By Tee Schneider
Remember that time back in the 80’s when you taught us about global warming before it was a global crisis? And remember how we implemented that recycling program before anybody really knew what a blue box was for? Then there was all that time you spent doing relief work in developing countries but made sure we really got how the little things, (like taking the time to put the can in the blue bin), were just as important. I wish like hell we’d done better on that whole global warming front but I want you to know I still take the time to put the can in the blue bin. Mr. Bowen, teachers matter and you were never glazy.
I’ve been thinking about that time when you made a total pain of yourself for an entire semester. That semester you forced Karen and I to spend all that time in the writing lab because we couldn’t write. I’ve been thinking about how you hounded us and failed us and made us do it again and again. I’ve been thinking about that day you told us that university was going to be a real stretch if we didn’t pull up our socks. You did not care about our general lack of caring. You’ll be happy to know I got a decent education. I’ve written some stuff. I still write. Mr. Rex, teachers matter and you were never glazy.
That was an awesome field trip you took us on to Toronto that time. We saw Dream In High Park and then spent our free time, (usually reserved for the mall), sitting on your living room floor listening to Tracy Chapman. You didn’t mind hanging out with us. You came to our teen night club and taught us about dancing wildly with abandon. You directed us in that cool production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We had so much fun. You let us call you Anne. As it turns out, I’ve been an actor for 25 years and you wouldn’t believe the dance parties I throw with my kid. She’s two-and-a-half and you should see her moves. Anne Stirling, teachers matter and you were never glazy.
I was shocked when you put me on those teams. I’ve been told I run and catch like a girl. I’ll get back to that but the important part is you never cared. You just believed that everybody should have the opportunity to play. I went and I competed, I caught some balls and missed some, I ran the relay, I wasn’t the fastest but I wasn’t the slowest either. I wanted to be better. Remember how in that moment when it really counted I caught that ball one time? I couldn’t believe that happened. My eyes we’re closed but I caught it anyway. Funny story: I was a certified personal trainer back in my 30’s. I could squat a fair amount. I had decent pipes. My cardio was off the hook. Mr. Luther, teachers matter and you were never glazy.
Did I ever mention how excited I was to take that class you taught back in the 80’s? You taught that class called Introduction to Computer Programming. Before your class I had only ever seen one computer. My friend Angela’s Dad had one and we played Lemonade Stand on it one time. I was hooked. In your class we were going to learn to program in DOS- enough DOS to write our own simple game. Remember? I was SO EXCITED. I was so excited until I noticed your eyes glaze over when I tried to participate. I was so excited until I noticed you hanging out with all the boys at the back of the room. You were all pumped up about that game they were making. I was so excited until I noticed you blow by my station, look quickly at my crap and then sneak a peak down my top. I remember that. I got bored. I cheated on the final. I wish I was an engineer. Mr. Can’tevenrememberyourname, teachers matter. They STEM girls and that is no joke. STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. It’s a crisis. It’s’ technology’s girl problem. If you don’t know what I’m talking about check out Goodbye Feminism, Hello (STEM)inism!.
Earlier this month, Technology’s Man Problem, thanks to NYTimes.com’s Clair Cain Miller really got me to thinking. It’s a worth a read if you have some time but the long and short of it is that Elissa Shevinsky, Former CEO/Co-Founder at Glimpse Labs and more recently Pax Dickinson’s #LADYBOSS, (that is her title for real), had a bit of a light-bulb moment following the unveiling of an app called Titstare, (yes, you keep reading that right), during last year’s TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon.
What is Titstare? ‘Titstare is an app where you take photos of yourself staring at tits”. Oh yes, really.
#LADYBOSS claims the Titstare unveiling was,
the moment when she felt that she no longer belonged.
That’s what got me to thinking. I recognized that sentiment. I had my own Titstare moment back in high school. I wish I could say, that was a long time ago and things have changed and Ms. Shevinsky’s experience is an anomaly in this day and age. I really wish I could say that, but I can’t.
Have you been watching Mad Men? If you haven’t, you should be. I’m on season 1 right now, (yes, I’m behind), and I know it’s set a little before my time but I keep thinking I remember when the world felt like that; when men and women played into those “norms”. I grew up being told to suck in my gut and act ladylike. Nobody batted an eyelash. And then I realize something even ickier. I realize the familiarity I feel is because I still know so many Don Drapers, (ok not as handsome). I know Peggy Olsens, and Betty’s, and Joans, (oh Joannie…). I know so many Roger Sterlings and I do mean so many. But you know what’s worse? I think a lot of us are guilty of perpetuating the “norms” sometimes aren’t we? I mean boys will be boys and we ladies, we don’t want to seem too uptight amiright?
Speaking of boys being boys, you’ve heard of Codebabes.com right? No? It’s a doozie. Learn to code online and you get to see naked women as you pass the quizzes. Apparently watching women strip is motivational. That’s the party line anyway. Check out the brilliantly titled, Ugggghhhhhh, by Sarah Perez.
This is what I’m saying. Sometimes, it’s the little things and sometimes its the big things. Sometimes it’s Titstare, sometimes its that roll in your eye. Sometimes it’s being told that you run and catch like a girl, sometimes it’s Codebabes.com. Often it’s that glaze that comes over you. I sometimes think that glaze is even worse than that peek you sneak.
Teachers really, REALLY matter. The good ones? I think they care, they’re persistent and they share their time. They’re inclusive and they put everyone on the team. I think they don’t get glazy and they don’t perpetuate garbage. We could all stand to take a page out of that book, right? I mean for good or for bad, we all STEM girls, right?
You have GOT to check our The Words Every Woman Should Know, for more on the glazy factor among other insightful gems.
And this this THIS: AboutFeminism.Me
Have you had a Titstare moment? Several? Have you been the cause of one? I’d LOVE to hear about it so leave a comment or email *protected email*.
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