Thursday, February 3, 2011

when I said a bad word in front of children and got exactly what I deserved

Last school year I tutored groups of four students in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade in reading at a local public school.  I loved the work and the kids.  I especially enjoyed my 3rd-graders; they understood my weird sense of humor and we had a lot of fun together.  We enjoyed a rapport that is hard to have in larger classrooms, and most of the time I learned and laughed and goofed around right along with them.

One day, however, they were in an especially silly mood, and I was especially not in one.  After telling them multiple times to quiet down and trying several different ways to get and keep their attention, I finally yelled, "You guys are pissing me off!!!"  Immediately all four boys pointed to me and said, "Ooooo, you said a bad word!  Oooooo!" etc. etc.  They all laughed and carried on - I took a little creative license with the picture.  Eventually we were able to move on and have an actual lesson.

A few days later, my boss called and asked me to come to her office and meet with her.  Now, a week or two before, she'd asked me to do something for her that I felt was more of an administrative duty rather than a teaching one.  I'd had similar duties when I taught full-time, and I was glad to be free of them.  I politely declined my boss's request, explaining why.  She said okay, and didn't mention it further.  So when she called me and wanted to meet, I had of course forgotten about my recent indiscretion and immediately assumed she wanted to ask me to take on more administrative duties.  I thought about that a bit and decided I just wanted to teach.  So I headed to her office, full of myself and determined to stand my ground.

When I got to her office, we sat down and she opened with, "I heard you said 'pissed' in front of some students; is that true?"  Oh.  Is that why I'm here?  Oops.

After a beat, I said, "Yes, that was me.  Actually I said 'pissing.'"  Apparently, regardless of its form, the word "piss" is in the public school teacher's handbook along with a list of other words that are banned from the school.  Who knew?  I agreed that I shouldn't have said that and would try to control myself in the future.  There goes my future as an educational bigwig, dagnabbit!


  1. Oh no! I remember being in third grade, and a substitute called us idiots. It was the biggest scandal of the year, I swear! Okay, I didn't actually intend to have that pun. That being said, from my experiences with my sons' schools, I thought that this had become less of an issue, and not as strictly enforced.

  2. I work at school, and once in a while, something slips out. Like a "Holy Crap!" Really, I didn't use the 'S' word, but you would have though I did. Oops, my bad.
    - great post - Stopping in from MK's