By this point in every student’s academic career, I can guarantee that they have had a teacher or class subject that, in their opinion, is fall asleep boring. Due to the nocturnal lives of students, falling asleep in a class isn’t that difficult of a feat. There is, however, hope for the sleep deprived, zombie-like or just inattentive student. Hope comes in the form of a teaching tactic that works nearly every time to snap a student out of their reverie–and it’s as simple as using a bad word or two.
Of course I don’t promote teachers cursing at their students, but peppering their lectures with some words not typically used in the classroom (and more commonly used during rush hour on Meridian Ave.), adds a bit of color to otherwise boring subjects.
Let’s be honest, sometimes the greatest effort we exert during a school day is to get out of bed and into class. At that point, we’re just there for participation points and to turn in the assignment we stayed up all night doing. Chances are that we’re going to be daydreaming about coffee or discreetly checking Facebook on our phone in an effort to whittle away the minutes until freedom. Even the most driven student has off days and struggles to stay focused.
At this point, a few curse words on the professor’s part can come in handy.
All professors have to do is drop the f-bomb when explaining the difficulty of a math question. Or question Hitler’s lineage during a history lecture. That’ll get our attention every time as we lurch awake and think to ourselves, “Did I hear that right?” I think of it as shock therapy for the reluctant student.
Not only does swearing grab a student’s attention, if used sparsely and only when needed, but it also helps to cement whatever was being talked about in their memory. I’m going to get the point better if the teacher says something unexpected than if they just lecture at me while I’m trying to take a nap in the back row.
Professors, if you can’t bring yourself to curse, then at least be creative with word choice. Just don’t become “that teacher” who tries to be funny and fails. If you describe Mussolini as a mouse turd and sediment as swaggalicious, then you should just stop trying. But if you can help it, don’t let prim and properness in the classroom threaten the grades of your students.
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