Week 5 once again didn't see much deeply philosophical, except maybe for the discussion I had in a meeting about sexism on campus. As a faculty most of us are pretty good at avoiding sexism in the classroom. Boys might shout out answers more, but if they do, we make a point to call on girls more. We have equal numbers of boys and girls taking our AP Calculus course, and boys and girls are equally likely to hold positions of some influence (like student body president). But we can't avoid sexism in some forms because we inherit it from the wider society. Only girls are cheerleaders, for instance. Girls feel much more pressure to dress in the latest fashions. Some of the girls come to school dressed in what would have to be considered fairly provocative clothes.
Should we tell girls that they can't wear what they want? Is it morally objectionable for a girl to proud of the fact that she can get boys to turn their heads? How does it make the other girls feel—the ones who don't feel comfortable wearing clothes like that, or who have body types that might be ridiculed if they did? What about the boys who don't want to be called creeps and feel they have to avert their eyes when a girl dressed like that walks by? Is that really better than a construction worker's sexist whistles at adult women? Is it fair that male teachers feel less permission to hug or even touch the students than female teachers?
These kinds of questions are slowly being brought to the forefront after years of answering them essentially with "yep...tough question. yyyyyep. dunno. eeeeexcellent question. yyyyep."
In addtion, some of the students I thought would be more difficult are turning out to have more perseverance than I thought, and some of the ones I thought would be okay are turning out to be a pain. B+ girl got another B+. We'll see how that plays out.
The biggest lesson last week was learned by some of my younger students, who realized that, amazingly, doing your work in an organized manner with attention to detail makes it more likely to be right and makes it easier to check. Unfortunately, only some figured that out. I guess it will take a couple of lower-than-expected test scores before the rest do. I try to do them a favor by telling them this over and over (and...over, and over, and over and overoverover. and over), but so often they don't accept it until they experience it the hard way. Ah, youth.