How to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
We were having a quiet worktime during science class. A girl raises her hand and asks, "Mrs. Huerta what does "Grenade" mean? "
I tried the standard answers: a small hand held explosive..
"No. When talking about a person. What does it mean to call a person a grenade."
I don't think I've ever heard it. Metaphorically, someone who explodes, as in a volley ball player who really gets into the game?
"No! It was a girl on the sidelines."
Smeone who gets angry easily?
"no. She was like...a girl with long blond hai."
Long blond hair doesn't have anything to do with a grenade. I turned to the young college student who happened to be observing that day and raised my eyebrow??
Embarrassed, she stuttered, "I think it means an ugly girl" Then in a whisper. "It's used on Jersey Shore that way."
The student was satisfied with "Ugly girl". HOWEVER, a couple of tables of boys who had stopped working to listen to the interchange, were giggling in that manner that all teachers know. You just can see when 13 year old boys are thinking about .... uh.... well, whenever the testosterone is flowing. They were giggling like third graders, heads together, glancing over their shoulder, giggling more.
So I walked to my computer and but in Urban Dictionary: Joisee Shoor (If you know what I mean). And...a grenade is indeed an ugly girl in a group of "hotties" and in order for males to gain entree to the "group" someone must "throw himself" on the grenade in order for them to get action in the group if you know what I mean.
I was aghast. First of all, that a term exists for that. Secondly that my 13-year old students know the word and what it means!! Apparently, more than the 20 year-old college student! I called her over to show her the explanation on my computer and she had an aha moment.
Then she asked, "How old are these kids?"
And we shared a moment of consternation in silence, staring at the students who were once again studying with heads bent over their books.
I suppose I shouldn't be shocked. But bad taste and degradation never fail to amaze me. I
realize that one cop-out would be that it is an expose' to demonstrate just how amazingly stupid certain groups can act. but it isn't.
It's a chance for decent people to live vicariously, live a life of degradation with all the cheap thrills that unlimited liquor consumption and unbridled human passion could provide while remaining safe on the living room sofa without the danger of STD's, the emotional, legal and physical danger that abandonment to the darker side would incur.
But it's also a chance for young teenagers to find heroes and role-models who lead them to believe that fun and freedom is found in that same unlimited liquor consumption and the release of unbridled human passion. It provides the opportunity for these children to learn from a dangerous source values that should be found in the classroom, in the family, in religious education.
Unfortunately, the parents of most of my children are busy working two and three jobs, and are unavailable or unable to block such programs from their tv's.
I respect the freedom of press, freedom of artistic expression. But there's also something within me that asks: "Isn't there a way to protect our children? All of our children!!!" And those students of mine? If they are not able to find values and grounding somewhere, they WILL become a problem for ALL of us!!! You can take that to the bank! Or back to MTV.
And in the meantime, I must find some way to instill the value of common decency in these students.