Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lessons Learned: "Bad" Words

I've been reflecting lately on some of the lessons I've learned since becoming a teacher that they DON'T teach you in classroom management. Here's one of them: When a student tells you that another student said a "bad" word, do a little investigating. The word is not always what you think!
Yesterday I had reports in back to back classes of students saying bad words. The first report was that a student used "the 'b' word", and after talking to both students in the hallway, the word you're thinking was confirmed.
In the next class period, a student told me another used "the 't' word". I was so confused trying to come up with a bad word that started with the letter "T". I tried asking her to spell the word, to tell me something that rhymed with it, to whisper it in my ear so I could figure out what really happened. She refused, only telling me "it's inappropriate" and "it's a bad word".
The accused denied having said a bad word. He told me that he told another student, who laughed about it, that he looked like a turtle. My theory? I think he either said "turd" or she thought she heard it. Either way, not a nice word, but certainly not a "bad" word in my book.

On a slightly related note, you should also investigate when it appears as though a bad word is written on artwork. A student was checking in with me when he thought he was finished with a painting. It appeared that the "f" word was written on his artwork, and I was shocked! I asked who wrote it, and he immediately looked confused. That's when I remembered that I was speaking to a 1st grader, who had drawn what appeared to be a truck on his paper. He had tried to label his drawing, left out the "r", and accidentally made his "t" curve at the top.

Summary: Take a minute to think and investigate. The "bad" word may not be what you think! :)

1 comment:

  1. Very true! I get the same thing all the time... unless I think something major is going on or I heard the word myself( in which I will casually take the student aside and quietly discuss why it is inappropriate ) when another student wants to let me know that "Z" said a bad word I will say, well maybe you misunderstood what they said." or" If that's true I'm surprised, I know "Z" would never use language like that. He knows how inappropriate it is." (all the time I am looking at the student in question with my serious teacher look) " ...we will give them the benefit of doubt, but if it happens again please let me know..." that usually does the trick. Most of the time it's something silly like someone said the word " stupid" ! :)