Thank you for your comments.
Reading the "gay" posts has made me recognize more things about my own language. I know I said "sucks" today; "tight" is not one I've heard at my school--or simply not noticed before now. There have been a few other new ones I've learned now.
Where I grew up in the 60's and 70's we used the word "faggot" for "loser." When I moved to Mass. people would say "You mean homosexual?!" Faggot never meant 'gay' to us as kids--but I'm sure the it didn't seem that way to the gay (or uncertain) kids.
I still hear adults--teachers--say things like "Jew 'em down", "Call a spade a spade" & "black sheep of the family" (I said that one to an Afro-American man once--geez!) with no awareness of what they are actually referring to.
I am very thankful when someone--kindly--points out to me the meaning behind common slang that is actually derogatory. I think about all the people I insulted without even being conscious of it--but I'm sure they heard it loud and clear.
Here's two other quotes I keep close to heart, esp. now that I'm 'back' in school:
Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Elie Weisel
As a general rule, teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say. Unknown
Original Message -----
From: wendy free
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2002 6:44 PM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: Gay facts quiz answers
thank you so much, trish! i think your post is one of the most important and informative we've had in a while. this pretty much says it all: “Do you believe that all students are deserving of dignity and respect at school?”
i can't imagine tolerating any type of language in our classroom that is hurtful to others. reading through some of the posts i am a little surprised at the acceptance by some of what i consider to be foul language. i think i am pretty clear on where the terms "suck" and "tight" come from; they are of crude and vulgar origin - i find the latter, as a women, particularly offensive. it is hard for me to understand what good can come of promoting/accepting that type of language in the classroom. as a longtime high school teacher i have found that clear, consistent standards of decency and respect are pretty easily enforced in the classroom. if you as a teacher model the behavior you expect and are open and sincere with students about why it is important, they seem to be very willing to comply. and hey, we are art teachers. a big part of art, for me, has to do with creating and exploring beauty. granted, there are negative things and we need words to describe them, but condoning gutter language in the art room is a contradiction to my directive!