THere is a well known shortage of women in science and mathmatics careers in the United States that has hurt the innovation of our country. Some people are trying to help change these numbers with non profits like camps to teach girls how to do code. Others are creating products like Goldie Blox to encourage girls to learn how to use more motor and problem solving skills. I would like to see these continue but I have to get something off my chest first.
I found out recently a small bit of information my family thought was insignificant but because I am unemployed hit me a little harder. I found out that when I was in school in my small town, my test scores for math and science were very high. To the point that my mother asked why I wasn’t being put in a higher math class. She was told that while my test scores were good they wanted to see how I faired in class. So, instead of pushing me in to higher courses of study I remember getting more and more bored with math and science.
What makes me madder is that other students were pushed up to higher levels. I also noticed it was the girls who had parents that made more money than mine. I even had a math teacher that got bored one day and started teaching us calculus. I still remember what he taught even though I never qualified for any calculus class at my high school. It was one of the more interesting days I had at school. But I was still kept in low level math classes so I never got interested in it.
Knowing now that I DID qualify for those classes really makes me mad and frustrates me. I thought the adults in my school were looking out for me but they were just looking out for higher test scores so I could help their stupid little average. While I suffered in boredom not learning anything new for years and years. By the time I got to college I didn’t even attempt math because I had been put in low level classes at a low grade school so I thought it would take me all four years to get into a college level math course but now I know I would have placed relatively high. I feel like I gave up on dreams because everyone told me I was stupid.
It caused me to even have issues calculating chemicals in science classes. I had a teacher that got along with the jocks better so he didn’t have time to explain how to add them together in a way I understood. So, I even gave up on being a chemist because I couldn’t add basic molecules together correctly.
Did it Really change your life? REALLY?
So, what didn’t I become because I couldn’t take the math?
- ER Doctor
- Crime Scene Investigator
Yeah, I know I was a weird child but these are things I really thought about becoming but because of the requirements in math I didn’t think I could do it.
Decide for Yourself
When I finally realized that I wasn’t going to be a chemist I decided to take the biology track from our other science teacher. So, I learned how to dissect animals, anatomy, genetics and even wrote some lab reports with fruit flies. I loved every minute of it. Including working with animals that we were dissecting for weeks right before lunch. This is where the coroner idea came in because the smell didn’t get to me and I could still eat lunch unlike the rest of the class. I took every classes in available including honors courses which I had to fight for on occasions.
Fight for Your Girls
My mother did try to get me into higher classes but when they asked her to wait a year she just gave up on it. The school knew best but sometimes they don’t. Now, I wish she had fought harder but I know she had personal issues with the school so I don’t push it.
I encourage parents to ask their teachers, principals and even take it higher if you need to. If you see your childern with good test score or look bored teach them yourself. Get the math problems a year early, higher level books, watch Bill Nye for goodness sake. These things help me stay interested even when school failed me. Because math isn’t the only thing that didn’t work. I learned that science can still be interesting. Because if it can’t be a focus then it can be a wonderful hobby until the right teacher comes along.
Encourage the Girls
Don’t stop girls from playing with “boy’s toys”. Show them new ways to solve problems. Suggest new ideas. Buy a Goldie Blox please! Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Mythbusters. The shows you think are crazy but could be fun. Show them Science Fiction and kids science magazines. Keep your girls intrigued by the world around them and never hold them back because you fear they won’t succeed. You need to give them a chance to fly even if they fall out of the nest to start.