Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tempest in a Teacup: The "F" Word

The following story was told to me by Bill Sainz, at teacher with the Eaton Rapids School District.

One of the shop teachers, in a moment of excitement slipped and said "the F word".

There was no immediate reaction from the students.  The teacher moved on.

That night, email in-boxes filled up:  The teacher's, the principal's, maybe even central office's.  Reactions from parents and grandparents were concern, dismay, condemnation....even a touch of hysteria.

Early the next morning, the teacher was pulled aside and asked, "What were you thinking?"

He tried to explain.

In the end, the administration did the only thing they could.  They counselled the teacher but stood behind him.

Some of their reasoning was that students will hear all kinds of words and need to be resilient learners.

I remember picking up my five year old daughter at daycare and hearing all of the George Carlin words used in one sentence...including the ones with the hard consonant sounds.  These kids have been exposed to every word imaginable.  They are tougher than you think.

There is also the issue of community standards.  Eaton Rapids has many carpenters, machinists, tool makers, plumbers and so on.  The "F" word is one they use nearly every day.

Regardless of the outcome the entire process was a bit discomforting to the teacher.

That is the last time he will say "Fractions" in shop class.

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