The B-Word

In eighth grade, I graduated from ESL (English as a Second Language). My wonderful ESL teacher proudly sent me off to a real English class. It felt like an accomplishment to be able to sit in with the rest of my classmates instead of going off to my ESL all by myself.

My new English teacher was a middle-age white male. He was a very nice guy. Being new and proud, I wanted to participate into the class discussion. One day he asked the class a question about what we do at home or on the weekend. I can not recall the exact question, but my classmates’s hands went up and provided all sort of answers. I raised my hand as well. When he called on me, I replied, “Teach a bitch a new trick.” Everyone looked at me shocked and puzzled. The teacher asked, “What?” I replied, “You know, teach a female dog a new trick.” He shook his head and moved on.

Although I knew I had looked up this word in the past, I still felt embarrassed. It had an effect on my ability to participate in class discussions from then on. I felt like I would saying something stupid. As I am reading Kory Stamper’s Word by Word, her explanation of the bitch brought back the good old memory. I was not wrong since I did not use it in a derogatory way.