Wednesday, October 24, 2007

criminal tendencies in a second grader: the teacher weighs in

So yesterday I reported that eight year-old Iris Uber Alles had filled out a homework assignment in an irreverent manner. Specifically, when asked "Lin wants to buy a toy and has $3. The toy costs $2. What will Lin do?", Iris had written, "Lin will use the five finger discount." In what was perhaps not one of my more stellar moments of parental oversight, I found that hilarious and did not tell her to write a more serious answer.

Tonight Iris's concerned second grade teacher called. It turns out that the teacher did not know what "five finger discount" means. She asked her husband, who explained that it meant shoplifting. Rather than find this amusing, the teacher became alarmed that eight year-old Iris is a seasoned thief. She quickly picked up the phone to alert us to our child's criminal musings. (The Sober Husband reassured her that Iris Uber Alles is an irreverent but law-abiding child).

It's best that the Sober Husband fielded that call, as again my reaction was to laugh uncontrollably.

9 comments:

hughman said...

thank god my teachers never had my home number. (i'm a child of the sixties).

Alison said...

Heck, it's not as if Iris said "Lin *should* use the five-finger-discount." Sounds like the teacher is a trifle sheltered, frankly.

John said...

I think both approaches can work together. After a laugh, perhaps a mention that the homework was looking for a legal solution and some brainstorming about a more acceptable solution would have been a "better" approach. I am reminded of a time when I read the stories on the wall at the start of second grade about how some first graders spent their summer vacation. One boy had written about playing Grand Theft Auto all summer. Teachers learn quickly not to over estimate the parents :-)

Freewheel said...

Sometimes teachers just don't know creative problem-solving when they see it.

the Drunken Housewife said...

John, I hear you about over-estimating the parents. Iris spent her summer with 1 week staying at a rustic mountain cabin, 2 weeks at circus camp (a day camp), and the rest of the summer lazing around the house in her underwear, with her main goal to see if she could get through an entire day without getting dressed.

On the other hand, she read a lot... including starting a memoir from the Cultural Revolution which is frankly around a 5th or 6th grade level (it took 4 months to finish it, as she took breaks to read other things, but she did finish it).

Melissa said...

I think Iris's teacher needs to take a short sabbatical in another school to understand what criminal really is. She's waaaayyy too sheltered.

One does have to teach children self-censoring, however, with teachers--I have finally convinced my younger daughter that telling the teacher "that assignment really sucked" will not result in the teacher feeling motivated to better the next one, as the child firmly believed.

hughman said...

what kind of shop lifter actually says "five finger discount"? i agree, this is a case of a Sarah Lawrence private school teacher being a little too naive.

snowqueen said...

That's hilarious. It's always fascinated me how teachers feel they can be moral guardians but at the same time act quite unethically in their ability to pigeonhole children on the flimsiest of evidence

Trouble said...

Alas, I could not have kept a straight face, either.