Friday, September 22, 2006

A *ucking Story

When one of the kids comes up to tattle on one of the other kids for using the F word, it usually turns out to be “fart.” Similarly, the S word is usually “shut up” or “stupid.” Cursing happens, though, and here’s my favorite story on the topic.

M was one of the cutest girls I’ve ever had in my class, and one of the most challenging. She came to me with an ODD diagnosis, and as the year went on it was looking more and more like pre-adolescent bipolar disorder, which I never would have believed in if I hadn’t had her. One second she would be sweet and loving; the next she was biting you and throwing her desk around the room; the next she was sobbing uncontrollably.

One day we’re lining up for lunch and M comes up and starts pulling on my sleeve.

“Mr. Rain! Mr. Rain!”
“Honey, please go back to your seat so we can get lined up.”
“But Mr. Rain, it’s really important!”
(eyes rolling, deep breath) “OK, M…what is it?”
“Mr. Rain…I *ucking hate math!”

The world stopped. It was one of those long, timeless, eternal moments where you earnestly hope that you’ll just disappear and that what happened didn’t. A thousand thoughts run through your head…what do I do? How do I handle this? We hadn’t even done any math that morning! Oh my God, did she really say that? Did the other kids hear? This is first grade! Move, you idiot, you have to do something! Act!

So I said the absolute dumbest thing that I could have said in that situation:


Bless her heart, she thought I didn’t hear her. To make up for it she screams at the top of her lungs,


The “mmm” is what she sounded like after I tackled her and put my hand over her mouth. I carried her across the hallway to the behavior room and asked her where she had heard that word; apparently, she’d picked it up on the neighborhood playground. I think her mom fainted dead away when I called her up to tell her what happened.

Every now and then I'll get some scatology ("Mr. Rain, there's *hit all over the bathroom!" said one excited boy last year), and every year there's one little guy who has to push the limits by saying ass, but for the most part they're so awed by words like that they can't even imagine saying them.

All things considered, I’ll take fart and stupid. I can handle those.


Blogger Michelle said...

Wow. At first I thought I was reading about an older child, and I was freaking out. Still. You have a lot of patience.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

My favorite incident similar to this was when I overheard one of my seventh graders swearing. I gave him That Look, and his first instinct was to say, "Oh *hit," because he was busted. When he realized what he said THAT time, it was a case of bright red embarrassment. The hardest part for me was to not laugh out loud.

4:03 PM  
Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

You just never know what they're going to say-- which is why I like to give them as little time to say something as possible.

2:42 PM  
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5:08 AM  

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