Education Opinion

A learning experience, revisited

By Katie Hanifin — July 22, 2009 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As a little girl, spending time with my father was second to nothing – not even giant scoops of chocolate-laced ice cream or permission to stay up late with my three older sisters. This was the man who would take me to the park and teach me to play tennis, sing me my own special song while strumming his guitar, and captivate me with lengthy, animated stories using different voice-overs for each character.

So one day when he invited me to accompany him on a walk, I jumped at the opportunity to ride my training-wheel clad bike proudly next to the World’s Greatest Dad. Accommodated nicely on my generous banana seat, we headed for the parking lot of a local shop. With a driver’s appreciation of the open road I approached the empty lot excitedly, not knowing this was the beginning of my demise.

I guess I didn’t notice the purposeful way in which he gauged my balance as I rode, let alone the shiny steel tool in his back pocket. “Those training wheels will have to come off,” he said to my absolute horror. Looking back, I could have rode away, as far as those four wheels would take me (at least five blocks, where surely no one would find me until dark). But I was without proper provisions for wilderness survival; ultimately I didn’t really believe that the man to whom I had unfalteringly entrusted my safety and would actually go through with it.

I’m surprised that the subsequent fit I threw didn’t provide sufficient evidence that I was still too much of a baby to enter the high-speed, two-wheeled world. With a few disconcerting turns of the wrench, everything I knew about balance was gone. Now I was left with only the assurance of his right hand, clutching the back of the seat. I wasn’t naïve, though; I knew he’d only be able to hold on until I crashed into the nearest obstacle. Suddenly the wide-open space of this seemingly empty lot was a deathtrap-laden course – WHO put those excessively thorny bushes there? WHAT were they thinking? Are those pedestrians just walking by or did my whole family conspire to invite sneering on-lookers to this show?

As I started to wobble along on this trapeze act, I pleaded with this man to not let go. I offered him everything: good grades and a clean room for life, my helping of dessert for a week, WAIT! a month, I’d even learn to love Brussel Sprouts or grapefruit juice! (Not both, one has to maintain some limits.) I thought we had successfully negotiated a deal that involved no boyfriends until middle age when I realized he wasn’t even behind me anymore.

As my dad became smaller and smaller, I was overcome with exhilaration for this whole new independent adventure. In the absence of those small, rickety wheels I experienced the smoother, quieter ride of a luxury sedan. I was transformed; clearly born with a superior ability for evolutionary transition, I was already picturing my first wheel-y when those bushes suddenly became larger and larger. CRASH…DAAAADDDDDD!

My therapist has assured me that my father is just a practicing Behavioralist - this technique was trial by error and not parental negligence. My lawyer is still reviewing the case.

The opinions expressed in Teaching Generation Tech are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP