What makes our birthday so special to us? Is it the attention, the idea of feeling superior, the parties and celebrations or to some, does it just not really matter? You want and expect everyone to know it is your day and tell you “Happy Birthday”, but, just like Rachel would say; it is the same as any other day. Even though it marks a new year of being born, the emotions of the past can rise through your eyes. It is hard enough being a child. If it is not already worse that you are not taken seriously and easily taken advantage of. In school, students are not treated equally, especially in Mrs. Price’s class.
There is always that one classmate that is remembered as being the class pet in grade school. Maybe the teacher always called on that one student or always asked for their help. In “Eleven”, Sylvia Saldivar is that one class pet. As Sylvia makes it a joke to claim to ugly red sweater as Rachel’s, Rachel is left feeling humiliated. Mrs. Price then going along with it assuming it is Rachel’s, is creating a, “social hierarchies of value”, within Sylvia (Asma 94). In other words, Mrs. Price created favoritism. Favoritism is often overlooked by the staff in schools, but not missed by the students. Students are left feelings shadowed and unspoken, due to the teacher giving certain students more attention. In classrooms, favorite students should help one another, not create embarrassment and shame on another (Asma 94). That is significant because students should feel comfortable in class. As for Rachel, she felt humiliated and saddened. No one wants to feel that, especially on their birthday.
Often in classrooms during an issue, the teacher is always right. Which that makes it unfair and biased for the students. For instance, since Mrs. Price is the teacher, she is able to make decisions and they are right because she is the teacher. Even though Rachel is right, Mrs. Price has the power to decide the final judgment, despite what anyone else thinks or knows. Rachel mentions it by saying, “Because she’s older and the teacher, she’s right and I’m not. Not mine, not mine, not mine, but Mrs. Price is already turning to page thirty-two, and math problem number four”, and not only is Mrs. Price giving Rachel a sweater that is not hers, she did not spare Rachel’s feelings(Cisneros 7). The quote is significant because it is shining light on the type of culture the classroom has. Studies have shown that there is, “correlational and experimental research linking teacher behavior to student achievement” and due to that a positive attitude from the teacher is always important (Good 8). Teachers have their good days and bad days. Perhaps, it was Mrs. Price’s bad day, but only on Rachel’s eleventh birthday.
Everyone that is a part of the youth is taken advantage of. You get overruled, laughed at, stepped on (sometimes literally if in a large crowd) and is not fair. When young, the point can still be valid. When older, mistakes are made. Mrs. Price made a mistake and Rachel was right. The youth is given chances to prove that they can be mature, but they have moments when they go back to being three. Everyone goes back to being three. Being sad or crying in Rachel’s mind is meant to be, “three wants to come out my eyes” (Cisneros 8). Three is an age and a feeling to Rachel and everyone else; every age has its unique emotion. If you are eleven like Rachel, you are also, “ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one.” (Cisneros 6). Do you get angry like you are two, or sad like you are three? Of course, because so does everyone else and you are built off these emotions. This does not mean go make a kid feel three on their birthday because no one deserves that, make them feel twenty one.
Being eleven is not the hardest part of life, but it also is not the easiest. Do not forget it is too made up of being ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. On another note, do not be a teacher’s pet because no one likes a kiss up. Also, if the decision is to ever be a teacher, do not fall into having favoritism. Treat everyone like it is their birthday so that there is no sadness and embarrassment. Being young may be hard, but being older is much more difficult. Happy Birthday! Come on now, let’s not cry, you are not three.
“Eleven” Sandra Cisneros. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
Asma, Stephen T. Against Fairness. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2013. Print.
Brophy, Jere, and Thomas L. Good. TEACHER BEHAVIOR AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. East Lansing: Institute for Research on Teaching, 1984. Print