Persona Matters

By December 20, 2016February 17th, 2021The Chronicle of Higher Education

Just as interesting as Jordan Schneider’s fine essay, “Why I Curse in the Classroom,”were the responses — the horrified reactions of those who believe the sky will fall if a professor uses a four-letter word in a college classroom.

Most amusing were the folks who claimed that potty mouths curse because we are bereft of linguistic skill. Some of the best writers I know speak and write using many of the Anglo-Saxon words that George Carlin said you can’t say on television. Frankly, people who curse a lot offend me far less than folks who don’t know the difference between “reign” and “rein” — and who can’t rein in their own strung-out sentences.

Both the essay and the intemperate comments were useful, though, as I thought about my own language in the classroom. I realized that, for better or worse, my voice is always recognizably my own — both in person and on the page. It’s taken me a long time to get to that point.

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