Be careful making rash promises...

I cannot stand when students use the word gay as an insult. It. Drives. Me. Crazy. My kids learn very quickly that they don’t want to use that word in front of me, because they’re going to get called out on it at a minimum, and if necessary, I will make a great big fucking deal out of it until I get my point across. Few sixth graders want to have anything about their lives made into a great big fucking deal.

Seventh graders, on the other hand…

This is a battle I fight CONSTANTLY with the Charmer. Though he is in many ways a great kid, he’s pretty homophobic. He and I have talked about it, and he says he doesn’t have a problem with gay people, just why do they have to be so flaming?

So I’m working on the general homophobia, but in the meantime, I’m trying on the language. I correct him on it every single damn time he uses it.

A few days ago, I was fed up with it. One of his friends said something, I don’t even remember what, and the Charmer looked at him and sneered, “Dude, you’re gay.”

I stopped the conversation. “Charmer. I’m serious. That word is not okay to use as an insult. You can insult your friends, whatever, I’ve worked through that, use whatever word you want, but you are NOT allowed to call them gay. STOP IT.”

The Charmer looked at me. “I can call them whatever I want?”

Here’s what I assumed he’d go with: Stupid. Idiot. Loser. Something insulting – whatever worked, as long as it wasn't gay. I was wrong, and I walked right into it, and I couldn’t even really complain, because I’d started it. “Whatever you want.”

The Charmer looked at his friend. He took a breath. He rolled the word around in his mouth as he spoke it, savoring each syllable, each letter. “Cocksucker.”



bonnie K said...

I loved teaching 8th grade but like you, this was a very difficult challenge. I tired to keep my classroom an island of civility but it was difficult and I knew that the world beyond couldn't be controlled.
Still a challenge,

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
Copyright 2009 I'm a Dreamer All rights reserved.
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