As the final Space Shuttle mission touched down last month, ending NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program, I wondered what would come next for women in aerospace. Without a clear, defined mission from NASA, I questioned where that leaves girls and young women who dream of becoming astronauts.
During one particularly frenetic transition in the classroom recently, Mila bounded up to me and asked, “Mrs. B, do you think I could be a writer someday?” Without blinking, I emphatically replied, “Absolutely, I can totally see you as a writer.” She smiled and skipped over to join her friends in line to go to recess. A few minutes later, as we were walking through the halls, I overheard her say excitedly to a friend, “Mrs. B thinks I can be a writer. She told me so.” She walked out for recess practically on air.
I distinctly remember watching the very first space shuttle blast off on April 12, 1981. I was 8 years old, and I watched it while eating breakfast before school. Awe-inspiring, everyone talked about it for days. I recall watching the astronauts board the shuttle that morning and wondering, “Where are the women astronauts?”
Consider the humble lunch as one of your most powerful teaching tools. From the first day of school, Ricky was one of my most difficult students. Defensive, angry, and sensitive, this 7-year-old was constantly putting up walls and “testing” the adults in charge to see if we would respond to his needs. With the lack of a guidance counselor or a full-time school psychologist in the school, I knew that I had to find a way to connect with him, or we were going to have a disastrous school year.
Ricky was a big ball of anger. In all fairness, he had plenty to be angry about. The first years of his life were pretty rough. Now, at age 7, home life was starting to normalize. But sometimes just getting through the day without throwing a chair was enough for him to handle, let alone any sort of academic rigor. He had a hard time seeing others’ points of view. He was definitely my most challenging student and constantly in need of my attention.