Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Being Cool

I wrote this little (true) story as an example for my English students; it is a response to a question in our textbook that is meant to help students generate ideas: "Have you ever been embarrassed by a teacher or another student?"

When I was in the 8th grade, I was paying much attention to what my friends thought about me. I made good grades and was generally well behaved and cooperative, and I liked that image--but I also wanted very much to be thought of as "cool."

Our teacher, Mrs. Olive Schaefer, told us that we should watch a Hallmark-Hall-of-Fame kind of play on television one night; it was considered to be intellectually stimulating, and she wanted to see how we would like it. My friends and I were trying not to appear very interested in things like that, so we decided we would tell her we thought it was "stupid." I watched a few minutes of the play that night, but not nearly enough to even know what it was about.

The next day at school, Mrs. Schaefer asked what we thought of it, and several students said they hated it. Disappointed, she looked to me and asked, "What did you think?"

I wavered a few seconds. I knew that I should admit that I really didn't watch it. But all my friends were looking at me expectantly. I gathered up my courage and said, "I thought it was stupid."

Mrs. Schaefer looked at me for a moment and she saw right through me. She said, "Judy, I'm surprised at you." Then she went on with the next part of the lesson. I was mortified. I realized that in saying what I did, I told much more about myself than I meant to.

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