As an 8th grade reading teacher, I learned early on that you have to choose your words wisely. I read aloud to my students on a regular basis, and I have to stay on constant alert; editing phrases, or rewording things to prevent the snickers and giggles, or inappropriate discussions that could follow. If the story says, “We had a dinner of franks and beans,” it instantly becomes, “We decided to cook out.” “We sat down and enjoyed a slice of pizza with a nice tossed salad,” becomes, “We ordered pizza.”
Today, while Katniss and Peeta were being questioned about their relationship in The Hunger Games, Peeta asks, “Well now that you’ve got me, what are you going to do with me?” (The class is already giggling, so I think quickly, changing her response of, “I’ll put you somewhere you can’t get hurt,” to “I’ll keep you safe.”
Although my word censorship might seem a little to excessive, when you are surrounded by a room full if immature dirty minds, it could end up in a total disaster. Today I overheard another teacher teaching lesson on synonyms.
I start to gather my things to move to a quiet place to work…
Teacher: “Today we are going to talk about synonyms; words that have similar meanings. Today’s words relate to wetness.”
…and I’m staying…
Teacher: “If we look at these words: damp, wet, soggy, moist, drenched, soaked, dripping…”
The smirks have made their way across the room.
Teacher: “These words all have to do with being wet, but can represent different degrees of wetness…”
As the teacher directs his attention to a student’s question, a boy yells out…
Student 1: “I got Jessica wet… with my hose.”
Although the teacher did not hear his comment, the other students have heard quite clearly.
Jessica has a look of repulsion on her face, as the teacher directs his attention back to the class and joins in the conversation which he clearly does not understand.
Teacher: “Good. Now how wet are we talking here? Which word would you use?
Student 2: “Well, his hose isn’t very big so I’m guessing not very wet.”
Teacher: “So would you say it was a little moist, or was it more like drenched or soaked.”
Another student, who always seems to be a few steps behind- do to his limited vocabulary, pipes up…
Student 3: “Or soggy? What does soggy mean? Could it have been soggy?”
At this point I do stand up and give the kids my “teacher stare” and the discussion comes to a rather abrupt halt.