A 6th Grade Lesson

On April 2, 2007, I presented a paper to the Chicago Literary Club on 5 lessons that I had learned in life (see post of August 16th for one).   Another occurred in 6th grade. 

One day between classes, I saw Tim H.  In a show of 6th grade bravado, I grabbed him and pushed him bodily into the girls’ bathroom.  And I held the door – chortling – while screams of girls and cries from Tim resounded down the hall.  What happened next occurred in a kind of slow motion though I’m sure it took place in a flash.  I felt a hand on my shoulder which spun me around.  Suddenly a bright light exploded on the side of my face.  My teacher, Mrs. S, had slapped me.  Hard.  “Don’t you ever do that again.”  Tim escaped.  I wobbled back to the classroom.   When I got home, my mother was there – arms akimbo.  She knew. . . .  Instead of hugging me and spitting about the mean teacher, my mother simply commented that she hoped I’d learned my lesson.  I had.

I learned a lesson.  It was epiphanal.  I learned that there were lines that were not to be crossed.  In today’s world, Mrs. S would’ve been summarily fired, the school system would have been sued by some money-grubbing plaintiff’s lawyer and there would’ve been nasty articles expressing outrage.   

I tend to think our educational system needs options for teaching lessons (even like this one) — without the consequence.  After all, who wins?   I sure did. . . . .

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