Language Arts Class

This is an absolutely true story: I was there.

It was the early 1970s, and I was in 7th grade in Ken Mullen's "Language Arts" class. The assignment that day was to read aloud from a book; unfortunately, I have no recollection of what book it was, but one student was reading aloud and came across a particular word.

The word was "bitch". It was used properly, but with the snickers Mr. Mullen stopped to create a Teaching Moment.

"Does anyone know what 'bitch' really means?" he asked the class.

One student raised a hand and gave the definition: "A female dog."

"Correct," Mr. Mullen said. "That is the proper word that refers to a female dog. Now," he said, trying to make the lesson stick. "Does anyone know of a word for a male dog?"

Several people were pondering that, but it was Jane Glass who raised her hand.

"Yes?" Mr. Mullen said, calling on Jane.

"'Bastard'?"

Posted May 28, 2014

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