Saturday, October 10, 2020

Teacher Tom: "It's Not Fair"

Teacher Tom: "It's Not Fair"

"It's Not Fair"

In my early years as a teacher, I had an idea for teaching four and five-year-olds about fairness. I filled a small treasure box with a collection of plastic cut gems, the kind one often finds be-sparkling princess jewelry. I told the children it then gems were "special" and asked them to not touch as I showed the box around. I could see it appealed to the kids and many of them struggled with their self-control as the open box was passed under their noses. I then said, "I'm going to give one gem to every girl."

My idea was that the boys would object, which would then lead to a discussion about fairness. I was operating under the well-established (at the time) idea that young children are essentially selfish and selfless concepts like fairness were learned behavior. I felt pretty clever.

As I began doling out the gems one at a time to the girls, I noted the concerned looks on the faces of the boys, just as I was hoping, but then something unexpected happened. One of the girls refused her gem, saying, "That's not fair. The boys should get gems too." Then one of the girls who already had a gem in her fist handed it back to me saying, "Yeah, it's not fair. I don't want mine either." I even tried to plow forward with my little exercise, but the girls, as one, refused. Even more surprisingly, the boys sat silently until finally one of them said, softly, as if still not so sure, "It's not fair."

Not only had they blown up my plan, they had both rebelled CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: "It's Not Fair"