introduction 9 I have no doubt that the ways in which teachers interact with girls and boys are connected to their own experiences of gender identity. For example, when I was starting out as a first-year teacher over thirty years ago, long before I began a psychological exploration of my self, I found that I was unsympathetic to little girls in my preschool class. In fact, I found that they got on my nerves! They always seemed preoccupied with silliness and prettiness, and I was often impatient with their stories and needs. On the other hand, I found myself more inclined to like the boys in my class. They seemed more interesting, and I certainly took them more seriously. I started psychotherapy when I was a young adult, and as I began exploring early emotional memories and experiences and unpacking the mystery of my childhood, I realized how complex the influences of the significant women in my life (mother, sisters, stepmother, and grand- mother) were on my development. Indeed, I began to make connections between how I perceived my own femininity and the girls in my class- room. As I look back, I now understand that at some level I have always been unsure of what it means to be a woman. I have been affected by my earliest relationships with the significant adults—both men and women—in my life, and, thus, my interactions with young children are often based on those influences. Gender identity is also tied up with a person’s sexuality and com- fort with intimacy in general. However, this is not the place or time for me to examine or share what effect my gender identity has had in my personal life and intimate relationships. But it is certainly appropriate to discuss how my professional behaviors are influenced. I must admit it is quite a challenge to unlearn some of the gender biases I acquired as a young child. For example, while I definitely welcome, accept, and rejoice in the fact that women can join any profession they choose, I often find myself in awe of women who become architects, astrologers, mathema- ticians, doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers, pilots, bus drivers, and construction workers, as well as those who serve in the military. If I had completely embraced gender equality in my heart and soul, I would not be in awe of those women. Rather, their occupations would seem natural to me. I would take them for granted, just as I do when men enter those professions. By the same token, I find myself appreciating men who become nurses or child care teachers, whereas it is unremarkable for me when women enter those professions. There- fore, I wonder whether I convey that ambiguity to young children in subtle, unconscious ways. For example, am I really comfortable with