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Issue/Question:
I can't believe this, but my third grader is getting teased because she's good at math. She told me that she was going to pretend not to know the answers in class, because all of the girls are calling her a boy since "only boys are good at math." Should I talk to her teacher?

Suggested Response:

Making your daughter's teacher aware of what is happening in the classroom could prove helpful. One way the teacher might approach this situation is to integrate books, stories, news, and news articles about women scientists and mathematicians into the curriculum. Another strategy might be to talk with students in general about the history of women's liberation and encourage ongoing, generalized discussions about the similarities and differences among the abilities of boys and girls.

Your role as her parent is to encourage your daughter to be herself and to be proud of her accomplishments. Let her know that you believe strongly that the girls who are teasing her are wrong. Ask your daughter if she wants her teacher to intervene, although she may feel that intervention will make things worse. It would also be helpful to encourage your daughter to seek out friendships with girls who are not afraid of being good at math, science, or other school subjects traditionally dominated by boys.
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