Monday, October 09, 2006

I've told you mine

I come from a long line of salty-tongued women. We swear. I'm not talking Jerry Springer "eff this, and eff that, you effing effer eff face" kind of swearing. No, I'm talking about the much more refined art of peppering one's talk with some candid language.

Having said that, I am very careful about what I say in front of my children, although as they are getting a bit older, I've been known to let a few hells and damns loose- especially in traffic. I can't help myself.

I have also always chosen my words very carefully in the classroom. Under the watchful eyes of teenagers, I check my zipper and watch my language almost obsessively. (I'm also pretty good about spinach in the teeth, smeared eye makeup and anything that may remotely be misconstrued as a booger.)

But, I am human, and so are my colleagues, and, I'm guessing, so are you. Every once in a while, things fly out one's mouth and would that we were robots, we could rewind and erase them. But we are not. I was telling my students why I hate pinatas. I was getting to the part about not wanting to be in a room where blindfolded kids whack the hell out of something and in my mind, a voice was screaming, "Say heck! Say heck! Say heck!" and , I said hell.

These are my colleague's stories, which are much better than mine, so I told mine first.

At parent conferences, a parent approached my colleague and said, "We don't appreciate your swearing at the students in class." My colleague, bewildered, asked what she meant. "Little know-it all Daughter claims you said the "b" word."
"Oh! I know what she's referring to! The kids had played a game and were just horrible, so the next day I told them that because they had bitched and moaned so much, we wouldn't be playing any more review games."
"Well!", sniffed the mother, "WE do not talk like that at our house and my daughter was very offended by that."
Now, I personally wouldn't ever SAY "bitched and moaned" to my students in reference to their behavior, but in the grand scheme of things, this really wasn't that bad, and if Little Miss Prissy Pants is going to get her undies all in a wad about that, she will not survive. I guess the thing that bothers me about this situation is the "I'm going to tell on my teacher" mentality. If this were a teacher who repeatedly, day after day, swore at her students, then I would say yes, this is a situation that needs to be addressed. But this? Come on.

Another colleague was reading a student the riot act for coming in late for the 20th time this term, and instead of getting right to work, he pulled out 3 cans of pop and a BOX of Ho-Ho s. And proceded to eat them. Until his teacher yelled "What are you doing?!! If I were you, I'd be thinking 'Shit! I'm already late, I really need to come in and get to work so I don't get in even more trouble! I'd be thinking I need to do some work so I can pass this class!" His response? "I was hungry!" Ok, Spiccoli, why don't you go visit Mr. Hand down the hall? After her rant, my colleague did turn to the rest of the class and ask "Did I just swear? Sorry."

I've heard tales about teachers completely lose it and let all kinds of stuff fly. I've heard of coaches who really give it to their players.
What are your tales? I know you've got some good ones.


Blogger MsAbcMom said...

My story has probably happened a million times...

As a second grdae teacher, I teach word families. For example, words that end in -ing or -ed, or all words that end in -all, -in etc. When I teach these families, we try and look for all kinds of words that fit into these categories. bright and sunny day I was teaching -it family words. I was going down my list of consonants, and consonant blends and saying them in front of -it and didn't think to skip "sh." I didn't even catch it until one of the kids said "oooh teacher said shit!"

10/09/2006 10:13 PM  
Blogger Adeline said...

Yeah I was having technical difficulties with a VCR (geez, I KNOW how these things operate) while an older student (like 20--in high school still) heard me finally blurt out "shit!"

Immediately looked at him and apologized but he seemed bewildered, what for? he asked. Apparently he hadn't had the lesson from his friends in English swear words, either that or the word was common in his home.

I refer to swearing so the students don't think i live in a pink world where bad language and teenage pregnancy doesn't exist.

My biggest no-no in my first year was using art books to teach paragraph writing and one of the pictures was a naked guy painted up--he wasn't wearing a shred of clothing under his paint, thus it was all hanging out, though painted. Wouldn't you know the principal happened by. I nearly pooped my pants and thought I was going to be canned. Keith Harrell? is that his name?

10/09/2006 11:26 PM  
Blogger Adeline said...


i think it was a photo of a keith haring drawing...or something.

10/09/2006 11:28 PM  
Blogger NYC Educator said...

A parent comes in, and is told that his child is swearing all over the place.

"Well it's not us," replies the parent. "It's the %#^&ing neighbors."

10/10/2006 7:06 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I had a kid in my car...first time to our house, and a guy cut me off and I yelled, "YOU FUCKER!"... and then did my "shit,shit,shit" routine...

The poor kid's eyes were wide.

I had to cop to his mother and fortunately she laughed and assured me it was not the first time he had heard such words!

10/11/2006 12:58 AM  
Blogger Kevin Charnas said...

That parent that was upset about the "bitch and moan" comment? Does she know that "jeepers" used to be considered a swear word?

Too bad that she didn't just lean over to her so that only the two of them could hear and say, "Listen, sweetheart, just between me, you and the woodwork, I really don't give a fuck."

10/12/2006 10:38 PM  
Blogger ms-teacher said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/12/2006 11:35 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Wow. The "bitching and moaning" complaint is ridiculous. People who act all sanctimonious about that stuff are SO phony. I mean, really. How did her preshus daughter KNOW it was a swear word? WHERE had she heard it before?

One a different note, I did get in trouble in eighth grade for saying "Hell" in front of a bunch of 4th graders. And the teacher who reprimanded me didn't even say "hell." She said, "I heard you said H-e-double toothpicks." My, how times have changed!

10/20/2006 4:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home