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These Pros Were Happy to Give Up Their Saturday. We would love to make you happy on your day off too!

By | Professional Development, Straightlaced

eileen-and-trainees-webOn a beautiful sunny Saturday, forty professionals showed up to watch Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up and learn strategies for how to open up conversations about gender and sexuality with their students. They came from 10 counties and wore many different hats: foster care program coordinator, health education specialist, teacher and director of curriculum and culture, nurse practitioner, director of diversity and inclusion, social emotional counselor.  Some came to deepen their expertise; some had never had any professional development before about these topics and many had previously avoided addressing these sensitive issues with youth.

Immediately GroundSpark facilitators Serian Strauss and Eileen Glaser set the tone for the day. This was going to be a safe place to practice talking about tough issues.  Everyone would leave with a concrete action plans. And,  we were going to have fun!

trainee2-dancing-webFor six hours the group examined the messages that young people receive about how to act, think, look, love, and learn—depending on their gender and culture. Using the stories of the real high school students in Straightlaced, they then learned and shared ways to support the youth they work with who are going through the same kinds of things. They practiced how to handle difficult scenarios on the fly—like hearing homophobic language in the hallways or talking with colleagues who are uncomfortable with a transgender student. Finally each person brought all the resources and learning together by sketching out personal action plans that made sense for their workplace…not to mention a great Thai food buffet for lunch!

I showed up at the end to say hello and was heartened to see so many glowing faces.  As we handed out Straightlaced DVDs, curriculum guides, and movie posters to participants on their way out, they were effusive:

” I would love for any day of professional development to be even 50% as enriching as the conversations led today!”

” I so appreciated your care, inclusiveness and organization. You created a safe space that modeled a wonderful example for us as educators.”

“Now I have a structure for how I will start, as well as a deeper understanding of the race/gender expression issue.”

“Serian and Eileen did an amazing job facilitating a multi-layered, sometimes difficult topic.”

GroundSpark was able to provide this free training thanks to generous funding from the San Francisco Foundation. Now we are looking for opportunities to bring this kind of professional development program to other areas in the country. If you are connected to a funder or organization that could host this kind of professional development, please get in touch with our education program coordinator, Eileen Glaser, at eglaser@groundspark.org!












We would love to make you happy on your day off too!

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  • almost exactly the same thgins you just said, only you put it better than I did. (My arguments against affirmative action are in point #2, if you are curious about it.) So it’s a bit unexpected for me to suddenly find myself on the opposite side of this same argument. But I’ve thought about this a lot since then, and I guess I’ve come to realize that thgins are not as simple as I used to believe.??????? ??, ???????? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ? ?????? ??? ?????? — ????? ??????? ?? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ????????? ????????, ?? ? ????????????? ??????, ?? ? ?????????????. ?????????? ??, ??? ??????? ?? ?????? ????? ???? ??? ???? ????? ??????That sounds wonderful! So where did all these girls who were great at mathematics in school disappear to? Why are so many fewer women than men going into pure math, when there were so many girls in leading roles in math in school? I have a friend who is a math teacher in a private high school, who says the same thing – that a lot of his strongest students are girls, and not boys. So where do they all go? Why do they not go on to math, or physics, or computer science?More than half the students in the very math-intensive biostatistics classes that I take are women, and they are certainly not weaker than the men. So why are so many more women going into applied math than pure math?I have seen women graduate students say that they left mathematics because they didn’t feel welcome in the all-male department – they were looked down on, disrespected, didn’t feel like anybody was willing to listen to any problems they might be having that were different from the men’s problems. It’s easy to just dismiss those women as people who just couldn’t cut it, but when those same women then go on to do fine in other math-related fields, I feel like that’s a sign that there might be some kind of problem that should be addressed.The thing is, women *are* different from men. They might have different problems that the men in the majority might not have. If we insist that people not pay attention to our gender at all – if we pretend that women are just like men – then this is giving the people in the majority carte blanche not to have to worry about those problems. (Want a room where you can use a breast pump during the day without being disturbed? Well, now you are just being unreasonable! None of the *other* people in the department have this problem, so you must be imagining it! etc, etc.) And I think that this approach can be very harmful, and can result in the department losing people that might otherwise have been a great asset to the department.Affirmative action is almost certainly not the best way to solve this problem, but I feel like this *is* a large problem that should be addressed, and not just ignored and swept under the carpet. And it seems to me that a meeting specifically set up in such a way that women speakers can talk about the work that they do, with a panel that includes talking about issues women might face working in mostly-male math departments, could go a long way in making it clear that women *are* welcome in math, that people *do* care about their problems. And such a meeting could even help in beginning to figure out how to *solve* these problems.I’m sorry, I’m shutting up now. Sorry this comment is so long!

    Comment by Lee — December 11, 2015 @ 7:48 am

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