No offense, but…

Since when did “I’m just being honest” turn into a free pass to say any shitty fucking thing you want?

It falls into the category of “I’m just sayin’.”

Oh, I’m not telling you that you are an untalented hack. I’m just sayin’. Now, if I were just saying, well, that would be a whole ‘nother Oprah. I’m just sayin’. See what I did there?

“Mrs. Odie, you look really tired today. I’m just being honest.” Yeah? Well, you look stupid as ever. Just sayin’.

“Mrs. Odie, I think that you give F’s to students you don’t like. I’m just being honest.” Let’s just pretend for a moment that this isn’t a completely absurd accusation, as my gradebook is available on-line to all my students, and while “Assignments”, “Assessments” and “Participation” are all categories, “Likeability” most assuredly is not.

Can you imagine if we gave A’s to the students we adore and F’s to the students we hate? I can think of one in particular who would not be at Yale right now.

Just sayin’.

I would never have walked up to an adult and maligned her character to her face. In my day, one did not feel entitled to tell adults how we felt about them. Fourteen years in the business and I’m already at the “in my day…” stage. Good grief.

But sometimes I wonder where the “self-esteem movement” has gotten us. “Bullying” is all anyone talks about anymore. Used to be, I couldn’t go buy my groceries without solicitors asking me to donate to the homeless. Now, it’s anti-bullying campaigns. I’m so tired of being asked to stop bullying, I drive by three different grocery stores to avoid twenty-somethings with pamphlets blocking the entrance.

No one talks about teachers being bullied. It happens every day to varying degrees. They go on-line and write vicious, untrue things about us. A parent whose child is about to be in my class is likely to Google me. That’s the biggest reason I write under a pseudonym, but I don’t teach under one.

My husband came home all riled up about a viral video the students love where “one of them” tells off “one of us.” They applaud the little shit while we identify with the adult. If I so much as took a photograph of a student vandalizing school property, or recorded him cussing me out, I’d be fired.

It’s probably always been this way. I’ve just reached a certain age where I’m so far away from 15, I don’t remember what it feels like. Adults have forever been horrified by the way youth challenges our way of being in the world. It’s just that in the fifties, when kids were standing up to adults and demanding that they stop being racist cockbags, it seemed more like a movement. I’m not “the Man.” I just want you to know the difference between a gerund and a participle. Now, it just seems like the purpose of standing up to grown-ups is to get a video on You Tube and to be an asshole.

I’m just being honest.


About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
This entry was posted in English Grammar and Usage, Essays/Commentary, Teaching, Vignette, Work Related and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to No offense, but…

  1. mrsk6 says:

    What’s really scary is that I get this shit from 1st graders! The way some students talk to teachers these days… well… back in my day….!

  2. Addie says:

    I’m not a teacher, but the limited interaction I get with teens (and younger kids) makes me wonder how teachers do their jobs and keep their sanity. My husband and I are considering homeschooling our three year old, and when people ask, “but what about socializaaaaaation?!” I reply that socialization is precisely what I’m worried about.

    Blessings on you, and know that there are parents out there who are glad for teachers like you.

  3. Anna says:

    This is why I don’t want to teach any more. I can’t stand the new generation, the new mentality etc.
    And, I agree with you 100% about anti-bullying. One 4 year old kid told my 4 year old “stop bullying!” during what seemed like an innocent play…Never invited them again.
    I have to say these kids are lucky to have you as a teacher.
    This post is so well written. Just sayin’ it.

  4. LisaJ says:

    I get you, lady. I teach 15 year olds as well. I’ve got you beat, though, because I also live with one. At this point, God himself envies the honesty in my life, what with all the little snerts “just being honest.” Good times!

  5. JoyM says:

    What do you think about the proposed Los Angeles ban on suspending or expelling a student based on their behaivor being “willful defiance” in the classroom? I am totally feeling for you. What a frustrating spot to be in.

  6. Michael says:

    So, if I get the gerund participle thing . . . Being honest, she said “being honest requires anonymity, hence the whole ‘Mrs. Odie’ bit.”. Whew, that was taxing.

  7. Kristina Day says:

    Stories like this make me twitch (and thank God on my knees for those with the ovarian/testicular fortitude to be teachers). I see the type of parenting all around me where parents practice so-called “positive parenting” or some crap, aka, they don’t say “no.” Translation: they wanted an accessory to dress up and show off, not an actual human being to raise. Saying “no” and then backing that up with action requires too much work, therefore, they don’t say it, giving the excuse that they’re protecting their speshul little snowflake’s delicate self esteem. It pretty much makes me want to throttle both parent AND child. Choosing a kindergarten for my youngest was hell on earth exactly because of this reason: the increasing population of ill-mannered, ill-behaved brats that are populating the schools. Gotta love it.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      Luckily, the good ones far outnumber that bad ones. And of the “bad ones” fewer still are truly bad. They’re troubled. Still, I’m not a social worker. I have a job to do.

  8. Ann says:

    Well, as the mom of teenagers and an educator myself, I would say that there are plenty of teachers who get respect, but it’s not just automatic because you’re an adult in a position of authority. It does have to be earned. I believe it’s a much healthier situation for everyone involved.

    • Michael says:

      Oversimplification, Ann. There’s a certain amount a respect due, as a default/starting point. Goes up or down from there.

      • Ann says:

        I rarely read this blog, so just saw this…don’t know if Michael will see my response. Actually, I agree with you, Michael. But there are too many burned out teachers with an active dislike of the people they are there to educate, and those teachers rapidly go down the scale, rarely to return to the starting point. And the fundamental reality of modern education is that any “automatic” points you get for having made it through the rigors of an education program can be quickly lost once the actual interaction with students is underway, Michael.When I hear a teacher start to talk (or write) about “students nowadays”, I all too often am hearing a person who is unwilling to take the hard steps to make his or her class relevant and authentic for his/her students. Students can smell bullshit a mile away, and many are no longer willing to kowtow to teachers just because they are teachers.

        • Mrs Odie 2 says:

          Your comment implies that I am a lazy person who teaches irrelevant bullshit and because I am lazy, I will not do anything hard like make my class relevant and authentic for my students. I smell so strongly of bullshit, this odor can be detected from a mile away (wow, all the way to the freeway). So when students’ parents are driving up the main avenue to our high school, they are saying to each other, “God, what IS that stench?” and their kids are like, “That’s just Mrs. Odie’s bullshit. You can smell it a mile away.”

          Maybe you, as an educator yourself, can direct me to a professional development program that would help me get this stench of bovine feces off of me, because I would really like to know how you do it. I might even be able to travel up to the Seattle area. Although, special arrangements would have to be made so that my excrement-aroma won’t sting your eyes.

          You so often hear teachers complain about how we don’t get any respect. It must be us. We must be a bunch of bullshit-reeking lazy losers who expect teenagers to kow-tow to us. Your comment is insightful, relevant, and authentic. I’ll bet you are amazing with your students. Bravo.

        • Mrs Odie 2 says:

          I think Michael probably will see your response eventually, because unlike you, he reads my blog. He also likes to remind me when I’m slacking, which tickles me pink.

  9. I’m both a parent and a teacher, so–like you–I sit on both sides of the desk and you are totally right when you say that no one talks about bullying the teacher. They ought to, though. I’ve taught in a low-income area for the last four years and what my colleagues and i have experienced is nothing short of complete and total disrespect for adults in authority. My own children knew (and still do) better than to sass a teacher or administrator because they were not raised to do that and even when in the presence of a teacher who is not necessarily the best an his/her craft, we demand that our sons demonstrate civility and manners towards their elders.

    Not all parents expect or even model this kind of behavior. I’ve had students behave abominably and then when I meet the parent(s) I am no longer puzzled as to where they learned to speak or act. I’ve had parents come completely unglued during a conference and then leave my room to interrupt the principal in her office and curse at her and office staff. The same parent was then escorted from the building by our pyramid security officer who then received an earful of vitriol.

    I’ve had colleagues in my building stabbed (with bulletin board tacks), kicked, bitten, tackled from behind, cursed at, threatened and spit upon. Then parents come in and 7 times out of 10 they insist that the teacher provoked the behavior whereupon it becomes a “he said/she said” discussion with no one taking the teacher’s side because–you know–what if the crazy parent sues the school district????

    Unless I start every day in class by saying, “Sit down you little shit”, I believe my presence as an authority figure already demands respectful language and behavior from my students. Ann’s remarks seem to suggest that teachers must somehow audition for respect and then students get to decide if they are worthy. Or not. Sorry…that’s not how it goes. Kids must demonstrate respect because you are the teacher and I reflect it back because….IT’S MY JOB.

    I’ve got your back, Mrs. Odie.

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