Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Lesson On Treating People

I am joining Janna at Mommy's Piggy Tales to record my youth. This is the 7th of 15 series, every Thurs, that I will be recording. These memories are from 5th grade or when I was 10.

The memory that sticks out the most to me during 5th grade was when we were in social studies class. Specifically civil liberties and racism. While talking about it my teacher mentions to the class that a specific student in out class has AIDS. He named him. The entire class turned and looked at him. Unsure of what to do next. Our teacher then starting asking questions about how we should behave and with in a few minutes class was over. I don't remember if another class was after that but I do remember the health class was before recess. And when recess came...so did the insults and complete humiliation that the students put on this poor boy. Everyone was gathered around him, some asking questions, others threatening him and a few that were pushing him around. I was in the midst as an on-looker. I remember feeling horrible for him, but yet at the same time feeling scared that I could get it too.
As recess ended we all headed inside, got to our desks. To all of our surprise, our teacher told us it was all a hoax!! This student did not have AIDS. He was trying to teach the class a lesson on treating people that are different than us, with respect and dignity. The student knew this was going to happen. I certainly changed my outlook on how I am to be treating people, even on just the thought level.

As a side note its funny how teachers could do things like that in the past, but today would that even be allowed? I think it would make the news and the teacher would be fired. The times they are a changing!

7 comments:

Dana said...

That IS interesting ... as I was reading it, I was thinking, I can't believe a kid in your fifth grade class had AIDS! But alas, he did not. I don't even think I had heard of AIDS by fifth grade ...

Fifth grade was one of my favorite grades ...

KellyW said...

Wow, what a valuable lesson! Yes, as a former teacher, I could see where this would NEVER be allowed nowadays. I hope those kids in your class learned a thing or two!

gianna said...

Wow! I hope that kid wasn't scarred. I hope I am teaching Maya to stand up for the less fortunate, too. I would have been EXACTLY like you in my thinking! I'm going to tell Chris about this and ask him what he thinks (for a teacher's perspective!)

Cameron said...

Wow I had 2 thoughts when I read this.
1 - I'm happy that kid didn't have AIDS & wasn't totally emotionally scarred. (I agree with the comment above.)
2 - I wonder how many kids this is true for - maybe not with AIDS specifically but any number of things that they are ridiculed for at school. Kids can be so mean. I really do worry about my daughter in school. I mean, things were rough when we were in school & now there's cyber-bullying & things like that. It's scary.

Berry Patch said...

I remember something we did that was vaguely similar in 6th grade. For similar reasons. Those with brown eyes worn wristbands and those with blue eyes (and green maybe?) were "superior" to the others. A very lasting impression.

Nikki said...

@Berry- Now that you mention it I remember doing the same thing in 4th grade. The brown eyed kids didn't get any privileges. Yes I remember it leaving a good impression.

@Cameron- it is very scary how much more bullying is intensified these days.

Mom2three said...

What an invaluable lesson taught that day! I wonder how many kids from your class remember that and how it impacted their lives?