"Excuse me!"

These are two of my least favorite words uttered as a teacher. Last year they were incredibly common, this year less so. It's a phrase that's pretty much reflexive to any teacher. It's a mix of outrage, indignation, disbelief and guilt trip.

It's a versatile phrase. Which contributes to its ubiquity. Another staff member is in the room having a talk with me for whatever reason and students are talking (a somewhat natural response), and I'll stop: "Excuse me!" I get a phone call for whatever reason in the middle of the class and again the students are talking: "Excuse me!" A student disrespects a classmate verbally or physically: "Excuse me!" It applies to virtually any situation when a student is misbehaving, and God, I abhor it.

What is it supposed to mean exactly? I don't even know. I picked it up naturally last year, because it's a very common phrase in a school. I definitely remember hearing it my fair share of times when I was a student. In was ingrained in my teaching DNA I suppose through that experience and by the sheer volume of times I said it last year.

This year I'm trying to wean myself off this obnoxious phrase. It's not really constructive and it's pretty unoriginal. But, still I find myself saying it whenever I'm just struck by a kid misbehaving for reasons beyond my comprehension and/or control. I'm not sure whether it will be possible to remove it from my teaching vocabulary completely, but I'd like to try.


Ms. Peace said…
I like "unbelievable." I think all of the syllables add to the drama.
Hugh O'Donnell said…
Excuse me, Ruben! :)

If you want to update your blogroll, I've moved. Check my last RepairKit post for reasons.

I'm putting you on the blogroll of the blog I've moved to (actually, I'm not moving, just focusing).

See you out there!

Hugh aka Repairman
Angela Watson said…
I hate this phrase, too. Yet I cannot stop saying it.

Sometimes I say, "Are you KIDDING me?!" which is far less professional. "Seriously?!" also tends to slip out.

Whatever. They get the message.

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