October 7, 2011
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It’s Ada Lovelace Day and we are encouraged to write about women who were significant in getting us involved in Science and Technology.
I remember my Junior High Geometry teacher, Miss Mullens. She was very, very short, kind of shy, but very funny — a classic geek, really, now that I think of it (geek, of course, being a term of praise here, not a negative thing).
Junior High school geometry, for me, was mostly about learning to do proofs — classic Elements of Euclid stuff. This was in the heyday of the “new math” movement, and I think — although this is a long time ago — that they emphasized thought processes over rote memorization. And I loved doing proofs, getting them right. I know I got a “A+” in the class. It was a great encouragement to me. I must have had this class in grade 9, because I didn’t do well in Algebra (8th grade) until the teacher — Mr Perkins — called me out on my laziness. Mr Perkins actually had a paddle and used it on students (this was in the late 60s). Miss Mullens was too small for that of course — but I would have done anything for her; her praise was enough.
Alas, I doubt if she’ll read these words — perhaps, even, her name was Mullins, or Mullen. It’s been a long time. But she was a great teacher, and I remember her fondly.