Students (probably) cursing you out in a different language?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, May 14, 2017.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 14, 2017

    My lovely jewel of a student who I've had wonderful interactions with all year (sarcasm) recently responded to being asked to follow instructions by speaking in Mandarin. (We teach Mandarin at our school and some kids take it.)

    Knowing this student he probably wasn't saying anything nice, but unfortunately, Mandarin is not on my list of languages that I can understand even a little bit. (I can understand when someone is cursing at me in Spanish or German though!)

    He could be just saying random words in Mandarin to get a reaction. Or he could be cursing. Since I was unable to tell I just decided to ignore it (though his buddies chortled around him after he said it).

    If he does it again at an inappropriate time, I'll give him a consequence for disrupting the class, but if he really is cursing then I'd be letting him get away with something inappropriate too. I could record it and all and bring it to the Mandarin teacher, but eh. It's very hard to accurately hear and spell out Mandarin words for Google translate by the way, because they have all of the tone nuances and such.

    I've also been playing around with a mischievous idea in case he does it again.

    I don't speak Vietnamese, but I grew up around it so I can mimic the sounds pretty well, and I know nobody in my class speaks that language, so I was thinking about speaking authentic sounding nonsense words/sounds in Vietnamese back at him just for kicks to see the look on his face. I know that's not very professional and all, but it might be worth a few laughs. I also learned a few Mandarin curses of my own (in the process of trying to figure out what he was saying through Google), but I won't do that. lol.

    What would you do in this situation? Ignore? Report it to admin/parent/Mandarin teacher? Mess with his head?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
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  3. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    May 14, 2017

    Count the days until the school year is over and let it go.
     
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  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I fully plan to let the last instance go if it doesn't repeat itself. My concern is if this behavior becomes repeated. We get out later than most schools (3rd week in June) so we have a little more than a month left. xP Don't really want to put up with that for a month.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    My response is "English only - school policy." It gives you a valid reason to write him up.
     
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  6. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Rookie

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    Give him a death stare and say, "I know Ms MandarinTeacher is not teaching you THAT in 2nd period."
     
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  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I would tell him that whatever he is saying, he is clearly distracting his peers and the class and he needs to stop.
     
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  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I doubt we have that policy. (We don't even have a cell phone policy.)
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 14, 2017

    Let it go.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    [​IMG]
    This should be my motto.
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Hmm...I wouldn't say this. What about students that speak other languages? And clearly they are learning other languages in another classes. Honestly, I would just say that he is distracting his peers or off task without worrying about the language.
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    Surprisingly, if a student who can speak English chooses to speak a language that the staff is not expected to understand, it can, and usually is, a matter of safety. You think they are cursing you out, while there is just as much reason to suspect that whatever they are talking about could concern school/pupil safety, so you have the right to limit in class communication to English. I had students speaking Spanish to negotiate drug deals, so no more Spanish. They could have just as easily been plotting to blow up the school. I bet if you ask the right administrators, and voice concern that the utterances seem as if they could be veiled threats, you will find someone who will back you up. Speaking another language when English is the primary language is rude at best, oppositional in all likelihood.
     
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  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    My statement is clearly aimed at all students, including ESL students. They can talk among themselves when on task, to understand, but when they speak English well and switch languages on purpose, to keep the teacher out of the loop, that is a very different matter. Since the teacher this student is speaking to does NOT speak Mandarin, there is nothing to be gained by his actions. If it would make you feel better, add that the Mandarin teacher will be very anxious to give more work, since this student is trying the language outside of the language class. I don't believe that a native English speaker gets to be rude and insolent just because the school offers language courses. I've never met a science teacher who teaches in every language that is offered by the school. For all you know, this "darling" just threatened to kill you. Nothing to laugh about, in my book.
     
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  14. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    May 15, 2017

    I'm writing from an elementary teacher's perspective, so I'm sure things are a bit different in a secondary situation, but I would caution about being meticulous in reactions to such behavior, especially when the student has an audience. The student will react to avoid losing face and/or to promote him/herself.

    This reminded me of when I worked at a multi-cultural camp. We had a couple of campers from Russia. The older camper taught me some Russian words, such as how to say hello. I thought I'd surprise his younger brother one day by greeting him in Russian. When the younger brother fell over laughing, I knew I'd been tricked. I laughed and said, "Oops!" and asked what his older brother had really taught me to say, but he never did tell me. Of course, that was a different situation; I just took it with a sense of humor.
     
  15. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Groupie

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    BEST.ADVICE.EVER!
     
  16. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    There you go. Simple and brilliant.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    eh - why does it really matter? It's kind of like a person throwing a punch but missing by a mile. Does the intent really impact you? No, it doesn't. A kid cussing at a teacher doesn't do a thing for him if the teacher doesn't know about it. That's especially so if you make it known that really don't care. As far as you're concerned, he's speaking gibberish.
     
  18. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Ignore.

    When I had students say things in Spanish ad I had an idea that it was probably inappropriate, I told them they needed to stop, because I don't understand it and I'm going to assume that it's the worst things possible and that's how I'm going to write it up. I was bluffing and I sounded mean (not emotional, just basically very strict) and it probably helped that they were on probation. They stopped.

    In your case I would just ignore or give a very quick command, "English only". Anything else you do you're stooping to their level.
     
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  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    The only problem is I foresee rebellion if I say "English only". My other language speaking students would likely find this unfair. The student in question if I responded with a simple "cut it out or you're facing a lunch detention" would probably get really defensive saying things like "I was only saying _____, blah, blah." It's not a struggle I really want to get into.

    I feel like responding in a different/fake language might keep the ordeal lighthearted, and likely cause him to stop because he doesn't know what I might be saying about him. He might realize how annoying it is and stop because of that too. It would be an eternal mystery, and everyone would probably ask me what I said, and I'd just give a knowing look. </imagination>
     
  20. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    But all students should be speaking English in the classroom so it's not really that unfair.
    I wouldn't waste any time on this kid, otherwise you're just feeding the problem. He wants a reaction, and you're ready to give it to him. Ignore.
     
  21. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I have to agree with Linguist. Part of the EL process is learning how to learn in their second language. They can speak their L1 in the halls or at lunch.
     

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