Posted on September 23rd, 2010
Just found out that one of my Grade 2 students, whom I thought was a girl, is actually a boy.
And I’m wondering why I’m such a dummy, why I was so sure he was a girl. I mean, on the first day, I actually thought to myself, Wow, what a strange name for a girl! (It’s the same name as the basketball in Cast Away.) But I never wondered about it, I simply… thought he was a girl.
And he wears boy clothes. He has a high voice, but he’s in Grade 2 – they ALL have high voices. It could be the shaggy, collar-length hair, but that’s still a silly reason – LOTS of boys have long “girlie” hair, especially at my school. (In fact, at least four of the Junior boys are growing their hair long to donate it.) I guess I combined that hair with his un-boyish attentiveness… and when I say un-boyish, I don’t mean that some boys aren’t attentive keeners, they are. There’s just something in the quality of this child’s manner that is so unequivocally feminine that I never doubted my assumption – and apparently I can’t put my finger on it, even by blogging.
Now I’m questioning my whole perspective on people. What insidious stereotypes have led me to make this mistake? (Not that anyone knows about it but the classroom teacher who set me straight – I’m pretty sure I never vocalized my error in front of the class or anything.) What other wrong assumptions do I make on a daily basis about students I teach? I, who pride myself on remembering that all students are so much more than meets the eye! What a travesty.
To be honest, I’m not stressing about it that much… but it is a wake-up call to be reminded so forcefully that I can be as dense as anyone under the right circumstances. It’s good to be humbled every once in a while.