School can be hard at the best of times. Kids can be cruel, right?
When someone makes fun of you on the playground, it really can feel like the end of the world. When a kid is teased for something, they can feel like their whole world has come crashing down.
This is exactly how one elementary school kid felt when he was teased for his make-shift t-shirt design by a fellow student in his fourth-grade class.
And the hand-drawn t-shirt that he’d been ridiculed for? – it’s now become an official T-shirt for the University.
Here’s what happened…
…but unkind words hurt!
The fourth-grade pupil at Altamonte Elementary School in Florida was absolutely devastated when a fellow pupil mocked his hand-drawn t-shirt design.
Getting picked on for not having the right clothes in commonplace in school.
If there’s one thing that kids find easy to make fun of, it’s clothes.
The thing is, though, we all know that kids don’t have much choice in what they wear. When you’re teased for the clothes that your mom and dad have chosen for you, what options do you have? Other than walking around naked, you just have to get on with it.
… Just how cruel some of the kids in our class really were.
Well, in the case of this little terror, I’m sure that he’s well aware of what he’s doing when he knocks over his grandma’s mug of coffee!
With an elementary class typically consisting of anything between twenty to thirty students, it’s almost impossible for a teacher to catch every incident.
When watching out from the front of the class, a teacher can usually spot instances of bullying from within the classroom. A good teacher won’t stand for kids picking on one another and will strive to make it clear that they won’t tolerate any kind of bullying.
Monitoring what kids say to each other online is a much harder task to deal with. Kids as young as five are now in the possession of cell phones and even the ones without cells, probably have an iPad that they can communicate with their classmates on.
Keeping kids off their cellphones is one thing, getting them to engage is a whole different ball game. The attention span of kids is getting worse and worse. Teachers are constantly coming up with new ways to try to encourage students to become involved with what’s happening around them.
We’re no longer in the age of The Dead Poets Society…
It’s not as easy as telling kids that you believe in them anymore. Getting them to stand on their desks and recite some poetry just won’t cut it. The modern teacher has got to be much more inventive than that.
Laura Snyder teaches fourth-grade at Altamonte Elementary School in Florida.
To get her students excited about the prospect of going to university one day, she proposed that the class take part in a College Colors Day.
I know, they’re only in fourth-grade, right? But Miss Snyder thought that it might be fun for her pupils to come into school dressed in a way that represented their favorite college or university.
One boy decided to wear an outfit that represented his love for The University of Tennessee.
The pupil got creative with his T-shirt design…
According to Miss Snyder, who posted about what happened on her Facebook page, the boy was “SO EXCITED” to show her his T-shirt design.
She explained on her Facebook post that the little boy had been ridiculed by fellow pupils in his class for his hand-made T-shirt design. Snyder explained: “Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt.”
Season 2, episode 19, “Lisa’s Substitute” is one of my favorite Simpsons episodes ever – it’s a real classic.
Lisa gets a substitute teacher that inspires her more than any teacher she’s ever had. He makes her believe in herself and ignore the mean kids in her class.
“You are Lisa Simpson.”
Uhh, it still gets me every time.
And she wasn’t about to step aside and watch a boy in her class feel embarrassed about something that he had initially been proud of.
So what did she do?
Miss Snyder thought about buying the pupil an official University of Tennessee T-Shirt, but, after posting about the incident, she didn’t need to.
In the post, she expressed that she wanted to “make [giving him the UT T-shirt] a little extra special for him.”
By the next day, the post had been shared by thousands of people – including lots of University of Tennessee fans. It became clear that a lot of people were rooting for this young University of Tennessee fan.
The University itself caught hold of the story and endeavored to do something for the kid.
In a press conference, Delaney said: “I love the creativity that he showed there and it got back to us and got back to the football team, to campus here, to the Vol Shop.”
The athletics director announced that they would donate merchandise to the boy from across the campus.
“What’s he getting?”
When a Twitter user asked what the boy would be getting, the official twitter for Uni shop shed some light on some of the cool things they were planning to send to the boy and his class.
Explaining what happened on the day that all of the goodies arrived to the school, Miss Snyder told those following the story on Facebook: “I could tell his confidence grew today! Thank you to the UT Nation for that!”
Miss Snyder watched in amazement how excited her class was when the fan brought the box of goodies into the classroom to show his peers. She recalled that it “[united] my class even more than I could have imagined, and it was truly amazing to witness!”
That’s like at least three more “You are Lisa Simpsons” than what Lisa Simpson got!
It’ll be awkward if he ends up going to The University of Alabama…
I think that this T-shirt will describe this boy’s bedroom from now on… UT merch everywhere you look.
In the heartfelt note, the boy’s mom explains that she felt “overwhelmed by love for this extended community.”
It truly was a heartwarming story.
Oh no, the University of Tennessee had one more special surprise for their young fan. They decided to get his original T-shirt design made into official merchandise. How neat is that!
A worthy cause and a truly wonderful story. This boy’s experience is a fresh reminder for anyone getting bullied: it gets better.
If you want to read more heartwarming stories about elementary school, keep scrolling. Next up we’ve got the story of an autistic boy who’s no longer scared of going to school thanks to his friend who held his hand on the first day. It’s such a sweet story!