Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sub Notes: How Times Have Changed, Part II

Things have changed a lot in secondary schools in the past few years, and some of those changes are wonderful. Most amazing to me is the girls. They don’t have a clue what we went through. By the time I was twenty, I’d experienced several indecent exposures and had had someone try to lure me into his car. My mother acted like that was no big deal. Now, of course, it would have made headlines. Construction workers hooted and catcalled, and total strangers grabbed. The workplace was sometimes the worst; even as a young teacher, I once had a male teacher grab me going up the stairs, an older one tried to hold my hand like I was a child rather than a colleague, and even a principal once said something vaguely lewd.

We were teased if we were too pretty, too ugly, too girly, too boyish, too wimpy, too sporty, too fat or too thin. I used to notice how so many girls walked—crumpled over themselves with their arms crossed in front of their breasts, minimizing their girlness.

Now I’m awed by the way some of them walk like she-warriors, owning themselves, the room, and the world. They are unabashed and unafraid. They speak up and speak out. They can be feminine and powerful at the same time. Some can go way overboard without question, but the quiet confidence some of these girls exude is inspiring.

Sometimes as I stand outside the classroom door ostensibly doing hall duty, I see them striding by, and I think to myself, “You go girl.” I hope they go far.

Yep, times have changed. Just as they should.

Birthday Girl to her friend:  "That’s okay.  You don’t need to hug me.  I have ‘personal space’ issues."
Boy:  (nodding commiseratively) "A lot of us do."
~Conversation overheard among A.P. English students


  1. Tammy--This is too deep to leave it as just a post. Your observations would make a wonderful essay for a magazine.

    And once again, you made me look at something that I sometimes think of as a negative (the girls who let all their "girlness" hang way out) with "new" eyes.

  2. Today Nicole said to me confidently, "I'm going to be a firefighter girl." It wasn't even an option for my generation. I was with a group of women in their
    20's-40's yesterday, and I felt exactly about them as the way you describe the highschoolers: confident and in control. They come into their own so much sooner.

  3. You're right although I think there are still plenty of those shy, crumpled over girls. There are just so many things to deal with in middle/high school!

    Critter Alley

  4. I LOVE the depth of your observations. I can remember as a girl in grade school seeing all the attention the "pretty" girls got - especially when they "played dumb." I tried it, too, and it go laughs.
    But by high school, smart was cool - maybe b/c I was at an all-girl school. I am trying to raise my daughter to be proud of who and what she is - she already tells me about how two boys at school constantly tell her she "can't like blue" and "can't be good at sports, because that's for boys." GRRR - I want to know who is raising these narrow minded little boys!!

  5. I agree with Sioux - I'd love to have you expand on this and your last post. With so many negatives, your observations are a boost up. Our future is in the hands of these kids, and they'll handle it all just fine. Also, you nailed it with your description of how things used to be. I, too, have memories that would make you cringe---stuff that was considered "the norm." We've come a long way, baby!

  6. This is really an excellent post, Tammy and I enjoyed it very much.

    Kathy M.


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