"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment" -Ralph Waldo Emerson
25 November 2008
A cautionary tale...
Let this be a lesson to all who would make assumptions... about boys. And girls. And pink Hanna Montana pencils...
Today I subbed for a first grade teacher. It was me and the special ed teacher in the room. For a large portion of today there was a "discussion" between a boy and a girl about a pink Hanna Montana pencil. The girl insisted that the boy took it from her - that it was hers. He made no bones about the fact that he doesn't like her - "she is not my friend"... horrifying first-grade things like that...
Off and on throughout the day was the issue of this pencil. Boy says it is his. Girl says it is hers. Finally I take the pencil. In the back of my brain I think... "I will leave it for the teacher to talk with them tomorrow." And then I thought "what am I thinking?? I can't leave a busy teacher a note about a pink Hanna Montana Pencil! This is nonsense." So when the boy left I gave it to the girl. Told her to take it home and leave it at home.
A few minutes after the girl left (her bus was called) the boy returned to the room. With his sister. She said she gave the pencil to the boy. The other teacher thanked her and said that it had helped the boy get his work finished that day.
OMG. I felt absolutely HORRIBLE! How could I fix this?!? I totally owe this boy an apology. I told the teacher what had happened. She wasn't angry - she told me that the girl has done this before and that I had no way of knowing. I even told her that I had planned to leave it for the teacher with a note and then thought the better of that idea... she laughed.
I believed the girl not because I liked her more or think any less of the boy... I believed the girl because it was a pink Hanna Montana pencil. And maybe because I heard him being so wretched to her (knowing what I know now I see that he had a reason).
I screwed up. BIG. What is the message this boy received from all of this?? He is not trustworthy? Girls will be believed more than boys?
UGH!!!!! I fell for the oldest stereotype in the book and I am woefully embarrassed by it.