What did this child learn about old people in 1979? What was the teacher aiming to achieve with a project on Old People? A 12-year-old’s cover page shows drawings of false teeth, walking stick and some comical old people—including one who is belting along at top speed. As for the words chosen for the cover page: deaf! sad! Happy 99th! weak! wrinkled! bald!
The Q&A test about old people shows a more balanced view emerging. Here’s a sample:
So far I’ve acquired three of the old people’s problems he mentions: problems with seeing, hearing, and winning Olympics. It’s nice that he also names these qualities of old people: experience, wisdom, and understanding.
This 12-year-old knew his four grandparents. He considered them kind and thoughtful, and worried about one grandmother who was badly afflicted by arthritis.
The writer is now in his 50s. Funny how that happens. Knowing my vested interest in old age, he passed his old schoolbook on to me. He is now a kind and thoughtful person himself. (He always was.) Also, very funny. (He always was.)
Have you got any such treasures stashed in a cupboard somewhere? So much has changed in the classroom. But the people in the classroom are still learning, thinking, playing by the rules where they must and stretching the rules when they can.