by Jeanne Sager
Have you peeked inside your kid's backpack lately? A Philadelphia mom got the shock of her life when she took a look-see inside her son's bag. Turns out the 14-year-old is reading the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, and you'll never guess who bought it for him.
His ninth grade teacher.
Think the educator crossed the line? Maybe not.
Philip Aidoo says he gave every kid in his ninth grade English class at Eastern University Academy Charter School the chance to name a book they'd like to read for an independent reading project. Then he went out and used his own money to purchase the novels for each kid.
Maya Ladson's 14-year-old was the only kid who got the E.L. James novel, but that's only because he chose it.
The teacher wasn't requiring kids to read the naughty novel -- he was just fulfilling their wishes.
As a mom, I can see why Ladson's upset. I really do. I don't eeeeeever want my daughter and nipple clamps and ... no, I can't even continue that thought. She's my DAUGHTER!
And yet, I can't fault the teacher here.
Hold up, before you get your fists-a-pumping, consider this: no one forced the 14-year-old to read about bondage and ben-wa balls. He chose it. Which means he was probably going to read it anyway.
The teacher just sped up the inevitable, and he actually got a kid to READ.
Isn't that what we want English teachers to do? Encourage our kids to read?
I remember distinctly which books I read in English class that I enjoyed, and which books were a struggle to get through. When our teacher provided us with a long list of novels and let us pick what appealed most to us, I dove right in. I was already an avid reader, and I ended up picking more books than was required (yes, I read extra ... for the fun of it).
When teachers dictated that we read certain tomes, on the other hand, even this avid reader trudged through them. I can still remember hiding Huck Finn in my social studies book, trying to furiously flip through the pages on the day of our big test because I'd procrastinated that long. Ironically, I LOVED Tom Sawyer ... when I read it on my own.
Would I want someone buying my daughter Fifty Shades without asking me? Probably not. Before asking a teenager to read the book for a piece here on The Stir, I checked with her mother out of respect for her authority.
And yet, I read naughty books as a kid, and I felt I had to hide them from my parents. I'm trying to raise my daughter in a more open manner, so she can read whatever she wants but knows she can come to me to talk about the content.
Just because I wouldn't want someone buying her a book like Fifty Shades doesn't mean they would be wrong to do so ... because it's my job to prepare her for what's inside!
What would you do if your kid's teacher bought Fifty Shades of Grey?
I would have a discussion with my kid about how to put it in context. I dont think that is too young to read about things. If they are curious, you should let them find out about it in good ways, not sneaky ways. That is right at the age of rebellion, if you say no and make it a big deal, you will regret it. I would talk to the teacher too, and check out motives.
May 3 at 11:52 AM
I guess English Class has changed since I went to school because I read A Clockwork Orange and The Canterbury Tales as Required Reading so 50 Shades of Grey wouldn't shock me for a 9th Grade English Class, I however would prefer to know about it, so I would definitely have a chat with the teacher.