D is for D-bag #atozchallenge

Day D of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: d-bags.

I’d planned to write out a long post about Dostoevsky and Russian lit for D-day, but I’m tired.  So I’m going to tell you a story about my students instead.

Last year I taught job- and life-skills classes, full of high school kids who wanted to go to college but needed a boost to get there; kids who could be successful in school if they got an extra boost; kids who were stuck in my classes as a last-ditch effort to keep them from dropping out; and kids who just happened to have an empty spot in their schedule and were put in my classes.

Needless to say, it was quite a diverse group: socioeconomically, academically, and racially/ethnically.

But they all had one thing in common – they loved to call each other d-bags.

Granted, my classroom management style was a bit unorthodox. These kids had so many issues that writing them up for every little thing would’ve gotten me nowhere with them. On day one, I told them my views on cursing: it happens. As long as it’s not excessive, and it’s not directed at everyone, I’m going to overlook it – but I WILL write you up if you use the words “gay” or “retarded.” And for the most part, the kids were great with it; other than a couple slips at the beginning they respected my ban on those words, at no point was the swearing directed at anyone, and it was never excessive.

Except for d-bag and its variations.

I tried to fight it.

N: “Mr. S is such a douche.”

Me: “N, don’t say that.”

N: “Say what, douche?”

Z: “What’s wrong with douche?”

A: “Who’s a douche?”

Me: “Stop saying that word.”

S: “What word? Douche?”

Z: “What’s wrong with douche?”

And so on. I was more concerned with debating the merits of Machiavelli’s leadership style, or showing them how to fill out a resume, or teaching them Latin roots to improve reading comprehension, than getting them to stop saying that word.  But finally, on the last day of the semester, it happened.

N: “Mr. S is such a douche.”

Me: “N, don’t say that.”

N: “Say what, douche?”

Z: “What’s wrong with douche?”

D: “You guys know what a douche is, right?”

A chorus of no’s.

D (a guy), clearly embarrassed: “It’s this thing a woman puts in her, um, uh, vagina to clean it out.”

A chorus of disgust.

And from that day on, I never again heard d-bag or any of its variations in my classroom. I pride myself on the fact that if there’s one thing I got through to those kids on, it’s that they stopped vocally calling people d-bags. And that’s a skill that will serve them well in life.


  1. I used to teach high school, and my kids loved the the d-word, until they found out what it was.

    Knowledge is power.

  2. And ED triumphs! That was a feather in your cap. Good post, ED. :-)

  3. Hilarious. Loved this post!

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