The English classroom is cleaned by a group of rowdy Grade 6 boys. They are 12 and 13 years old and have absolutely NO interest in cleaning. Usually they give each other rides on the vacuum cleaner, and throw things out the window at passerby.
The English teachers take turns “supervising” them. Today was my turn. They are supposed to clean for about 15 minutes. I spent 14 of those minutes trying to explain that their mothers were going to be mightily unimpressed by the hickeys they had all given themselves with the vacuum cleaner in the first minute of cleaning time. (Considering the amount of time they’d had, the number and intensity of the vacuum hickeys was astounding!)
I had just managed to redirect their energy into actual cleaning when another student ran into the classroom.
“Carrie-teacher!!” he exclaimed. “I learn new word!”
“Oh?” I asked, keeping one eye on the vacuum.
“Yes. Bugger,” he announced proudly.
“Pardon?” I sputtered. He had my full attention now.
“Um…. where? why?” I was too startled to form a complete sentence.
“Is bad word, yes?” he asked, looking extremely pleased with himself.
“Um… well… in some situations…”
Thankfully I was rescued by the bellows of the cleaning boys’ homeroom teacher. She had come to see why they were taking so long and had spotted the hickeys.
“Bugger, bugger, bugger,” my budding linguist muttered under his breath. “Carrie-teacher, pronounce OK?”
I nodded weakly, and he happily skipped off, proudly muttering his new word.
I decided I didn’t really want to know where, why or how he had learned that word.