When I was in college at the University of Connecticut, I couldn’t believe how many different classes were available. To be a full-time student you had to have at least 12 credits. I routinely took 19 to 21 credits, while working a job in the library, belonging to a frat (it was a co-ed service organization), and writing for the daily newspaper.
I took so many classes and did so many things because there was simply so much to learn.
Although it had nothing to do with my major (Pharmacy at the time) I took an Education class intended for future teachers. I learned how to create a learning plan, how to organize a classroom, and I was also exposed to my very first lesson on the effects of social inequality.
The professor showed us a test that was used for young children. It asked a question and the multiple-choice answers were pictures from which the student could use.
He pointed to one question in particular – What is a good thing to eat for dinner?
Among the choices were a dessert, a flower, a can, and a t-bone steak.
The answer was supposed to be steak.
The affluent kids who ate steak on a regular basis got the question correct and a point toward their score.
The poorer kids, some of whom had never even tasted steak, used their experience to answer the question. Dinner was canned vegetables or beans, whatever they could afford. To them the correct and obvious answer was the can.
Which was wrong and did not count toward their score.
I grew up in a very rich town. We often had steak for dinner at home and when I went to a restaurant with my parents I always ordered steak. I would have gotten the answer right.
That was a very clear ah-ha!-light-turning-on moment. I realized how unfair life was just because you were poor and how unjust treatment started at a very young age.
It was literally the first time I had been exposed to the damaging effects of social inequality.
I did not become a teacher, instead I became an Instructional Designer – one who designs, develops, and delivers training and I can honestly say that I haven’t worked on one training project without first thinking about this lesson and checking my work to see if I may have inserted an unintentional bias.
There is still so very much to learn.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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