Sometimes kids say things that very innocently come out completely inappropriate. They garble a syllable, misunderstand a word, and the result is something hilarious and awful.
This week’s example- a student announcing, “This weekend, we’re getting manicures and pedophiles!”
When this happens, the urge is to burst out laughing. You can’t do this, for two important reasons. One, it will make the kid feel embarrassed, and that’s never good. Two, if they realize they said something they shouldn’t have, they will never EVER stop saying it.
So you correct them- “Actually, it’s pedicures. Manicures and pedicures.” Maybe you even throw in a quick lesson about Latin root words! Then you smile, and bite the inside of your cheeks so hard they bleed to keep from cracking up.
I was reminded of the best example of this of my career, which happened in my very first year as a classroom teacher.
It was snack time, and one table of kids called me over, all smiles.
“We’re having an orgy!” One told me sweetly.
Behind me, my assistant spit her coffee out.
“What? You’re- what?” I asked.
“An orgy!” They all yelled.
What. The. &%#$.
Turns out, they all had oranges for snack. So they decided it was an orange party! And they made a new name up by rearranging the sounds. Org-y. Yep.
My assistant was freaking out, and I wasn’t much better. “What do we do? What do we say?” She hissed at me.
I figured if we told them it was an inappropriate word and they couldn’t use it, they would want to know what it meant. They would ask everyone- EVERYONE- what it meant. They would never stop using it.
So I did nothing, and crossed my fingers.
The next day, the snacks were varied, and the infamous word was gone. Phew.