Many years ago I was teaching in a special needs school. I had a rad class of about seven high functioning, 10 year old boys with behaviour management difficulties. They were an absolute scream but very hot tempered and within seconds the class room could dissolve into a full scale brawl with all seven them beating the ever loving crap out of each other.
Needless to say as their teacher, I spent a lot of time distracting the boys from each other so they wouldn’t fight. Whenever we played a game they’d all scream at me that they wanted to go first and would subsequently belt anyone who got in their way. So I invented a rule. Carly always gets to go first. After a few days of me always being the one who got to go first one of the boys politely asked.
‘Why do you always get to go first?‘
My response wasn’t amazing, but when you spend all day talking to pre-teens sometimes your brain goest to strange places. It literally fell out of my mouth before I even had time to think about it.
‘Because I’m the prettiest.‘
I was in a room of boys who thought ‘pretty’ was the worst thing you could be so they were all satisfied with my response and never mentioned it again. Later that week a kid from another school got transferred into my classroom. When we went to play Uno he jumped up and down and shouted ‘I want to go first! I want to go first!‘
One of the other boys stood up, thrust a pointed finger in the other kids face and said…
‘SIT DOWN! Carly ALWAYS gets to go first because SHE’S the prettiest!‘
I don’t think I’ve ever stifled a laugh that hard in my life. This kid was beautiful, staunchly protecting my honour because of this bizarre reason I gave him that he took straight to his heart. He didn’t even question it. It made me realise how easily influenced kids are and how important it is to teach them the right things.
It was still a pretty amazing moment though. Having this rat bag kid, with a crazy temper, get up in front of all his friends and shout at the top of his lungs that his teacher is the prettiest, without any prompting. I officially win at life.
What’s the best or worst thing you’ve taught a child to say?