Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not so free range kids

Judith Warner has really hit her stride as a blogger at Domestic Disturbances.

Read her essay about how affluent parents teach their kids that rules are for the little people, Camp Codependence. I wonder if that is how they also pass on the philosophy that "taxes are for the little people"?

It reminds me of Oona's piece about the code "Never Complain, Never Explain" or Death of the gentleman's code.

It also reminds me of the time I sent home a student from Freshman Chemistry Lab for coming to class, late and stoned. He always ran a bit late. That day, he came in after the rest of the class had already measured out their ether and set up their Bunsen burners. He proceeded to rush through setup, spilling ether all over the bench. I rushed over to help him clean it up before it caught fire in a neighbors' Bunsen burner.

That's when I noticed the size of his pupils. I didn't go to Berkeley for nothing. I knew why his pupils were so huge and his hands were so unsteady; I wanted his dangerous ass out of my lab. I told him that he needed to put his stuff away and come back during a makeup session.

The next day, the laboratory coordinator called me in for a dressing down. His mother had called her to complain about my conduct. When I told the coordinator my reason, she said that I must have been mistaken. His mother was an educator and said that her son doesn't do drugs.

If I had been savvier, I would have marched him immediately down to another lab (or the laboratory coordinator's office) to corroborate my observation. It never occurred to me that my judgment would be questioned when he was so obviously stoned. This is another reason why I never wanted to go into teaching.

The NYT article:
Dear Parents: Please Relax, It’s Just Camp

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