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.


  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.

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