It's a universal truth that children are sponges for information, and it stands to reason that children will have big reactions to learning something they didn't know before.
But when this new teacher tried to use some old fashioned gendering to keep a boy from hitting a girl, he wasn't prepared for the pushback he got from his little students.
Reddit user "Furio-Soprano" is in his first year of teaching in his preschool classroom and claims to still be learning the ropes of teaching and how to talk to children in their age group.
When one of his students started hitting some of his peers, the teacher believed he was on the right track when he gave the student a time-out and told him not to hit other people.
But he proceeded to take it one step too far and specified the student shouldn't hit girls. When the student wanted to know why, that's where it all went downhill.
Bewildered during the preschoolers' nap time, the teacher shared his story on the "Dear Reddit, Today, I F**ked Up" sub-Reddit, looking for advice.
You can read the full story here:
"This actually happened today, typing this up on my lunch break while the kiddos are napping."
"Background: I am a male teacher that works at a preschool attached to a church. I am not religious."
"This morning, I saw one of my male students hit a girl. I pulled him aside and explained to him why he shouldn't hit anyone, but especially not girls because he's a boy."
"He asked, 'Why especially not girls? Does that mean I can hit boys and not get in trouble?'"
"Being that we are attached to a church, and because I honestly didn't have a better answer on hand, I thought it would be safe to reply: 'No, you need to always keep your hands to yourself but God made boys stronger than girls so we can protect them, not hurt them.'"
"Godd**mit, I was wrong. Big mistake."
"The little boy seemed to have an 'a-ha!' moment in his head, as the idea clicked in his mind. 'OK, I won't hit girls. I will be strong and protect them.' he says. After a few more minutes of time out, and apparently mulling over the mildly misogynistic thought I just inadvertently planted in his head, I allowed him to go back and play."
"Immediately, I knew I had f**ked up."
"'DID YOU KNOW THAT BOYS ARE STRONGER THAN GIRLS?!'"
"He's running around the room telling everyone with ears that boys are stronger than girls, quickly earning the ire of the girls in the class."
"Now, mind you, this is a stage of development where most of the girls in the class are actually bigger than the boys. The tallest of which immediately claps back at him, 'Nuh-uh! I'm bigger than all the boys in here, and I'm stronger too!'"
"He says 'It doesn't matter! Mr. Soprano just told me that God made boys stronger than girls so we can protect them. Right, Mr. Soprano?'"
"I literally facepalmed. I weakly tried to walk it back, saying, 'Well some girls ARE stronger than boys but we should really just all keep our hands--OH MY GOD!' I was interrupted by the girl screaming 'ATTTAAAAACK!!!' as she punched the boy square in the stomach, and all of the girls stanced up to fight all of the boys 1v1."
"It was madness! I could see seething hatred oozing from the eyes of the girls, they were bloodthirsty after their strength was questioned. One girl started pretending to use force lightning on a boy."
"I got them to settle down, and had talks with all of them about keeping our hands to ourselves and not hitting ANYONE regardless of gender. I still heard bickering under their breath of which sex was the strongest, but I at least ended the violence. Crisis averted."
"Anyhow, that's how (TL;DR) I mistakenly created a mini-misogynist and caused a feminist uprising in my preschool class by telling a boy that boys shouldn't hit girls because 'God made boys stronger'. Oof. Let's hope they forget it all happened completely after nap time."
Some Redditers joked about some of the aspects of the story, including everyone's favorite little girl who used the force against a boy in the class, but the resounding consensus was to keep gender out of the conversation, especially at this class's age.
"Just leave it at 'Don't hit people' nothing good comes from bringing gender into the situation. Boys shouldn't hit girls, girls shouldn't hit boys, boys shouldn't hit boys, girls shouldn't hit girls. Just don't hit people." - 13frodo
"Yeah I really dislike this whole story. Being legitimately equal would be just don't hit anyone. OP had to open his mouth and this lead to 'violence' in the classroom and people are applauding him for something he should be very ashamed of." - _T_Y_T_
"Made me uncomfortable too. Notice how the little boy thinking he's stronger makes him a misogynist but the girls thinking they are stronger makes them "feminist". Those words are not counterpoints, they mean completely different things... OP is teaching some confused lessons about gender rolls to these kids" - The_Rum_Pirate
While gender is important to discuss, there's certainly a time and a place for it.
Hopefully since this teacher claims to be in the learning stages of his teaching, he'll take this to heart and think about it the next time he's creating boundaries for his students.