Mrs. Thompson stood in front of her fifth grade class on the first day of school and told a lie, a big lie. As she welcomed the students, she said that she would treat them all the same. But that was not true because there was one student she would not treat the same – his name was Teddy Stoddard.
The school district hired Ms. Thompson the year before and she couldn’t help but notice Teddy last year. He was a known problem child with a lousy academic record. He didn’t play well with others; his clothes were a mess; he always looked like he needed a bath, and he had a bad attitude. Consequently, Mrs. Thompson delighted in marking Teddy’s papers with a broad red pen and placing big bold ‘X’s on all his wrong answers. She loved putting a large ‘F’ at the top of his papers so other students could see his grade when she handed them out.
School policy required that each teacher review the records of their students during the first week of December. Mrs. Thompson held Teddy’s file off until last. When she finally sat down to review his file, she was taken aback. Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child who does neat work and has excellent classroom manners. He is a joy to have in my class – I will miss him next year.”
His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an above average student who is well liked by his classmates. He has been having trouble lately because of his mother’s illness, and life at home has really been a struggle for him.”
His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s recent death has been very hard on Teddy. He tries hard to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life is negatively affecting him.”
Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a withdrawn child who doesn’t show much interest in school. He has few friends, often comes to class unprepared, and is frequently disruptive.”
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