By Elaine L. Orr
Admittedly, I'm not the youngest author on the block. However, I only began hearing the phrase "my bad" in the last couple of years. Apparently, it's a way to acknowledge that you did something, but you make no commitment not to repeat the annoying or inappropriate behavior.
My Bad permits the user to acknowledge behavior without expressing regret.
Why do I think this?
For several years, I've been a long-term substitute teacher in a middle school in central Illinois. I love it. The teachers and administrators are helpful and appreciative. The kids are largely well-behaved. Much of what they do I find funny, though I can't let them know I think that.
The thing that bugs me is kids who insist on talking during quiet study halls or work time during a class. Yes, it's middle school. The goal of many students is to socialize with their friends -- even as they do their work. But lots of kids ARE studying hard or doing math homework and deserve quiet.
So, twenty-five times an hour I tell a few students to stop talking and get to work or read a book. (I've already written about how it sends me through the ceiling to hear kids say, "I don't read.")
When a talkative student says, "My bad," it's the same as saying, "Could you please turn your back so I can keep whispering to my friend?" I may be exaggerating about the 'please' part.
Occasionally a kid will say they're sorry. The second time they are admonished and use that phrase, I say, "If you were sorry, you wouldn't keep doing it." It doesn't generally affect their behavior, but it lets them know I don't accept superfluous apologies.
A few days ago, a boy and girl sitting next to each other at a table kept quietly giggling. I can spot a potential boy-girl crush. After a couple times reminding them to be quiet, I asked the girl if she would like to move to an adjoining table so they wouldn't distract each other. She almost bounded to the other table. That was cute, not that I would tell them that. They also apologized as they left the room. That was a pleasant surprise.
I'm not a total ogre. I simply grew up in an age where you obeyed a teacher who told you to shush. If you kept it up and a teacher sent a note home (no email, of course), you'd be in big trouble. And you'd quiet down because a parent would tell the teacher they wanted to know if the chattiness kept up.
Times change and it's good to change with them as long as you can still live your core values.
As the end of subbing for 12-weeks in a study hall approached, boys in different classes asked me if I'd "do the Griddy Dance" on the last day. Not being a total dummy, I asked my sister if she knew what that was. She looked it up and said it was a short dance a current NFL player did in the end zone.
So, I did the Griddy Dance in several classes. Thank goodness the students can't have smart phones in the classroom.
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