Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Not taking advantage of euphemisms

So it finally happened.  Tuesday morning, 8:00, and we had a group of visitors from Laura Secord Secondary School.  And they issue that they were dealing with was crowd control.  Well, I heaved a huge sigh of relief and thoroughly loved the presentation.  In general, they advised to clear up the rules early, apply them evenly, give your students some measure of control over what gets included, and most importantly, base them on respect.  Between the principal, one of the more established teachers, and a newer teacher, our class finally got an opportunity to get some practical advice and start to consider these issues ahead of time.

And among the situations that were raised, was one that a few of have asked about among ourselves.  What do you do when a student tells you to ... um ... well ... you know.  Well, this thought experiment remained unanswered until a presentation today on classroom management.  Within the presentation, the presenters put at the top of their list of rules, "no profanity."  As usual, my mind started churning through possibilities and came up with a few conditions that got me thinking a bit about an absolute ban.

Of course, if my school's policy was no swearing, then I would enforce it.  Were the swearing directed at me or another student, well, that's an issue of respect and therefore I would deal with it.  But with the amount of swearing that occurs in pop culture, the 'f' word has become so commonplace in today's world I'm not sure it's worth more than a partial dose of the teacher stare.  If the student uses them a wee bit too much in conversation, then they would receive an end of class reminder of the 'in-law / favourite grandmother' speech.

(oh, my favourite grandmother / in-law rule is either:  try to speak in class as you would speak to your favourite grandmother or pretend that you've got a new girlfriend / boyfriend with strict parents and you're meeting them for the first time)

But, when it comes to the occasional, 'it just slipped out' utterance, I have bigger fish to fry.  And my main reason for this is, stuff happens.  Given the state of my knees, if I bang my right knee on a desk, I would like to state my disapproval like Jeeves does...
Or perhaps, string together my standard slate of expletives using my inside voice.  If I did say something out loud, I'd really like to think that I'd remember my euphemisms; but if I didn't, I wouldn't want to be caught breaking one of my own class rules.

I'm hoping that I'm not being unrealistic, and that by not clamping down immediately I'm not inviting a problem later on in the year.  Perhaps time will cure me of my optimism, but for now, I'd rather rely on the students to police themselves than to open myself up to a 'do as I say, not as I do' situation.

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