Lubbock County Chivalry Assignment Cancelled After Online Backlash
A teacher in Lubbock County trying to immerse her students in a lesson about medieval chivalry maaaaay have taken things just a tad too far.
KLBK-TV reports that a homework assignment at Shallowater High School was pulled after it was published to Facebook and drew backlash.
In the assignment, female students were issued 10 instructions on how to be demure and proper, and were asked to have an adult witness sign off on each successful attempt.
Ladies in class were instructed to dress in a feminine manner pleasing to men, lower their heads and curtsy when addressing men (respectfully and by title), never criticize a male, and (the one that really weirds me out) "walk behind men or walk daintily, as if their feet were bound".
KLBK reports that male students were given a similarly-themed assignment in which they were to "have manners toward the ladies and treat them politely in some situations".
The assignment was cancelled after complaints reached the school.
As an educator, and especially at a time when half or more of your class aren't in the classroom and have short attention spans, you've got to get creative with how you engage your students and keep them interested in the lesson, so I can see what the teacher may have been trying to do.
In medieval times, women, especially among nobility, were considered ornamental - to be seen, not heard. Men were also expected to behave certain ways toward women with the understanding that they were "prizes" to be won or bargaining chips for beneficial marriage arrangements.
So there's value in teaching your students about those roles, behaviors, and expectations so they can grasp how they influenced the literature and art of the time and just how much progress we've made on the human rights front (and how much work still needs to be done).
Still, it just strikes me as a little much to assign the females in class the task of "[bringing] in root beer, ginger ale or sparkling cider for the gentlemen in their class" and walking around as if their feet were bound. I could understand asking all students to try walking like that, then imagine having to do it every day. However, to assign it and expect the girls in class to get someone to approve of the way they do it is just a little creepy to me, as is asking high schools girls to dress in a manner pleasing to men. C'mon.
There have to be better ways of conveying the lesson.
Brandi Davis with the Dallas Morning News posted the assignment to Twitter, and it's interesting seeing some of the comments it's received. Some are defending the lesson by pointing out that the males in class were assigned chivalrous tasks as well. As you can see though, the male assignments basically boil down to "be extra polite".
Of course, we're talking about social media here, so there's plenty of outrage being directed at the teacher. For her part, Davis isn't bashing the teacher, and has instead praised her passion for reaching her students.
"Note: I have no doubt this teacher loves her students and was just trying to do something “fun” in a really weird time," Davis wrote. "She’s having to teach students with severe COVID fatigue, who are missing out on a lot of high school experiences. .. this was an interesting topic to try to make fun and an interesting approach in doing so. It was brought to my attention by concerned parents - not the other way around. With that said, we can all agree, she’s not doing her job for the money. She’s doing it because she’s passionate about helping her kids. Could any teachers suggest other interactive activities that may be fun? She’s an English teacher."
I'm inclined to believe this teacher intended to give her class a deeper understanding of the ways women were treated at a time when they were essentially considered property or mere objects of knightly devotion, but this wasn't the best route to take in my opinion.
What do you think? Did the assignment go too far? How would you react if your daughter was assigned these tasks for homework? Let us know in the comments.