Wrote this in response to the Women’s Creative Collective for Change writing prompt, “write about a misconception you had as a child”. I didn’t have a lot of misconceptions that I can remember–growing up with a sister who regularly told me I was adopted or that little gremlins with vacuum cleaners sucked up the plastic canisters at drive-through bank windows made me less than gullible.

*Also, I’m not disrespecting teachers or what they do at all. My parents are both educators, and I’ve taught kids myself; I know what a hard job it is, and I’ve been fortunate to have a few great teachers who really opened up my mind and taught me so much about the world, Henry the Eighth, and photosynthesis. That being said, I have also heard some truly dumb stuff inside of schools.

Lies I Heard from My Teachers

You can’t learn to read without doing all your phonics worksheets

Don’t color outside the lines

If you tell lies, your nose will grow (according to Pinocchio)

Good children sleep at naptime

All students must pledge allegiance to the flag

Candy ALWAYS inevitably rots your teeth

Egyptian pharaohs looked like white people–and they were all men

Don’t talk back

Shorts are not inappropriate wintertime wear, even in Louisiana

Standardized tests are important

In the annual Nutcracker production, fourth-grade girls must prance as gauzy-veiled “Arabian dancers”, and may not wear pants and join the boys’ Cossack leg-kicking

Persephone eventually fell in love with Hades (her rapist)

Don’t shout

Telophase comes before anaphase

No reading ahead of the rest of the class; no reading unauthorized books during class

Thomas Jefferson was a wonderful father (to his white children, maybe)

Ici on parle français

Words such as “fag”, “bitch”, and “dyke” are acceptable within school walls but not “bastard”, “abortion”, or “damn”

Don’t run in the halls

Stone Age women were only gatherers, men were hunters who provided mammoth meat

In this country, everyone is free to express himself

Calculus is useful in everyday life

The war in Iraq is justified and just, and bombing Baghdad is the only way to get rid of Saddam

This is a gun-free campus

This is a drug-free campus

Wearing an antiwar T-shirt to class qualifies as a disruption and not as free speech, so if you wear it again you’ll get suspension

Ronald Reagan was the best president this country has ever known

And he also ended communism

Don’t wear hats inside if you’re a boy, or sleeveless tops if you’re a girl

Unions are useless

The State of Louisiana is not racist

“Essays should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep things interesting”

Abstinence is the only effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs

Laissez-faire capitalism is the only effective economic system

There is no sexual imagery in Emily Dickinson’s poetry, and Walt Whitman wasn’t really gay

Neither was Willa Cather or Rosa Bonheur

Marijuana is always addictive, and only losers drink alcohol before they turn 21

Someday you’ll thank me for this

Don’t worry, everything will be fine