Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Powers of Perception

Math class at the continuation high school. 2nd period.

A student asked me if he could turn on the radio. Because music mellows the group (I've seen it happen many times), I let him. I even let him select the station. When a girl complained because a song she hated came on, he changed the station.

Girl: "What station is this?"

Boy: "I don't know. Do I look like someone who likes this kind of music?"

Since I thought that a ridiculous statement, I followed up: "What would someone who likes this kind of music look like?"

The boy hemmed and hawed a bit. I pressed the question. The only description he could come up with was "normal". I asked if that meant that he was not "normal"? I then asked if you could tell what kind of music someone liked based on appearance.  

While I didn't go into full rant mode, I did get a little intense. Prejudice is based on the idea that we can pre-judge someone based solely on some random attribute. And can you really tell anything about someone just by looking at them?

I went on like that for a couple minutes. The boy admitted that I was probably right. Then to provide example, the boy indicated the boy sitting next to him. The first boy told me that he used to think that the second boy was gay solely because the second boy didn't talk much.

(This was the first time the second boy had heard this or at least that's how it appeared.)

After I asked what makes someone look gay, we dropped the subject. I think I got my point across. At least, I hope I did.

Later, the boy got ready to leave class. Others asked him what he was doing. He pointed out that the period was almost over. The others reminded him that we were on lock down.

Boy: "Since when have we been on lock down?"

Me: "Since the beginning of the period. Didn't you notice all the teachers rushing you into class?"

He hadn't.

On a separate note, Jane did graduate today. However, the lock down did hold her up for another hour.  


  1. Why were you on lock down?

    You're an excellent sub. Truly.

  2. That was a good way to get the point across. But...lock down? I hope you'll share this story, too. I also find it amusing that the student didn't realize it :)

  3. You got your point across!

    I'm curious why you were on lock down, too.

  4. As for the lockdown, I have no idea what happened. Afterwards, I went up to the office to ask, and the only answer I got was a shrug.

    This happens sometimes. The police will call up the school and ask them to go on lockdown. So, I assume something was happening off of school grounds, but close by enough that it could have impacted us.


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