“Today was a really good day”, I said.
The girls leave our GWC classroom at 4pm, although we had for a while considered letting them leave earlier – a protest was scheduled at Daley Plaza, a half block away at 6pm. Accenture advised us that they were closing office services (mail room , etc.) at 3pm, because they expected people to arrive early for the protest. In our case, letting the students leave early would have meant calling all the parents to let them know, and once we found out about the protest, didn’t have enough time to do so. In a dire emergency, we’d have found a way.
My TAs and I stay until 4:30 and generally reflect back on the day and organize for the next day. It was during this time I uttered that phrase. And it was a really good day.
As always, the girls start the day at 9am journaling. Today’s prompt, as it always is when we expect a guest speaker, was to research their background and prepare questions. Our speaker today was Arin Reeves. More on her visit later.
At 9:30, we started out for our first field trip of the summer, to Groupon. We took the L and walked about 10 minutes to get there. Once inside, we were ushered up to a large conference room, where we joined 3 other GWC classes from around the city for a Q&A panel of women Groupon employees. Our girls stood out in so many ways. They asked the most and (instructor bias) most thoughtful questions. Afterward, they honored the panelist with our cheer. I could see they were hesitant, but they started rubbing their hands together “sssssss”, and looked in my direction as if to say “Is it OK to do this here?”, I gave my approval by rubbing my hands together, too. Then “3, 2, 1, Boom! Ooo! Ahh!”. The panelists smiled and laughed. The other GWC classes did, too, and then a murmur arose. I heard girls from other classes asking why they didn’t have class cheers. I suspect that there will be more classes with cheers by the end of next week. And why not? It’s SO much fun. There is a movement starting in our class to add onto ours, with some really neat suggestions. I’ll keep you posted.
Our girls were the ONLY ones to go up to the panelists, introduce themselves and ask further questions. And, get this, entirely unprompted, they got all their email addresses so they could write thank you notes when we got back. Yes!
We toured Groupon – the office space is really fun. They have swings set up for conversation (around a giant artificial tree), really fun names (voted on by employees) on their conference rooms, such as “Houston, we have a meeting”, “Moon landing sound stage”, “Not saying it’s aliens, but…” and the “Star Trek Wars” meditation room. Signs asking for people to do (or not do) things are written humorously, too. “A kitten dies every time this door is slammed. Please close it gently.” This means a lot there, because their mascot is a cat. I’d be up all night if I tried to describe everything I saw. We were a bit late for lunch getting back, so we started a bit late afterwards.
This morning we received the most thoughtful email from Chrissy, the Deputy Director of Instruction (who was in our class Wednesday), about speaking to the girls about recent violent national and world events. My favorite phrase in the email was, ‘While it is by no means a requirement that you have a discussion about this, we ask you to consider the pervasiveness and impact of recent events and the privilege inherent in “opting out.” ‘ So we had a discussion. There were no questions from the girls, but we made it clear that while we might not have answers, they should feel free to talk to any one of us should they feel the need, we’ll listen. We also told them how proud of them we were for their deportment at Groupon.
To re-enliven the group before our speaker came at 2, Courtney (aka “C-money”) lead an invigorating bonding activity. (An aside: Shanzeh is now aka “Zay-Zay”, I am, of course, Doc Och).
Arin Reeves is simply an excellent speaker, amazingly open (at the end of the talk, she prompted the girls to ask her anything about her personal life. One girl asked how she met her husband, which was a cute story. For her to tell, not me), who made us think differently about gender, and has the research to back it up.
Again, our students did us proud. Their questions were spot-on, thoughtful, topical and appropriate. They really impressed Arin, who asked when graduation was so she could come back.
After she left, the girls wrote their thank you notes and talked about everything they had seen and done today. After the frenzy of the day, the quiet after 4pm was welcome. We talked about the girls and how proud they made us. Today was a really good day.