Monday, April 13, 2009

Texas Teacher Teaches 4th Graders to Love AIG

From Gawker, a fourth grade teacher in Texas was discussing the AIG mess with her class.

Rebecca Chapman was teaching her kids about rapacious capitalism and its miscontents by getting them all mad about AIG's excesses, but then, as good teachers do, she turned the tables:

"What if you were an AIG employee?" she asked. Imagine if you had not been involved in the deals that ruined the company but were left to clean up the mess. What if you had to pay back money you felt you had earned? What if your family had received death threats?

One boy raised his hand.

"Can we write them and let them know that it's going to be okay?" asked the boy, who clearly doesn't have a 401(k).

And so they did.  Needless to say, the AIG folks were touched.

"There were more than a few moist eyes and tight throats," employee Patrick O'Neill wrote back to the class. "To have reached out to us in such a heartfelt way is really a testament to your individual and collective humanity."

Gerry Pasciucco, the current leader of AIG-FP, also wrote to say that the gesture had deeply touched his battered staff. He signed off with a simple message:

"Fourth graders rule!"

In a movie the world would now hug AIG and we'd all move forward as friends, but in the real world this just causes people to seethe in populist anger more. Where are the letters to the poors?

I’m all for teaching empathy, but this isn’t it.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I agree. I love that they did that, and touched someones life, but what else is that lesson also teaching? You know? What she's done, meaning to or not, is multilayered. Some of those layers just aren't so good.... I could get long winded about it so I think I'll spare you and pull some people in on this to vent my feelings.

    You and your excellent finds!