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. . . . .