Using colorful language in the classroom

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    How would you feel about a middle school teacher who dropped a few "bad" words in the classroom? Is it a big deal or no?

    My daughter is still 10 (almost 11) and just started 6th grade. I just don't use curse words unless I'm really, really mad. ;) Neither does my husband - when the kids are around anyway. Therefore, my daughter is a bit shocked that one of her new teachers uses them in the room. According to my daughter and her friends, she doesn't direct them towards students or use them angrily. She just speaks the way she probably does with her friends.

    She's a new teacher and young - early 20s probably. Would you say anything about it or just let it go? I don't want to be a prude or a troublemaker, but I'm not comfortable with it either.
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Say something - it's not right.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I would say something. This is something that will come back to bite her later on down the road.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    You could try talking directly to the teacher, but I believe I would just pass it on to someone in administration so that your daughter isn't singled out for any reason. If you know someone who is the teacher's friend, you could mention it in passing as something that parents are hearing about. That would truly be a kindness.
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We are severely reprimanded if we use that language in our classes in high school, outside of in literature or other curricular material.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Same for me. I may have a lot of colorful language thrown or directed at me, but will not respond in kind. It may have literary value, for sure, but it doesn't have value beyond that except to show your education failed to include the use of a broad and varied vocabulary. If you can't speak without falling back onto profanities, then you didn't get your money's worth at your university - that's what my favorite English teacher had to say on the matter.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I have a very rich vocabulary, but I also swear like a sailor...in the appropriate setting. I think it's really inappropriate for a teacher to swear in front of students. I could make an exception for a teacher who, once in a blue moon, drops something heavy onto her foot and mutters a swear word without thinking. I am much less forgiving of someone who feels that it's appropriate to regularly use that sort of language in front of a captive audience.

    I'd say something to the teacher.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I know the words, but prefer not to use them around students, too. I have even been known to fret when posting and people get to really letting the colorful language fly. As adults, we know what to do with that, but young students don't. It doesn't belong in a room of 10 year olds, imo.
     
  10. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I used a curse word in front of students this year. I told them on the first day that I didn't want them half-a$$ing their work. However, this class is a small class, they're in Grade 11 and I know most of them from previous years, so we have a rapport. It's the one and only time I've ever cursed in front of them.

    Middle school is WAY to young to hear that from a teacher. I would say something, especially if it's habitual.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    There is language appropriate for the setting and this isn't it. The teacher needs to know that speaking in a professional way at work is required, and that news of her verbal patterns are making their way back home.

    I would speak to her about it.

    I've only used inappropriate language on complete accident (like I was trying to say a different word that was similar and the other word slipped out).
     
  12. 1cubsfan

    1cubsfan Companion

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    Is the teacher saying BLEEP words or is she saying words like, "sucks" and "crap" and "friggin'"?

    I teach at a really conservation private school and had a student tattle on me for saying "doggonit" in the classroom. I'm sure I've said crap in the classroom as well. But I would never say one of the "big bads" in any professional environment.
     
  13. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Depends on the words.
     
  14. Sugar

    Sugar Rookie

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    Cuss words, no way. Words like suck and crap are not a major issue to me in the middle grades.
     
  15. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    I remember I had a teacher in 7th grade who, every now and then, would throw in some mild vulgarity, like "p*ssed off." It definitely perked our ears up because it was so novel. Also, we all somehow survived the experience. :whistle:
     
  16. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I had a teacher that when he did something like break chalk would actually say "bleep" in place of the cuss words he wanted to use.
     
  17. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I say "hell" occasionally, but usually in reference to the actual place or repeating what a student said. Actually today, I asked a student "So, what would you do if the king demanded you give him 50% of your income next month?" The student said, "I'd say 'Hell nah!'" A couple of kids (9th/10th grade) gasped, but when I said "ok, but what's going to happen to you when you say 'Hell, nah'?" The kids lost it in hysterics. I don't think that's a big deal, especially with what they hear/say on a daily basis.

    I'd never go beyond that though. I say "crap" and "sucks". My mother always freaked out over "p*ssed", though, so I don't even say that.
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Honestly, I think it depends on the school environment and what is accepted.

    I have worked with numerous teachers over the years who use colorful language, curse and call students names they probably couldn't get away saying in a non-inner city environment. Honestly, none of this seems to be a big deal to students or parents.

    Now, when teachers are cursing at their students, then it may become a problem. Once again, it depends on the child you curse at and their parents' reactions; some will make a big stink about this and others don't.

    Depending on what the teacher said and if she was actually cursing (especially if it is at student); I would probably let it go.
     
  19. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Apparently, she's used the words s**t, a**hole, and g*dd*mn. Lol
     
  20. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Totally unprofessional besides being ignorant of propriety.
     
  21. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Like Caesar, I have both a very rich vocabulary and can swear enough to make a sailor blush, however, there's a time and a place. The classroom is neither. This teacher is young, and is probably trying to be "cool". She should probably be pulled aside by somebody to let her know that this sort of thing is simply not acceptable in a professional environment.
     
  22. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    That's really disturbing. She is supposed to be a role model for the students. She's not there to be their friend; she should be setting the example. I would definitely say something (and something tells me that you won't be the only parent complaining, either... :rolleyes: ) I don't even think it would be appropriate at the high school level, to be honest.

    FWIW, I am in my early 20s and would never, EVER behave in that fashion...even if it wasn't directed towards students, it's inappropriate.
     
  23. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I would bring it up. I don't blink at words like crap, sucks, and ******. I never grew up learning not to say them. I teach HS and the kids see worse in their readings.
     
  24. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    It's not about what's best for the teacher or what the teacher can get away with. It's about what's best for the kids. A rare slip is one thing. "Crap" every other day along with other garden variety awfuls is a pattern. It says to students and teaching in general, "I don't respect you enough to worry about controlling my language."
     
  25. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Several years ago, one of my students said to me, "I'd just like to hear you swear--just once." I told him that he never would. My own children have never heard me use foul language, although most of my friends have, on numerous occasions. The classroom, or around students, is never appropriate.
     
  26. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Wait until she gets to college! I had several great professors who used profanity. One in particular used to cuss up a storm when he went on rants about the government.

    It was more funny than anything though.
     
  27. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Once the student is old enough to pay for their own schooling, they are old enough to speak up for themselves if the profanity bothers them. Just a little different than cursing around 10 year olds.
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    You could've told that student that you don't swear, you affirm.
     
  29. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    I don't swear in the classroom. Sometimes I get a flinch of kids when I say "Hell". I have had students tell me its cursing but when I'm teaching world history and things like the Reformation or mentioning things like Dante's Inferno it feels unavoidable.

    On a side note, one of the best teachers I had in college used to emphasize by saying **** it(D A M N IT) I can still hear him yelling "Scarcity **** it!" We used to crack up but we would remember.

    Sometimes I get fired up in US History. Closest I've ever come to cursing was talking from the perspective of the Sons of Liberty and I almost said that I wanted to kick king george in the a** but I changed it to shins when I realized what I was about to say and pretended to kick the wall. Whole class laughed and they will remember that lecture. :)
     
  30. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Several years ago some of my HS students had a class with some younger (in my eyes) teachers in training. One of them apparently cursed as much as the students have been known to do. They thought this older lady (around 25ish?) was trying to sound cool and it rang false to them. They complained to me. I said yes, doesn't it sound silly? Now you know how I have been feeling when you limit your vocabulary. Hahaha! I try to never curse around them because they curse SO much! and have no sense of how to turn it off. I agree with everyone who said teachers are role models. Sure, we ....mess up. (heh heh) but we should strive to hold ourselves above the middle school level. If you feel comfortable, I don't think it's pushy to talk to your child's teacher about this. Better to hear it from you than a principal.
     
  31. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    I would say something. It's unprofessional. Colorful language has no place in the professional world, especially in working with children.
     
  32. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    This is the same line I heard from high school teachers, and I knew even then it was nonsense. Some of the most thoughtful, eloquent speakers I've ever heard also use profanity on occasion.
     
  33. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    This. Mm is someone I have the utmost respect for on this board. I don't think less of her for using profanity.
     
  34. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I do not use language in my classroom that I would write a student up for saying. That said, I teach high school, so I do use words like, "crap" or "****** off" sometimes for effect, but obviously never directed at a student. Even those mild words I use sparingly.
     
  35. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    Is there honestly anything that makes the word $hit different than crap? I can understand words that are meant to demoralize people or words that are sexually explicit, but we need to get off this nonsense that swearing is some evil.
     
  36. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Personally, I am offended by a person who feels that every other word in their conversation should be a curse word. I have always taught my children to have more respect for themselves. Same thing for teachers in the classroom.
     
  37. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I curse. A lot. I love a good curse word.

    But I never, ever curse in front of my students. I find it completely unprofessional. That and I'm trying to set an example- I don't curse in my classroom, students won't curse in my classroom.
     
  38. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I had an amazing math teacher in high school that used to swear all the time. At the time, we all found it funny, but now I think it's completely inappropriate. I don't think swearing in class automatically makes you a bad teacher, but there are other ways to joke around with students.
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Denotatively, no difference. Connotatively and conventionally, huge difference. (Denotation is literal meaning, more or less; connotation is associative meaning - to borrow current patois, the "feels" that come with the word.) Language communities differ in exactly what they get squeamish about, but they all have SOME things that just can't be named bluntly without risk of giving offense. Sex is a very common taboo area, and you've already conceded that ground. But, across cultures, excrement is another. (I'll venture that the most adamant atheist would hesitate to utter the standard four-letter words or blasphemies in the hearing of a nun - not because the atheist believes the terms bad or blasphemous, but because it Just Isn't The Done Thing.)
     
  40. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    I personally don't say that g word no matter what the context because it is giving credit or blame to something that isn't real. Blasphemy in general is a victim-less crime though.
     
  41. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    Also, my post number 555 had to do with a fictional topic. How ironic. Ha Ha
     

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