Debate Magazine

Today’s Word: Queejuss

By Stevemiranda

A student approached me one day during lunch and said, “Mr. Miranda, I’m wondering if you can do me a favor.”

“Maybe. What is it?”

“My friend just called and said some of our friends are skipping afternoon classes to go skiing. Can you not mark me absent today during 6th period?”

It’s difficult to describe the feeling I had in that moment.

On the one hand, the student felt secure enough in our relationship that he could be honest with me. However, I couldn’t escape the humiliation of being asked such a profoundly disrespectful question. In addition, I also sensed that what I had experienced encapsulated just about everything that is wrong with traditional schooling.

* * *

I learned a new vocabulary word when I became a classroom teacher: “Queejuss.” (Alternative spelling: Kweejuss.) As in, “Mr. Miranda, queejuss watch a movie today?” Or, “Mr. Miranda, queejuss go outside today.” Or, my personal favorite, “Miranda, queejuss do nothing?”

* * *

I was never quite sure what to do in situations like this. Of course, when a student asks me to lie on his behalf so he can skip class to go skiing, I would say no. But what do you say to the student when he then shows up for class? We’re going to be in class together for 55 minutes, and he’s already made a clear declaration that his mind is going to be elsewhere.

When a student calls out a request that we “do nothing” in class today, it’s excruciatingly painful to then go through the ritual of teaching—really, it’s just a pantomime of teaching—knowing that the student is merely marking time until the bell rings and he can move on to something in which he’s interested.

This is where the calls for increasing teacher salaries as a way to solve our education problems completely miss the mark. The talented, creative, geniuses we think we’ll attract with higher salaries simply have better things to do with their time than endure the indignity of teaching required classes to students who are interested in other things.

If we want to attract better teachers, we can start by creating educational environments that have dignity.

(Join the discussion at Get updates at

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Five Things I Loved About My Wedding – Kayleigh

    Five Things Loved About Wedding Kayleigh

    This is the fourth in a series of blog posts with a focus on those little things that make a wedding special. It is called Five Things I Loved About My Wedding. Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Wedincentralpark
  • Democracy and the Politics of Intolerance

    Democracy Politics Intolerance

    A democracy allows government to reflect the will of the people. Or does it? Here I would like to understand a bit better the dynamics through which radical... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Dlittle30
  • Cable Girls – 1920s Era Women with a Modern Twist

    Cable Girls 1920s Women with Modern Twist

    Las Chicas del Cable – four women in 1920s Madrid – Cloche hats, colorful flapper frocks and bobbed hair. What’s not to enjoy about the new Netflix produced... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Glamourdaze
  • BADASS Art Journal Page - All of Me....

    BADASS Journal Page Me....

    Embracing all parts of me and surrounded by miracles - Art Journal PageI found a couple of passports photos of myself recently and I was criticizing them becaus... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Realityarts
  • Dutch Apple Loaf

    Dutch Apple Loaf

    This Dutch Apple Loaf is my kind of cake, soft and moist,  and filled with juicy chunks of apple and pecan nuts.  For a lovely hint of sweetness I have... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Shadesofcinnamon
  • A Jumbo Passion Project

    The climber, facing away from the wall, gingerly peers over his toes to watch his sky-blue T-shirt flutter to the ground. He takes a deep breath, then turns in... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Thervproject
  • Top 3 Dim Sum Restaurants in Chinatown

    Restaurants Chinatown

    Chicago’s Chinatown is home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Sundays can be especially crowded in this area, usually around brunch, as dim sum, a... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Urbanmatter Chicago