Friday, 16 November 2007

Fuck You!

I already mentioned earlier this week that I would do a post on "Fuck You!" and here it is. I already had a comment about it from one friend. She said that the joke I posted doesn't fit in to the whole style of this Blog. I agree, but there was method behind it and today it will become clear.

Recently my students have started saying "Fuck You!" in class. It doesnt happen that often, but it should not happen at all. What they are doing more often is throwing the middle finger around as if it is a greeting. Keep in mind that these children are only 12 years old.

I know what you're thinking. Children of that age know all the swearwords, right? Keep this in mind. Their English is not nearly at the level ours was when we were their age. Even though I was speaking Afrikaans at that point "Fok Jou!" is exactly the same thing. It even sounds almost the same. I KNOW the students know its the wrong thing to say or do, but I am pretty sure they have no true idea of why.

Last week I had had enough of it. I told a boy not to say it again and 5 minutes later he shouted it to another student so loudly that I coul hear it across the room. I wrote a letter to the boy's home teacher and together with an English teacher they came to explain that he heared the other boys say it but that he doesn't really know what it means. This is why I decided to ask permission and do a lesson about "Fuck You!" without trying to sweeten it up for them.

So far this week I have done only four groups out of the 12 who should hear the lesson. Only four because not surprisingly my schedule has been changed and I didn't have any class for the first three days of the week. That is the nice kind of schedule change.

For the ones who did hear the lesson I must say that it was one of the most interesting reactions I have had to a lesson so far. It ranged from absolute quiet while they do some actual listening, to taking it as a sign that they can say it all through the lesson because it is OK.

By the end of the lesson, though, I do make it quite clear that if I hear them say it again then they will only come back to my classroom if it's with their parents. This is so that the parents also know why the student need to apologise to me.

I don't need an apology from their parents. They can give the students some stick at home, but I feel it is to late for their parents to do anything about it. I just want the students to realise how seriously I'm taking it. If it is going to change then it will have to be from the students side.

I include a link to the Presentation I used. I will be sure to keep it and improve it for next year because I am sure that it will happen again. Note that the story of where the word comes from is most likely not true, but it is still a good story.

Download the "Fuck You!" Presentation

Lastly I will show you another reason why I felt I needed to to this lesson. You would think the parents of this primary school boy would do something, but it seems they either don't care or they think it is oh so funny. The photo was forwarded to me from a South African teacher here. (I blurred the face myself though)

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