I'm just, like, still figuring it out.

I videotaped myself teaching.
I watched it.

Oh my.

Within about 30 seconds of the footage, I couldn't stand how many times I had interjected the word LIKE.

I'm having feelings about this in two layers:

  1. At the thing: I notice and get annoyed when other people say like every other word but didn't notice that apparently I totally do that.

    I hate being a hypocrite more than I hate being an English teacher with a words problem.
  2. At myself: My annoyance with Like Overuse in the first place means I've fallen into the trap of being on the wrong side of policing women's voices.

And I was immediately reminded of Ann Friedman's piece from The Cut a couple of years ago: Can We Just Like Get Over The Way Women Talk? 

Read it.

It's freaky to realize how conditioned I've become to these norms:

The number of LIKEs peppered in my speech.
The number of JUSTs that appear in every email I've ever sent.
The exclamation point in almost every text message.

I'm just out here, seeing the problem and simultaneously perpetuating it.


For that teaching video, I needed to write up some context about the lesson.

It took multiple viewings to get past my vocal tics and see the substance of my work.

Beyond my stereotypically obnoxious linguistic patterns, the video also shows:

  • students engaged in conversations so rich that it takes a while to refocus their attention,
  • dozens of hands in the air eager to share ideas,
  • a board with hardly any space left to write tidbits of students' insights about what they've been learning, and
  • my inability to keep the lesson's timing on track because too many folks had commentary they wanted to share.

I have a lot to learn. 
About myself and my role and the space I take up in the world.

The ways I see all of that and what I do about it.

Illustrations by the amazingly talented Abernathy Bland

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