A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"If you can't say something nice, come and sit by me."

Our school has actually been trying to take security more seriously-- hallelujah! and 'bout time! -- and so we've all been asked to do our bit.

Therefore, I do voluntary hall duty-- but not because I'm trying to suck up, or because I'm daft, but because I have actually found that I get to know the students I see throughout the day and I (shhhhh) enjoy speaking with them and making sure that they see that adhering to a standard of behavior is not that bad. Usually, several boys who can be kind of hard-boiled and I shoot the breeze in a spirit which is equal measures of bonhomie and the iron-fist-in-the-velvet-glove. Or is it the velvet-fist-in-the-iron-glove? I think they're both right.

So there I stand, a lone sentinel for truth, justice and the cessation of f-bombs each revoltingly early morning while the administrators stand in a corner with their backs to the kids and tell jokes until it's finally time to shoo the kids off toward their classrooms, at which point several of the APs scatter like a bucket of Skittles dropped from a second-story window, lest they be actually forced to actually chivvy said kids along, this being apparently too mundane a task for any but the lowly to take up. I especially like it when they are wandering around in the hallway and make a U-turn when they see me. Am I that intimidating? I thought I only was to kids, but since many of our APs are about 22, maybe I still have the ol' magic. Perhaps the mischievous twinkle in my eye freaks them out. It's almost amusing.

About five feet away from the gaggle of ersatz adults is a pod of very loud girls. The other day-- while the others studiously looked the other direction-- I had to have a conversation with a young female person who insists of screaming out at her friends using the term reserved for a female dog. I called her over and calmly explained to her about using her indoor voice and not to insult her friends.

"Why not? Girlfriend don't care," was her response to this request. Girlfriend nodded her head.

So we had a bit more conversation, in which I asked her if she liked it when boys called HER that, and she replied animatedly in the negative. Therefore I explained that when one uses a term which one will not tolerate directed at oneself, one encourages one's audience to find that word acceptable. After a bit more explanation and chewing it over, she stopped trying to debate me, made noises to placate me, and went on her way. Who knows whether anything got through, but I gave it the ol' college try.

I call it the "Don Imus" rule. Basically, don't make a term a part of your vocabulary if you wouldn't want your mother or sister called that term. If Don had done that, he wouldn't be the walking joke that he currently represents to the American public. But I suppose that's just a crazy idea for someone who makes their living the way he used to.

I'm just sayin'.

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3 Comments:

At 5/8/07, 10:38 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

Good for you! I HATE it when girls call each other the B word. It's sooo demeaning.

 
At 5/9/07, 7:00 AM, Anonymous mrschili said...

"at which point several of the APs scatter like a bucket of Skittles dropped from a second-story window, lest they be actually forced to actually chivvy said kids along"

LOVED this image. It described EXACTLY what they do! Nicely put, Ms. C.

Teaching kids about the power of language is a difficult task. Thanks for taking it on.

 
At 5/9/07, 9:36 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

At least it wasn't the C word, because then, I might have lost it.

Thanks mrschili; there is no WAY I'm going to let language like that pass.

 

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