When training to be a teacher 10 years ago, I was told emphatically that I should not tell students that I’m gay because it would give them “more ammunition”. Comments like this grossly underestimate our young people who, in my experience, are more open-minded and accepting than their parents and many of my former colleagues. Comments like this force teachers and school leaders to let down some of our most vulnerable students by not being a visible role model they can identify with. I believe teachers should lead by example and that’s why, as part of LGBT History Month in February 2017, I finally came out to over 1,000 students in assembly.
In August 2017, BBC Two aired a two-part series looking at the role of gender equality in Primary education, with much of the action taking place at Lanesend Primary School on the Isle of Wight. Here, IMS editor James Cain and programme star (and Lanesend leader of learning for Years 3 and 4) Graham Andre discuss how attitudes towards gender have changed at the school.
The only time black history is celebrated is in October. This connotes a separatism between stories in history, which creates an implicit understanding of ‘our’ history and ‘their’ history. I do not agree with treating the black experience as a separate entity. The black experience should be interweaved throughout the curriculum when possible.
I started at Dame Elizabeth Cadbury in 2010, in a brand new post as assistant headteacher, and immediately loved it. It’s a happy, vibrant school of, at the time, just over 600 pupils (we’ve since grown!), so has a real family feel. You get to know all the pupils by name, and they all get to know you. It was September and the sun was shining: the new academic year rolled ahead with all its possibility and hope. Crisp new books were opened, dates were written on boards, titles underlined. The children were happy, funny, eager to learn. Everything seemed great. There were the usual issues that crop up when you’re ‘getting your feet under the table’ in a new school, especially as a new senior leader, but all was grand.
‘Man Stuff’! Preconceived ideas of what men do and women generally don’t. Unfortunately, coding has found its way onto the list too… I’m going to start with the white elephant here. I’m a bloke. I like man stuff. I have a man drawer full of cluttered rubbish which may one day come in handy. My wife’s drawers however are borderline OCD. When I was younger I played rugby and went mountain biking which was all about taking risks and getting covered in dirt.
Standing in the street as a costumed Suffragette throwing reasoned arguments during a ‘Votes for Women’ dramatization, I remember encountering a curious mix of responses. A melting pot of confusion (understandably, it’s not often a Suffragette march passes you by in 2013), interest and awe, but also criticism; “What are you complaining about? Women have the vote! What a pointless protest.” Accurate as it may be that British women have the right to suffrage, annual events such as International Women’s Day continue to highlight that equality for women is still a very real issue that transcends political rights, cultures, religions and geographical borders, and will forever remain an invaluable part of modern education.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March each year. It is a global celebration of the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women. The theme for 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. Let’s make #IWD17 a day for our students and schools to reflect on the global progress made to challenge gender inequalities around the world. Use the virtual toolkit to focus discussions, reflections and activities.
Global creativity-events organisation WOW Talks are encouraging schools to get their female students involved with ‘WOW Talks // Women in Tech’. Taking place at London’s Royal Geographical Society on Tuesday 20th September, this free event will expose learners to some of the most exciting careers of the future by bringing together inspiring female tech entrepreneurs and trailblazers. The speakers will share their very personal stories of what inspired them to pursue a career in tech, how they got to where they are today, the challenges they faced on the way and their WOW (Words of Wisdom), all in seven minute sessions. As is standard for WOW Talks, there will also be entertaining live performances intertwined throughout.
This Friday, 15th January saw us celebrate the imminent Martin Luther King Day. Dr King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is genuine love, caring, and hope that means so much to me. It means that a man saw injustice for some and worked with everything he had to get justice for all. I feel Dr King’s words push me to be a better person and teacher, to work toward my dreams, to make my dreams real. I think some people see his words as a dream he had for only people of colour. I don’t see this. Dr King was a man of the people. He worked tirelessly so that others would be able to live by his selfless interpretation of United States’ Declaration of Independence.