I’d like to thank Urban Dictionary.
Throughout my service term at Penrose Elementary School, there was nothing that flip-flopped quite as much as if I was old and outdated, or young and easy to pull one over on. When I spoke of things like the game “Frogger” (which, tragically, no one has heard of let alone played), I was ancient. When I had prank calls from blocked numbers and was smart enough to let it go to voicemail, I still knew a thing or two about being a teenager. When I chaperoned a roller skating trip and the throwback song was Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” I was old. When listening to middle school girls talk how you can tell a lot about a person by the filters they choose on Instagram, I was…confused. And thankful I’m not in middle school anymore.
No resource helped me maneuver my way through an urban school quite like Urban Dictionary. During my times of confusion, it never let me down. When I was caught in a pivotal moment I could whip out my phone and quickly figure out what action to take. Did I need to discipline this student or were they about to get a high five? Was this foreign word a compliment or an insult? (Hint: Most compliments haven’t changed, so the best bet is always insult.)
Here are some popular words and phrases (familiar or not) commonly overheard at Penrose:
Thot: Very bad. This was often used to insult girls because there was no way Miss Eileen would understand it. Little did they know, I had Urban Dictionary on my side.
Drawlin: I was clearly getting in the way of what they wanted to do. “What? You won’t let me roam the halls screaming? Miss Eileen is drawlin!”
The ‘Gram: Instagram. As in, “Miss Eileen, you on the gram?” It’s also worth noting that it is now socially acceptable to exchange ‘gram usernames instead of phone numbers when trying to pick someone up.
The ‘Book: Facebook but no one uses it anymore.
Do it for the vine: A convincing argument to do anything, regardless of whether there is actually a vine being produced.
You mad or nah?: The most common phrase uttered before a fight broke out. Prepare to intervene immediately.
Flicked: Turning the double dutch ropes incorrectly. A grave mistake that guaranteed you were about to get the boot.
Hyped: This is not good (anyone else surprised?). Hyped is used to describe someone overly excited to the point of being corny. Example: Miss Eileen.
MYB: This is still a mystery. My best guess is “mind your business” but to this day it still haunts me. I even enlisted eighth graders to help me decipher this acronym. The jury is still out.
When in doubt, dance it out
This year, I faced several challenges, many of which I didn’t have the answers to. Luckily, I had some sweet dance moves and the voice of an angel to fudge my way through those situations (and by sweet dance moves I mean I taught all the kids how to do the sprinkler).
Problem: The games I planned for a class fitness time are failing miserably.
Solution: Put on some Michael Jackson. It’s freeze dance time!
Problem: The kids were bored/mad/grumpy/any other emotion you can think of.
Solution: I attempted to do the Jerk and let them laugh hysterically at me.
Problem: The dance battle that is happening at recess has way too much twerking to be school appropriate.
Solution: Jump in the middle of the circle and jump around uncontrollably to show off my best moves. It will end immediately. Guaranteed.
Problem: The sixth grade girls in my Yoga and Fitness program aren’t interested in using the weight machines today.
Solution: Put on Pandora’s One Direction station and call it a dance party.
Problem: Kids won’t clean-up/line up/listen or otherwise follow directions.
Solution: Sing “I’m a Little Teapot” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as loud and obnoxiously as possible until they do what was asked. Warning: this once got me tackled by a fourth grade boy.
Problem: My running team would more accurately have been titled the “Walking Leisurely Around the Neighborhood Team”
Solution: Sing Justin Bieber and tell them to run faster so they were ahead of me if they didn’t want to hear it.
Problem: Recess was not going smoothly and the adults needed a pick me up.
Solution: Play Avicii's “Wake Me Up” and dance like fools until the next group comes outside.
Problem: I can’t dance to save my life.
Solution: Have the fifth grade girls teach me to Nae Nae.