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Fractured's Message:

I have dealing with some more urban areas as of late. Black male students drop the n word at me all the time. My usual response is to say don't refer to me by that word. Sometimes they say sorry but they still say it all the damn time. Do you guys have any tips on how you deal with this? I know it's used as a term like "bro", but it is so damn disrespectful.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Fractured 11-28-2018 01:24 AM

Airstation- I know you are offering advice,but I don't like that you said I'm not holding it down. I am holding it down in tough schools with little to no support from admin or security or even fellow teachers. If I have a room full of 30 Hs students and if I stop and do this productive member of society routine I would be doing it all day. You do that even for swearing? I hear sixth graders swear now. I can't even tell you how much it happens in high school. If they say it to me it's addressed, but I don't care if they are having a group discussion or something. I hear nigga in the hallway and all over the place. I guarantee if I did what you advised they would not get it and definitely think of it was a put down, because it pretty much is. These kids say sorry for using the word and then use it in the sentence where they are apologizing. They just say it without thinking about it. It's not the hill I really want to die on. You can check out the news for the teachers who have really dug in and gotten into shouting matches and got suspended.

I was looking for a quick way to cut the situation off. They usually stop using the word, and that's good enough for me. I am dealing with students with IEPS and 504s, but I am not usually given that info and have to guess what kind of student and problems I am dealing with just by talking to them for one class period. I hold it down because I don't crap from the kids, but I really don't want to be the 100th person telling them they are not on their way to becoming a good citizen. I'm sure these kids get sh*t on enough at home and in everyday life.

AirStation 11-26-2018 12:28 PM

Sorry those students caught you off guard. But they should have only caught you off guard one time.

You need to make a stand. I personally am deciding not to follow "political correctness" this year, but yes, you have to be careful what you say as the administration will usually not take your side.

Unfortunately, we all have to teach other people how to treat us, as they have NOT received the proper training for this at home. We used to say no "home training," in this case.

If it happens again, and students use disrespectful familiar slang, or swears in any context, "n" word or otherwise, you need to drop the bomb. I am female, and I have to act "like a man" when I do this when subbing, but I do it ALL the time, no one messes with me.

First of all, you need to carry yourself as if you could manage 14 students at one time with some martial arts magic. Why am I telling you this? You are not holding it down. I am not saying swagger all over the place, but walk as if you are a damned U.S. Navy Seal.

Second, when these students come around for the attack, which they will do as they got away with it before, BE READY.

Third, here is what you say. Your tone of voice is nonchalant, quiet, and you only stop long enough to say your peace, then keep going walking to your next class or where ever you have to go.

The exchange will look like this. Kids walk by you, they will see you from a distance, don't worry and they know EXACTLY what they are doing and that it is wrong, yes. They will walk up to you and say whatever, such as "What's up, my n--?" Or whatever they say to you.

At that moment, stop dead in your tracks and look them in the eye. Stop time in the daggone hallway. Say back, "What did you just say to me?" They will be taken aback, you never confronted them before. They will regroup fast, as they don't know if they are in trouble, or if you are able to get them properly in trouble, so they will laugh it off with: "We were just talking," or "Whatever" or "What is the big deal?" something like that.

At which time you are still standing there in your state of shock, staring at them. Then you say this. "I assume your intention is to be a productive citizen in society, and if that is the case, you have some way to go (or say "have a lot to learn")" then pause. As you walk away shake your head. That's all! Exchange OVER.

This will do a couple of things. First, their "rich" role models on social media DO talk like that using "n" word and worse, but you are hinting they won't be productive citizens like this. It is not a put down, all administration can say is that you told them you assumed they would be a productive citizen? You didn't say they would not be, you said you assumed they wanted to be. It is meant to make them think. If they get it, they will change. If they are destined for worse, you can't change their fate, it is a force stronger than you that will pull them down after graduation.

Say less, mean more. Hope this helps.

Fractured 11-23-2018 04:50 PM

Thanks, I will take what you said under advisement. I think if I stop and make a big deal or teachable moment out of it I am setting myself up for a big discussion or argument I might not want to be getting into though.

I don't feel like I can even say the word when using it to say don't call me n****, so I feel very hampered by everything.

I think I might just start saying do you refer to your teacher, parents, other adults like that? I could be setting myself up for smart ass responses, but I think I could then spin it in my favor. I'm surprised no one else responded. Other teachers I have asked at schools seem to ignore it.

Lenment 11-22-2018 03:35 AM

Sadly in many environments, race comes up over and over. I once was in a class and called everything you could ever imagine by the kids. I didn't need this anymore, so got out. My advice is go and find your slice of heaven. Slowly transition into an area where you'll be happier and it's workable. The situation in schools won't get any better. Good luck.

broomrider 11-16-2018 10:44 AM

that might help, only that I'm sorry you are meeting with such rampant disrespect. For survival in the work world there needs to be differentiation in addressing those in authority.

This thought leads me to wonder if you might use it as a teaching moment. To survive in work it's important to use more formal language with those in authority--speaking to everyone with the same amount of informality loses people jobs. People talk to their bosses a bit differently than to their best friend: using some different words (I've never asked a supervisor "how's it hanging"), less familiar body language (I've never lightly punched a principal on the shoulder and I stand farther away than I would with my husband or best friend), etc. I don't stare down a principal when they tell me to do something I don't want to.There is a whole branch of communication called pragmatics that studies what you say to whom, when, and how.

Ruby Payne who writes about generational poverty suggests using the analogy of following different rules for playing different video games or sports. You don't run the basketball in your arms to the end of the court trying to score points as in football. There are different expected ways to communicate with different people in your life.

Limiting your vocabulary and knowledge of how to speak to others, limits your employability, you may do your students a favor to teach them there are situations that call for more formal speech--school and work being two of them. Right or wrong (and that's a whole debate in itself) knowing how to properly address people in authority/bosses and practicing it can help create a student's future.

Well, apparently I do have words. I hadn't answered before because I was hoping someone with more wisdom than I would have something for you. But it's been awhile and no response.
I'm guessing that many are as confounded as I. I hope there's something in what I wrote that might help a few students and maybe give you something of a response. I'm guessing the message might be scoffed at by the students. A few may heed and file for future use.

I do believe that teachers impart more than subject matter. And we should teach and receive respect.

Fractured 11-15-2018 05:22 PM

I have dealing with some more urban areas as of late. Black male students drop the n word at me all the time. My usual response is to say don't refer to me by that word. Sometimes they say sorry but they still say it all the damn time. Do you guys have any tips on how you deal with this? I know it's used as a term like "bro", but it is so damn disrespectful.

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