vote by asking people to raise their hands in the air
  6. a teacher’s pet – a favourite student
  7. as easy as ABC – very easy
  8. copycat – someone who copies another’s behaviour/clothes/ideas/work
  9. eager beaver – someone who is very keen and hardworking
  10. old school – old-fashioned/traditional (usually said with approval or admiration)
  11. roll call – to find out who is present by calling out names
  12. single file – a line of people standing one behind the other
  13. to bunk off/to cut class – to play truant
  14. to cover a lot of ground – to get through a lot of work
  15. to crack a book – to open a book and study
  16. to draw a blank – to find no conclusions/to receive no response
  17. to drop out – to stop attending school
  18. to fill in the blanks – to supply the missing information (usually on a worksheet when within a school context)
  19. to flunk – to fail
  20. to go back to basics – to return to the essential principles of a subject
  21. to hit the books – to begin to study hard
  22. to know/learn something off by heart – to know something from memory/to memorise something
  23. to learn something by rote – to memorise something without giving any thought to its meaning
  24. to learn the ropes – to learn how to do something/to learn how a place runs
  25. to make the grade – to succeed/to reach the necessary standard
  26. to pass with flying colours – to pass with excellent results/full marks
  27. to put one’s thinking cap on – to think over a problem and try to find solutions
  28. to school someone in something – to educate someone in something
  29. to snitch on/to tell tales – to inform the teacher on another student who is breaking the rules
  30. to teach someone a lesson/to learn your lesson – to punish someone in a way that makes sure they know they have made a mistake/to learn from a previous mistake

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms?

14 Sep 2015
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"This is a fantastic opportunity for our students!  I'm sure Spellzone will be invaluable in helping them to improve their spellings and therefore improve the quality of their writing in all subject areas!"

Teacher, High School, UK