“A veces, las mejores lecciones no son planeadas”
On Thursday 8th March, I posted about An Open Letter on International Women’s Day. I was happy with how this turned out. But, it didn’t feel enough. I said we needed to do more. But, was I doing more?
I felt as though I should.
So, the first thing I did was created a thread. A thread of strong women. Women who may not know they are strong. But, they are. They were in no particular order and were only for the women I have on Twitter.
Are we doing enough?
I still didn’t think this was enough. There had to be more I could do. I’m only one person. I can’t change the world. But, I knew if I could just impact the lives of those around me that I would have made a difference. It’s not that difficult to make somebody’s day. Change the way somebody feels. Smile at them. Listen to them. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple tweet. It doesn’t cost you anything. Yet, to the recipient, it can make their day. Little things.
The love wasn’t all one way
I was touched by the number of people who shared the love with me on social media. To see my name amongst a list of strong women is incredible. To know that I inspire, or that I was thought of when highlighting strong women is honestly, an honour.
It got me thinking how I could do more.
How could I inspire? How could I use my position of power in a classroom? I am so lucky to work in a school that encourages freedom. Freedom to plan your own lessons how you want. I’m trusted to do my job. I had a little bit of time before my bus was due. To kill a bit of time, I headed to Dealz – mainly because I wanted some sweets, but I also knew their arts and crafts and their books section are good value for money. If I was finding inspiration anywhere, it was there. It’s truly a teachers’ dream. Or nightmare depending on how you look at it…
That’s where my lesson was born.
Possibly, one of the best lessons I have ever done. Probably, one of the most inspiring. Hopefully, one the children will remember. I found “man” and “woman” pack of 20 cutouts for €1.50 each. I almost just picked up the women outlines. Worried that the children wouldn’t understand the concept. These are all English as a Second Language students all under the age of 11, after all. But, I decided if I was doing it, I was doing it right. Today, we’re breaking stereotypes.
I picked up the outlines, some googly eyes and a ball of string. That was it. Those were my only resources. Simple, quick and easy.
What did they do?
I would introduce the topic gently to the younger children. Tell them they were drawing their favourite woman. Maybe, their mum, their grandmother or their sister. Someone who makes them happy. But, the woman must wear something purple. The woman must have a reason why she is happy. Maybe because she’s strong. Maybe because she’s brave. Maybe because she’s fearless. The kids were excited. The kids wanted to do their best. I put adjectives on the board and explained what they meant.
We practised clothes vocabulary. Nice and simple arts and crafts with a life lesson twist.
The older children it sparked more of a conversation. The normally quiet child in my classroom, raised her hand and said “Lauren, I know the reason purple!” and went on to explain about the women that wore purple when they protested for voting. Together, the class pieced together her story helping each other translate. From “made a fire” to “manifested and protested for the right to vote”. These children are eleven. Another child raised her hand and told me that some women earn less than men. I asked her if this was right. She said no. She wants igualdad. The kids want equality. They want to be treated equally.
Not one of these children picked up the ‘man’ outline and told me it wasn’t a woman. Instead, they wanted the woman wearing trousers. They told me their mum always wears trousers, never dresses. They wanted the one that they thought most matched their mum. These ideas are learnt. Children don’t see genders. Children just want to have fun and create. Don’t take that away from them. Let your little boy play with dolls. Let your little girl play with cars. They just want to have fun.
These are the adults of tomorrow. The future is looking bright, it’s looking positive. Education is key. Educate children that women are equal. Educate children to treat people with respect. Educate children that they are enough. Educate and empower children. It will be worth it.
There is still a long way to go. I’m making a start. Poco a poco.
I pledged that this Women’s Day, and every day thereafter, I will challenge stereotypes. I think I’m off to a good start. Days like Women’s Day (and men’s day!) are great. They raise awareness. But, we need to stand up every day. We need to carry it on. Challenge stereotypes.
How did you celebrate Women’s Day?