Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Keep My Name Out Of Your Mouth

I teach in a middle school, so there's no end to the amount of gossip and meanness and bullying that occurs.  Students are constantly upset because of what one person or another said about them online or in the cafeteria.

Of course, having been in middle school myself once, I remember the flush of anger and embarrassment that overcomes you when you hear that someone was talking about you behind your back.  Indeed, it's the same feeling that I would get today if it happened - though luckily for all of us, people tend to be more discreet after the 8th grade.

When my students hear about this happening to them, they rarely shy away from it, or shake it off.  They confront it head on.

"Yo - keep my name out your mouth!" they will charge up to the offender, and very literally instruct them on what they should stop doing.

Sometimes this doesn't work.

Sometimes there are fights.

"Why did you hit her?"

"She couldn't keep my name out her mouth!"

I find myself in awe of their ability to shamelessly confront one another, and tell them how they need to change their behavior.  It's not the 'stop talking about me', or 'stop whispering behind my back,', or, 'stop talking crap'.  It's more than that.  Don't say my name at all.

If you are so clear and literal in your desires, it's easy to imagine being distraught when someone doesn't comply.

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