Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Forgive Me J.K. Rowling!

Yesterday, I had an instance of cognitive dissonance. In this context, this is, as I learned from my Psychology 101 class Freshman year, when you do something that you believe to be against your concept of yourself, against the beliefs you hold dear and it causes you psychological stress.

I confiscated a Harry Potter book.

In my defense, I didn't know thats what it was when I snatched it. The kid (Shine is his name. Seriously.) had it hidden under his text book while I was trying to teach. It even took me a while to confiscate it because I used to do exactly the same thing in school. I would read a book under a desk or something so the teacher wouldn't see. It caused a lot of embarrassing moments, but obviously not embarrassing enough for me to stop. Finally, my annoyance at this kid - who was one of my worst students, overrode my camaraderie with my fellow reader. I walked up behind him and snatched it.

I scolded him for reading in class, told him to do his work (all the while carefully keeping his page - I'm not that mean) and went to sit down. Only then did I notice that I was holding The Goblet of Fire in my hand. I stared at it for several seconds all the while screaming in my brain "What have I done?"

I already started with the rationalizations: I'm a teacher, he needs to be paying attention, he can read it any other time, etc. Has no effect. I still feel terrible. I tried to play it off. Pretended to read it out loud when clearly I had no idea (it was in Korean). They all laughed, even the kid I took it from so I guess it was okay... Still, I'm always going to check what I'm confiscating from now on to avoid this in the future.

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