Thursday, September 19, 2013

I Drop Knowledge Wherever I Go

I'm a firm believer that everything is a teachable moment.

I'm a teacher.  I teach.  It's what I do.

I don't mind if a kid has a good question that's only sort-of-related to the topic (or even off-topic).  If he's interested, I'll do my best to cover it or investigate it at an appropriate time.

I'm also fairly unafraid to tackle topics that others might shy away from.

Today, while on my conference period,  I popped into a fellow teacher's class to check on his substitute because I had heard she was having some issues.  Not surprisingly, I spent pretty much all period with them.  As I was helping a group with its project, two boys started giggling and pointing secretively at a textbook.

Junior high kids -- boys especially -- have no finesse with the art of subtlety.

Naturally, I take a quick peek and see this phrase, "your a fag".

Now, understand this, I've never seen a set of textbooks last more than a year without some serious graffiti, and I don't think it's just our kids or those books.  It just happens.  I can't even tell you the number of terrible penis drawings I've had to erase or white-out in 14 years.  A few times I couldn't decide if I needed to send these boys to the art teacher for a lesson or to a doctor (because if that's what they were seeing, they might need to consult someone).

But I digress...

I realized that this was, in fact, a teachable moment.  I knew they didn't write it, and the offender wasn't there to hear my lesson.  It didn't matter; there were willing and captive ears.  We talked quietly about how offensive that word is, and I compared it to a few other slurs that they themselves would not tolerate.  I talked about how unfunny someone else's pain can be -- even just from words.  I asked them to think about how far our nation has come in just a few decades and how far we still had to go when it comes to accepting others.  I talked about how that person (I hoped) was probably just trying to be rebellious and shocking.  I didn't make it a whole lecture; I just wanted them to think and possibly even resist the vandal's urge one day.

And then I pointed out that "your" is a possessive pronoun, and this idiot actually needed the contraction "you're" for "you are".  Good grammar never takes a vacation, even in vandalism.

I mean, if you're going to be an intolerant jackass, at least be an intolerant jackass with good grammar.

2 comments:

  1. Standards, you fag.

    My teachable moment was when Griffin was watching The Cat in the Hat yesterday... "Griffin, if a cat EVER asks you to go somewhere... say, "no."

    I wanted to cover my bases.

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    Replies
    1. Always, always, always sound advice. Always.

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