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Sweeping Away Any Teachable Moments Here

, , , , , | Learning | April 24, 2018

(I am around eight, and my cousin is about twelve. We go to a school that has adult supervision long before and after school in case parents need a babysitter; this is provided for free. We’re waiting on the playground after school. Out of boredom, we’ve been repeatedly leaning against the fence behind us and bouncing off it.)

Teacher: “Girls, that’s bad for the fence. Do you need me to find something for you to do?”

Cousin: “No.” *goes off and finds an activity*

Me: *thinking she means something fun* “Yes!”

Teacher: *disappointed* “Grab this broom and sweep bark chips off the pavement.”

(I’m dismayed that she’s giving me a punishment for boredom. Bark-chip duty is usually reserved for students who repeatedly cause trouble on the playground. After a minute or two…)

Teacher: “You don’t have to do that anymore, but I hope you learned your lesson to not talk back.”

(I legitimately did not understand what I’d done. I had zero grasp on sarcasm at the time, and even now I have a hard time with it. Plus, the concept of “talking back” made no sense to me. The punishment would have been a fair one if I had known what on earth I’d done wrong.)

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