Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Will Lower Your Grade Because You Practice Medieval Superstitions

Everyone likes a good stupid teacher or stupid administrator story, and this teacher fills the bill:
When someone sneezes, a common response is, “God bless you.” But one California teacher finds this statement so offensive and disruptive that he’s working to cut back on its usage in the classroom.

Steve Cuckovich, a health teacher at William C. Wood High School in Vacaville, California, has attempted to banish the friendly gesture, as he believes it is both disrespectful and disruptive. To punish students who do, indeed, say “God bless you” after one of their classmates sneezes, he purportedly knocks 25 points off of their grade.
I agree that sometimes, students say "Bless you" or "God bless you" in a manner designed to be disruptive, but the vast majority of the time it's just a trained response. Sometimes I'll tell students about the origins of the phrase--a medieval superstition wherein a sneeze was an expulsion of the soul--but that's mostly just for information.

I understand if this teacher wants students to stop blurting out phrases, but he seriously crosses a line when he lowers an academic grade for non-academic purposes. Behavior, tardies, absences, etc. should not affect an academic grade, IMNSHO.


Ellen K said...

I think this is just another example of a teacher with an ax to grind. In an age when common courtesy has become woefully uncommon, is it such a bad thing for a student to demonstrate concern for another student?

mazenko said...

I - jokingly - say this to kids all the time. I tell them it's a separation of church and state. Maybe some kid doesn't want to be "blessed" by you. Ha!

Of course, it does get annoying during cold and flu season and kids sneeze twenty times during a test and twenty kids bless them each time.

But docking grades? Get real.

mrelliott said...

Talk about focusing on the wrong thing!'s your sign...!

Jean said...

Seems silly. And what if the kid says "gesundheit" (as we do in my family) or shows off their Latin with "prosit!"?