Monday, September 12, 2011

Speak Out With Your Geek Out

With my sewing machine in for repairs this week (I don't get it back until Friday afternoon, waaah!), it's pretty much the perfect time for Speak Out With Your Geek Out week. I can talk about geeky things without being distracted by *gasp* actually doing my geeky hobbies. As described on the SOWYGO website:
Take a stance against baiting nerd rage and stereotypes of geeks. Post about how much you love your geeky hobbies or vocation from Monday, September 12th, 2011 to Friday, September 16th on your blog, website, social media account or in a forum somewhere...Let's show the world why we're awesome and why there is nothing wrong with being a geek.
Let me just say that I really, really, really, really, really love how it is now so much more okay to be a geek than when I was growing up. Teh interwebs is an amazing thing, you know, what with being able to Google and Wikipedia anything, and Facebook nullifying high school reunions and all, but my favorite thing about it is how it brings together people who thought they were the only one into [fill in the blank with your particular interest/hobby]. I think of my elementary school years, and contrast it with this story, and it gives me warm fuzzies to know that the internet can foster things other than creepers, stalkers, spammers, and dwindling attention spans.

I've said before that I have a lot of very specific interests, and they're not always ones that other people understand. As a kid, my love for dinosaurs, Star Wars, and Legos didn't necessarily match up with my classmates' views on "suitable" interests for girls. As an adult, things are better, but there are still plenty of people in my life who are perplexed by or even contemptuous of my desire to sew my own clothes, dress up as various characters when it's not Halloween, and learn all about the Civil War. But that's okay, though, because I love being a geek. It's also totally worth it to be able to answer random questions when they happen to come up in normal conversation (like "What is a carpetbagger anyway?" albeit at the risk of sounding a little too much like young, know-it-all Hermione).
My idea, not his!
I must confess, too, that I love the feeling of breaking people's female stereotypes when they ask whether my husband got me into playing Dungeons and Dragons, and I get to tell them that no, I got him into it. 

Some cynical people think that teachers become teachers so that they can relive their high school glory days, or maybe get back at all the students that made their own school career miserable. That's probably slightly true, to some extent, for every teacher. Well, one of my favorite things about being a teacher is getting to foster an interest in learning (I know, how cliché), but especially in the kids who are on the fringe because the school, ironically enough, emphasizes sports over academics.

I know that as a nerdy kid, I truly appreciated the teachers who gave me a haven during recess/lunch and encouraged me to read as much as I could, instead of learning to throw a koosh ball or dribble a basketball. At my last school, which was seriously almost like a caricature in its obsession with football, I loved being able to pass on the favor and open my classroom during lunch to the geeky/nerdy kids who actually cared about learning and asking questions, or even just geekier entertainment like playing MTG and watching The Big Bang Theory.
Bacteria RPG, anyone?
It made me so happy when kids said that they knew my classroom was a safe place to play Pokemon cards, or that I was the teacher who would lend them a copy of Ender's Game, or that it was totally okay to use my board to map out a potential new app or RPG they wanted to develop. When I left the school to move to LA, these kids (also on the newspaper staff, of course) warmed my heart still further with their tribute.

I know these kids are going to go on to do great things in the fields of physics, chemistry, engineering, medicine, and music one day, and I'm thrilled that I had the privilege of playing just a small part in encouraging them and letting them know it's okay to be a geek.

1 comment:

  1. I love the fact that your leaving is in the same section as the world ending. :-)


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