Before Thanksgiving Break, a student looked at me and asked, “Why are you dressed like it’s Easter?” I was wearing light blue and pink. Clearly, the kid wanted to get a laugh. On the same day, my co-worker was told by a student that she had a bad weave. I took offense to both of these comments. I do not participate in the dozens. I was taught a long time ago that when newly arrived enslaved Africans were kidnapped, stolen from their land, and brought across the ocean in the hold of a slave ship, they were debarked and bound in groups of 12. The other enslaved people would make fun of them, saying, "Look at that one. He lost an arm. That one doesn’t have an eye." So many insults. Keeping this in mind, I’m very careful about what I say to children.
After turning to Facebook for advice, I am learning that children and adults consider playing the dozens a term of endearment. It’s an initiation into the cool zone. In fact, if you can snap back and get a laugh, children will tell their friends and family how much they like you.
What do you think? Is the classroom a place where the snapback tradition continues? Are teachers off-limits or fair game when it comes to providing classroom entertainment?