Teacher fail

This story takes place several years ago, but I just found a project the boy involved had done for his regular ed classroom (they had to decorate a heart for the bulletin board, and his heart had a picture of him and said, "I love Mrs. [me]!!"...so of course I kept it) and was thinking about him.  We'll call the boy Bobby, even though it wasn't his name.

At the time, I taught a K/1 combination class, so I had many of my students two years in a row.  That gave me a great chance to get to know them and their families, and we would always start the first grade year ahead of the game because we all knew the routine (and I had a year of experience translating the speech of the kids with poor articulation.  Bobby was one of my veterans and had made huge progress in managing his emotions at school.  Even so, he got really upset while playing with legos during free time and started yelling at one of the other boys.

I had been working with another student across the room and hadn't heard what led up to the incident, so I pulled Bobby aside to talk to him about what had happened.  "He was breaking my shit!!" he yelled when I asked him why he was so upset with his friend.

I can't believe he said "shit" to me...OK...now we have two issues.

"Bobby!" I exclaimed, "You should not be using that word! That is not a nice word for little boys to say."

He looked at me, confused.  We definitely have those times when kids are just repeating things their parents say, not realizing it's a bad word (or, other times, absolutely hilariously revealing), so I asked him, "Do you know what word I'm talking about?"

He shook his head.

"'Shit'," I whispered.  "That's a bad word.  I'm going to have to write your mom a note and let her know you were talking like that." 

He hung his head and went to sit at his desk.  I wrote the note and put it in his folder.  Then we role played some better ways to deal with problems with his friends.  "Isn't that a better way to handle things?" I asked him.

"I guess," he muttered, "but he shouldn't have been messing with my boat."

Boat = shiP.

Oh, shit.


  1. Excellent and funny story! As you can imagine down south here we have some very difficult language articulation issues to deal with. I wish there were more teachers like you willing to deal with it at a young age. By the time they get to college it can be a night mare! Thanks for the chuckle at the beginning of the week!

  2. Haha! Thanks for the smile this morning :) Very funny story!

  3. Funny story, you made me smile. Here we cannot make any mistake: merda/shit (I beg your pardon) and nave/ship.

  4. I'd have asked if I could go on Administrative Leave for a few months after that one!! :)

  5. I LOVE this story!!! hilarious!!!

  6. BTW, when I realized my mistake I apologized to the little boy and then called his mom to let her know what had happened. Thankfully, she was understanding and thought it was funny.

    What did you learn in school today? Whatever you do, don't say "ship"!

  7. Love this story! So easy to do, I hope you didn't beat yourself up.

    I started a math course today (most of it is this fall) and it was great!

  8. Funny story now, I bet it wasn't so funny at the time.

  9. I hate when people truck with my stuff too. Except if the kid I knew said this sentence he would have said what I really meant. The problem was the parents of this kid, liked to demonstrate his way of saying truck and show him off. Cute. Really cute.


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