Classrooms Are Not the Place for the “B-word”

Ashley Chang


Many of us have used the term before, some maybe more than others. The word has become so common it is no longer censored as it plagues our television screens and our favorite tunes.

It’s heard in casual conversation inside offices and classrooms, between friends and colleagues. Although the word makes me cringe, there’s something about hearing an instructor say it that gets under my skin.

Teachers can build relationships with their students through an array of techniques, some by providing their knowledge of a subject, and others by relating themselves to the newly found young adults that enter their classrooms.

We can all remember the “cool” high school teacher who students used to talk about. We remember the teachers who watched the shows we watched and made the jokes that we’ve told. Students giggled as the teacher slipped the F-bomb.

College isn’t much different. There is something about an instructor being one of the kids that appeals to us. But where is the line drawn between relationship building and being downright offensive?

Instructors who routinely curse, whether for comic relief or dramatic effect, send the message to impressionable students that demeaning and degrading language, such as “bitch,” is acceptable to use regardless of its impairment.

As an authority figure, one is expected to display the highest level of professionalism. Students too, must learn to respect themselves as well as those who stand before them in a classroom.

This could possibly be why students have a difficult time confronting teachers. We have been told, since grade school, to follow and respect our teachers, regardless of the situation.

This is not to say that all teachers are guilty of such indiscretions; the majority of instructors are not. The majority of instructors embody the highest level of integrity and professionalism.

Though some instructors drop the occasional F-bomb, it has no connotation to a direct group of people. As for using terms used to specifically degrade women, I’d like to think that a classroom should be a refuge of some sort, free of obscenities from the outside reality.

We would not find it acceptable if an instructor were to use the term “gay” in a negative context, so why have some accepted the odious word geared toward women?

Students too must realize the harm that comes from such damaging words. It is our responsibility as adults to know what is appropriate and what is not. To laugh along as some instructors throw insults is to accept and promote further wrongs.

Both students and teachers must tread lightly when it comes to language such as this. Rather than to assume all students will take such terms or humor lightly, both parties must make a conscious decision to not only respect all students and peers, but to also respect ourselves.