Friday, March 4, 2011

The G Word

Spend enough time around First Graders and you get quite a few, Teacher, she said the ‘s’ word or the ‘st’ word or the ‘sh’ word.  I am always curious to hear what these words are so I always ask.  Most kids are reluctant to spill the beans about these “bad” words for fear of getting in trouble.  Others, though, will gladly give it up if only for a chance to take a walk on the wild side and get a free pass at saying a “bad” word. 

We had a "bad" word ditty earlier in the year, and it went down like this:

Student 1 (points accusingly at Student 2) and says, "Mrs. J., he said the

Student 2 (shrugs) and says: "I did not!"

Now, I have been teaching 11 years, and I have two teenagers, and I have never heard the “g-word” before, so I ask student 1 to tell me what the
“g-word” is. He won't tell me. I tell him he can whisper it in my ear and I promise he won't get in any trouble. Nope, he's not having it.

Finally, Student 2 says, "I swear to God I didn't say anything bad."

Student 1: "See, that's it. Did you hear that word...the one that started with g, that's the one I was talking about."

God?  Is he serious?  Since when is God a bad word?  This is new to me.  And here’s my dilemma:

If I say, "Oh, God isn't a bad word" then Student 1 goes home and says, "Mommy, Daddy, Mrs. J. says it's okay to say God" and then I get a call about why I am teaching religion in school.

If I say, "Oh, perhaps we should say 'gosh' instead of 'God'" then Student 2 goes home and says, "Mommy, Daddy, Mrs. J. said God is a bad word" and once again I get a call about why I am teaching religion in school.

Seriously people, stuff like this happens all the time.  We teachers really have to mind our p's and q's more than most folks. 

This little ditty is a classic example of a no-win situation if ever there was one.  I decide to try and distract them a bit, so I say, "Look, there's an elephant on the playground. Hah, made you look!"

Okay, I totally made up the part about the elephant, but I did do what any good teacher will do…I gave them my most thoughtful, "Hmmm" and a big fat smile, and I changed the subject!

By the way, in case you’re wondering, and I know you are, the ‘s’ word and the ‘st’ word are “stupid” and the “sh” word is “shut up.”  Ahh…gotta love that 6-year-old innocence!

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