Started Young

In sixth grade, a male teacher frequently asked me to wash his chalkboard before class, even though several boys usually arrived before me and were also sitting and waiting for our class to start. I could have dawdled or arranged to arrive with less time to spare, but instead I called him out. I stated point blank that I was happy to help out occasionally, but only if the boys were also taking a turn washing the board. The teacher blustered that he didn’t┬áthink I minded, and I just looked at him and said, “That’s really not the issue here,” and refused to let him sidetrack the conversation into one about my preferences instead of about how he was interacting with students. Suddenly, the boys were also being asked, and I learned that I had the power to change situations and challenge the status quo.