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Friday, November 1, 2013

Bloody Bustards!

Bloody Bustard

Every Friday my class is scheduled to patronise the computer lab. The kids love it because if they complete their designated task in time they get to play computer games.

I, on the other hand, don’t love it at all.

The revolving chairs on wheels are my biggest issue. Twenty-nine kids in one room with dangerously mobile furniture is a nightmarish state of affairs at the best of times, but throw in the fact that last night was Halloween and they were all hyped up on sugar made it all the worse today.

The task I’d set for them was to research Aboriginal translations for a list of randomly selected words like fire, water, possum etc.

I’d found an excellent website to direct them to with only one drawback. There were a few unsuitable words translated on the site such as, buttocks, vagina, penis, testicles, breasts and various other descriptive bodily processes.

“Guys, when you go on this site you might find some…” I searched for the words I needed. I couldn’t say ‘rude words’ because they weren’t exactly rude.

“Um, … names of your private parts…” I stuttered.

Furtive looks were exchanged. 

Quiet sniggers and muffled guffaws were noticeably audible.

“I don’t want you to be silly when you see these words. Just scroll down and don’t pay any attention to them,” I continued lamely, suddenly suspecting I was waving a red rag at a bull.

Now they’d probably deliberately scan the site for the words, write them in their books and go home and call their father a vagina in Aboriginal and I’d get the sack.

O’Reilly, my teaching colleague, told me he’d once found a dictionary left behind by one of his previous grade four students with every single rude word meticulously found and neatly circled in red biro.

“This kid’s dedication was outstanding!” raved O’Reilly. “He’d found hundreds of them.”

Kids just love dirty words.

Back in my day, dictionaries didn’t have any dirty words. ‘Bustard’ was the only word I could find at the age of eleven after relentlessly scouring the text book. 

A bustard is actually a bird but it sounded a lot like ‘bastard’ and gave us a cheap thrill every time we opened the dog-eared page to stare at it.

Unlike his potty-mouthed Auntie, my eight year old nephew Heinrich, never swears. I was having a discussion with him one day about the books he likes to read. The author, Paul Jennings is his favourite.

“I like Paul Jennings too! I read his books to my class all the time!” I enthused.

Heinrich looked a little shocked. “What do you do when you have to read the ‘C’ word out loud to them?” he asked, with a mortified expression.

Racking my brain I tried to remember if I’d EVER seen the ‘C’ word in any of the Paul Jenning’s series. Surely not? I’d have to speak to the Librarian Sue about this. That’s appalling! I thought.

“OH, YOU MEAN CRAP!” I exhaled in relief when it finally dawned on me. “Oh, I just use a different word instead of crap, Heinrich.”

He furrowed his little brow in confusion. I could see him mulling it over in consternation.

“What… like carp?”

Cute, huh?