Most years, during the First-Week-Here’s-How-I-Roll speeches, I write a list of words on the board. It’s the Mr. Malany Bad Word List. It goes without saying that certain four-letter words are banned in my classroom, but this list spells out a few additional naughty vocabulary words. They include your “retards”, “shut ups”, “gays”, “sucks”, “screws”, “butts”, etc. Basically, the you-shouldn’t-say-them-in-front-of-your-mother list. I let them get their chuckle in, then from that point forward, we don’t hear them. Every now and then a student may need a friendly reminder, and occasionally a deeper “here’s why” conversation, but for the most part, those words don’t enter my classroom.
This year I want to add to the list. I’m not going to write these words on the board though…I just don’t want the kids to know them. They’re teacher words. I paid lots of money to go to college. In fact, I spent a lot of time doing it. And I worked hard doing it. And I like to think that there are a few things I got out of college that I wouldn’t know otherwise: teacher words.
In education, we seem to throw around buzz words to/at/in front of/near/around/toward students. The more buzz words we throw, the better teachers we are, right? And surely, the more syllables in the buzz words…well…we just have the ammo to put John Keating to shame!
So here is my list of words that originated as “teacher-only” words…and..in my opinion, need to return there:
6. differentiated instruction
10. learning target
11. critical thinking
13. classroom management
14. graphic organizer
15. 21st Century __________
17. data analysis
Don’t get me wrong! I’ll DO these things. Oh, I’ll do these things constantly! But can’t ten-year old kids DO without knowing they’re DOING something? I know, I know…kids need to know learning targets so they have clear objectives to accomplish during a lesson…blah, blah blah. I call that teaching. Integrate it. (Oooh look – a buzz word!) Integrate it deeply into a conversation or a self-directed activity or a discovery lesson or a technology experience.
I don’t care how you use your fancy buzz words. Just integrate them. And don’t tell the kids you’re doing it!