Being that I am a 7th grade teacher I thought that reading Seventh Graders and Sexism by Lisa Espinosa would be a fitting idea. As I was reading, I was realizing that her struggles with her students are the same that I experience daily. The idea that not only do they struggle with gender roles here in the United States but the gender roles that they experience within their own cultures are sometimes far different. Boys everywhere are expected to grow up and be heads of households, be the moneymakers, and in some cultures they are the only “educated ones”. Girls on the other hand are taught to cook, clean, take care of the home and in some cultures they are to obey the man in their life (either a father or husband). While reading her article I felt that she and I are at a complete disadvantage. How are we supposed to teach them about sexism and about gender equality when their cultures are telling them otherwise?
One piece that struck home with me was when she discussed about why 7th graders should learn about sexism. I have been teaching 10 years, and I have experienced many situations that were good and some were horrendous. This year I had 2 girls accuse 2 boys of inappropriately touching them. Sadly both cases turned out that the girl was lying and each incident had its own story. However, Lisa Espinosa also experienced this and it made me fell like I wasn’t doing wrong by my kids, that someone else was “feeling it too”.
After hearing Tina talk about her lesson and reading this article I have begun the framework to incorporating the topic of gender and sexism in my curriculum. I plan on finding children’s books, articles and a novel (hopefully) to help drive the topic home. I will then have them do some type of persuasive piece. I know that this topic may ruffle some feathers, but it’s like the giant elephant in the room that no one wants to address. I’m grateful that I have the freedom to teach topics that will impact the students at Woonsocket Middle.