jump to navigation

The “S” Word August 7, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Teaching.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

You obviously have a dirty mind.  I’m a teacher so don’t even get me started. Teachers don’t even THINK of using bad language.  We’re role models 24/7 so that might explain why so many teachers burn out before they hit the five-year mark.  I’d like to hear you say, “Darn it!” when you slam your finger in a door.  Say it for five years and with feeling, darn it!

When people swear, it’s because they have a poor vocabulary and can’t think of a more appropriate word to use.  If you buy that line, then have I got a real estate deal for you.

It’s bad enough that some of my students have a chronic case of potty mouth.  “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” I ask, feigning disbelief. Then there are the students who tattle on someone because they said the dreaded “S” word.  

When I was a newbie, I naively asked, “Does the “S” word rhyme with ‘it’?” The kid stood there and I could tell he was going through the entire alphabet in his head – bit, cit, dit, fit…  After what seemed like an eternity, he said, “No, it rhymes with ‘upid,'”  Oh yeah, THAT “S” word.  I thought he meant…. But then I obviously have a dirty mind.

I don’t swear like a sailor, but being in a classroom and being a Role Model presents challenges.  Sometimes THOSE words just slip out. But, I’ve found ways to minimize the damage (for the sake of students and my career).  So if one of THOSE words slips out, here’s how to turn that lemon into lemonade. Drink up.

“Shit….arsky!”  – If the kids look at you oddly, explain that you religiously watch Starsky and Hutch in reruns and sometimes they’re collectively referred to as “Shitarsky.”  All they’ll remember is that you do something “religiously.” Whew!  

A variation on the above is “Holy…moley, guacamole!”  This is my trademarked expression, so use this at your own risk.

“Hell…o operator!”  – I got this one from some incredibly INSERT “S” WORD HERE cheer that cheerleaders did at my high school.

“Jeez…Louise!” – Kids don’t even ask about this one as it naturally rolls off the tongue.  I had a little boy who blurted out “Jesus!” twice last year and I just took to raising my hands and shouting, “Hallelujah!” and moved on.

“Damn…atian, as in 101!” – Any reference to the movie 101 Dalmatians is a slam-dunk.  If you immediately begin humming Cruella de Vil, your students will most likely burst into song.  

“Crap…ola, Crayola!” – Tell kids to immediately get out their crayons as you’re going to do an impromptu art project.  They’ll be so excited about doing art, they’ll come to think of that as the brand of crayons they’re using. 

I can think of no substitute for the “F” word, but you could try F&*k…i-delic and tell students it’s similar to Funkadelic, which is a style of music.  If you smile and start dancing “funky-style” you might get away with this, but why risk it?  Don’t be INSERT “S” WORD HERE!

Also, never underestimate the power of the English language to confuse. When students tell me they “lost” their homework,” I’m in the habit of saying, “Bummer.” I say it like a surfer dude and then have them write their name under “Benched” on the board.  One year the mother of a Spanish-speaking student confessed that her daughter thought I was saying a bad word until a neighbor assured them it had nothing to do with your backside.  Ouch!   I apologized for the misunderstanding.  Now I explain what “bummer” means, but it would help if those Webster people put it in the dictionary.

If you follow these simple tips, you too can kiss your mother with that mouth – guilt-free.