Stubborn As An Ox

| Learning | March 20, 2017

(In elementary school, we are sorted into reading groups according to how well we can read. I am in the most advanced group with about four other students. One day, my group is given a worksheet on plurals of words. We’re supposed to work on it as a group.)

Classmate #1: *quietly* “[My Name], what’s this one?” *points to the word ‘ox’*

Me: “Oxen.”

(I’d played one of the Oregon Trail games before, so I’d run into the word already. The rest of the group trusts my answer, so everyone writes down ‘oxen.’ We finish the worksheet, and a day or two later it gets handed back. The only answer everyone got wrong was oxen.)

Me: “[Teacher]!” *the teacher walks over to my group* “Why’d you mark this wrong?”

Teacher: “Because it’s wrong. The plural of ox is ox.”

Me: *ten-year-old me is not happy with being told she’s wrong* “No, it’s oxen. It says so in Oregon Trail.”

Teacher: “Well, your game is wrong. The plural of ox is ox.”

Me: *pointing at the bookshelf where a dictionary is kept* “Nuh-uh! It’s oxen! You can check!”

(The teacher did check and changed our grades on the worksheet, but I was never offered an apology and there was a bit of tension between us for the rest of the year.)

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