How to insult your teacher and get away with it …


We are in the midst of a unit that looks at the origins and the fluidity of our English Language. Yesterday, we talked about Shakespeare (making the connection between Hamlet and Lion King was an eye-opener for many of them) and about the power of language that the Bard used when having one character tear another one down with words.

So, I passed out some insults taken from the plays and told my students that this was their chance: they could fling and hurl verbal insults from the list at me. Many blushed, others laughed, and then they got into it. The old words rolled off their tongues — not always easily, of course, and they laughed even harder when I noted that they would have some things to say that night when their parents asked what they did in school that day.

In one of the writing classes, I recorded them. I am sure you want to hear, right?

Listen to the insults

And if you are curious about the reference sheet I gave them, here it is … feel free to use it.

Peace (in the power of language),

  1. Great stuff Kevin. I have the blog for Shakespeare and Company in my reader. Younger daughter and I enjoyed their productions of All Well… and Othello last summer. They have and educational program that your students might be interested in for future reference. Students participate in play production right at the beautiful campus in Lenox. Here’s a quote from their pages “To meet the demands of classical theatre built on language, we must help students to breathe more deeply, free their voices, and commit their bodies through acting, stage combat, and dance. We must teach them to speak sublime poetry with clear thought and deep feeling; to listen openly and respond passionately and reflectively; to embrace the paradox of human nature as it is expressed in dramatic situations; and to be sensitive, flexible, and expansive mentally, physically, and emotionally.”
    Your lesson speaks to that special language.

    • Thanks for the link, Gail. I know that group has worked with the high schools in Northampton and, when we had time in our schedule, Matt M would do a Shakespeare play with his kids (but with more math, less Shakespeare)

  2. Kevin,
    You need to get a copy of ALVIN HO: ALLERGIC TO GIRLS, SCHOOL, AND OTHER SCARY THINGS by Lenore Look. The best part of the book was the Shakespearean insults.

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