When you type in ‘Kid Jokes’ on the Google search part of your computer you come up with a site called Kidworld…by Kid’s & for Kids. It is a site devoted to items submitted by children. I liked the joke Ashley, age nine, sent in:
Question: Why do you go to bed?
Answer: Because the bed won’t come to you.
Remember when a ‘KID’ was a young goat. When Bill Grogan’s Goat was a song that you sang as you played with your jump rope. My mother called her sisters ‘kid’ but no one else and you never, never saw ‘kid’ in print, used by educators to talk about their students. My grandmother forbade the use of the word ‘yeah’ and corrected her grand children’s grammar with great regularity. She was the child of Swedish parents whose English was hard won and she simply loved the English language.
So when I was reading David Warlick’s Two Cents Worth blog yesterday I was struck by the use of the work ‘kid’ by educators posting comments.. Mr. Warlick is a consultant working around the world helping educators find new and innovative ways to use technology in the class room. His Two Cents Worth blog, however, deals with some insights he has on events relating to his personal life. When he comments on something particularly outrageous, opinions come flying from every direction. Some are well thought out and others are not. But the thing that catches my eye is the use of the word ‘kid’ referring to children in comments posted to his blogs by other educators or people, like me, that are friends of education and interested in what he has to say.
I never thought I would come to a place where I took such a stance. I am fully aware that the English language is not a static. It changes continually. In my life time I have seen words used in ways I never imagined. I am a child of the sixties and use the word ‘cool’ quite a lot. So it does not surprise me that politician, educators and the latest language on the street all influence the way we use our words. But I feel that, as educators, we might take the high road once in a while. The words we speak are so helpful and so hurtful. Tiny transgressions push us onto a slippery slope that leads to who knows where. I have heard students called ‘you kids’, ‘gang’, ‘you guys’, ‘hey you’ and on and on. But what about ‘ladies and gentlemen’, ‘boys and girls’, ‘young man/woman’ or simply ‘Miss Smith’ or ‘Jenny’. To stiff for you? Maybe you could start with just the written word and work on the other slowly. Give it a chance. Change is good, even if it is going backwards a bit.
Blogging gives us an opportunity to practice our writing skills and become better, more thoughtful thinkers and writers. What you practice is what you become. Say what you mean and tell us whether you were talking about a ‘kid’??? or a ‘kid’???. And I will try to refrain from writing, “That blog was really COOL!!!”