When I taught 3rd grade in my former life, we used to teach a really long ocean unit. Our readers had lots of ocean themed stories, including one about the Titanic. We would turn our classrooms into oceans, with blue saran wrap on the ceiling and seaweed going up the walls. And stupid dangly fish hanging from everywhere to walk into for a month. It was awesome.
With a little research, I found that National Geographic had a video about when Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the wreck of the Titanic. Nat Geo is known for great videos. The box said something about "National Geographic Family Video Series" or something like that. In addition, there was a class set of colored, glossy books full of photos about the Titanic. Score!
Still, I watched the video at home before I showed my class. Boy am I glad I did because Dr. Robert Ballard, in all his excitement, at the exact moment he realizes he's found the Titanic, lets out the mother of all cuss words. Just so we're clear how bad it was, it's initials are g.d. National Geographic didn't feel the need to edit this out for their "family video series." Sigh.
So, I figured I could handle it. I memorized the exact part where the word would take place and while my class watched, I simply muted that part and talked over it.
"Now class, what he's doing here is....." and then I hit un-mute. Perfect.
The next year 2 classes were watching the video together and I hadn't had a chance to warn Mr. A (a very conservative Christian teacher with a picture of Ronald Reagan over his desk), about the word. I had the remote so I just "accidentally" his fast forward. Oops! I "fumbled" with the remote and hit play. Problemo solved. I was so slick.
My students LOVED the Titanic unit. The movie came out when they were in 5th grade and I think they ALL stopped by my door to tell me "Mrs. E--there's going to be a Titanic movie!!!!!" My heart swelled with pride that my students still had that spark of excitement about learning that I had placed inside of them.
A few years later, I got around to watching Titanic and what I learned was my students had watched Leo and Kate steam up the inside of a car. Niiice.
We began a program at our school where we stayed with our class for 2 years, through 3rd and 4th. Then, we would loop back down to 3rd and pick up another class. So we were switching everything around, preparing to be 4th grade teachers and they to be 3rd grade teachers. I gave Mrs. G (another Christian teacher, in her late 50s at the time) all my stuff for the Titanic unit and I warned her about the video.
I reminded her before the ocean unit came up about the video. She thanked me. What happened next is one of my favorite stories ever.
She said she put the video in and then settled in at her round table in the back of the room to grade papers. I mean, this is why teachers show videos--to get caught up on paperwork and planning. She remembered about the word, but in her paper grading, the remote control got lost in the piles. She said she looked up and realized it was the part I had warned her about. She scrambled around at the back table, furiously looking for the remote and then realized she just didn't have time to find it. She sprinted to the front of the room through a sea of children, her arm extended in order to hit a button--ANY button quicker. Just as her index finger was INCHES from the TV...
...Dr. Ballard found the Titanic.
She quickly turned around and faced the class. A girl on the front row gasped and crossed herself.
All was forgiven. Mrs. G apologized and the class said it wasn't her fault. She asked them to please not go home and tell their parents Mrs. G had shown a bad movie.
So last night we were watching Annie. For the first time ever in my life of watching this movie, I heard FOUR cuss words.
Two of them were the Dr. Robert Ballard kind.
But I think I can cough over 'em next time.
What do you do when a perfectly good movie is ruined by one or two bad words? It's so discouraging!