I just spent the better part of the 2021-22 school year with the students of Lake Braddock High School in Fairfax County, Virginia. I taught them about the U.S. Government, the American legal and court system, and current events. All three timely subjects. And I hope I helped some of our next generation of citizens to think critically, judiciously, and fairly through many of the important issues facing our society.
But as often happens, the teacher learns from his or her students. I know I learned a lot from mine.
One of many was bringing current my language and vocabulary skills. It all started when one day at the end of class, a student in the front row said, “You know Mr. Johnson … you’re a real girl boss.” I paused, not quite sure how to take the comment as I am neither a girl nor, for that matter, anyone’s boss. She assured me, it was a compliment. Others concurred. Indeed, a high compliment they claimed. I’m still not quite sure. The kids were pretty good at “playing” Mr. Johnson! All in good humor.
Clearly, I was behind and befuddled by the current nomenclature of GenZ. So my students came to the rescue! Together we devoted an entire whiteboard to it – that is, getting Mr. Johnson’s vocab up to snuff. You’ll see the last version above and I thought I’d share, knowing that many of you will likely know these things. It was all new – and often a bit odd – to this old guy.
- If you go to class in a suit, you’ll likely be accused of having a nice drip. One morning I was told by a student that I was drippin’. I was informed this had nothing to do with liquids.
- If you hear the word slay, don’t call 911 or go into active shooter drills. Rather it is someone telling you that you did something real cool.
- Another student once told me the class was fire. See slay above. Don’t call 911.
- Say less means that you’ve said enough. They’ve got it.
- Rizz is something you want to have.
- Speaking of, the opposite of shredded is swole. You want to be the former, not the latter.
- It used to be you’d have a “crush” on someone. Dial that up a bit. Throw in some bit of the blues and a bucketload of hormones. Then you’re down bad with him or her.
- Don’t get the above category confused with flicking up. I’m told “flicking up” is something those of all ages, genders, and ethnicities do often and is legal in all fifty states and even in most school districts. When a student first asked if I would “flick up” with them I was mortified. Stunned speechless … only to find out all they wanted was a selfie.
- And finally, I learned that dumpy was not an adjective to describe a run-down home or apartment. Rather, it is a noun and something you may have. Specifically, a body part. Look it up.
I’ll leave you with one of my “goodbye” notes from a graduating senior. It read: “Thank you for being such a slay teacher and flicking up w/ me in class, you are a real G!”
Who knew? Not this old guy.
Thanks, students of Lake Braddock! You taught your teacher well.