Posts tagged teaching
Posts tagged teaching
My sociology professor said something interesting today:
He talked about how the education system weeds girls out of math and science fields, telling them “Oh, you’re so good at math. You should be a math teacher.” Never a…
That’s a good point, but it does still apply. There’s not a lot of imagination out there when it comes to career opportunities we tell children about. It’s true about there being that “be a teacher” thing for girls— and it actually has historical significance. Teaching was one of the first jobs made available to women. Think about it- Anne of Green Gables, Laura Wilder, ect. Teachers. It’s a very old fashioned (at this point) notion that if a girl is smart she should be a teacher, in any subject. Math and Science fields are especially strong with that suggestion right now because, ugh, as a society we are just terribly unimaginative and unopen to the idea of other possibilities.
I suppose the counter-movement to this is obvious: if you see a child excelling at anything… ask them what THEY think they want to do with it. If they want suggestions, give them a LIST. “You’re so good at this, you could do x,y, z and even q if you want to.”
(I also live in a bizarre-o other side of the mirror kind of town. I remember being told at a very young age that I should be considering going into engineering. I distinctly remember seven year old me looking very skeptical and saying “I’m going to be a writer and an Olympic Figure Skater.” So there you have it.)
I’m going to start off with a bulleted finding from a US Department of Commerce executive summary on women in the STEM fields to clear up any doubt right now:
Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation; they are more likely to work in education or healthcare.
The history of women in the profession is SO. DARN. INTERESTING. Originally, men used teaching as a professional stepping stone or in-between their “real work.” Then the Common Schools started, the precursor to public schools; men with better education were generally pulled to better-paying professions; and the sentiment sprang up that women could do this particular work for significantly less money and hey they’re women so wouldn’t it be only natural that they work with children anyway?
The quote I stumbled upon in this lovely PBS timelines sums it up perfectly, really:
“God seems to have made woman peculiarly suited to guide and develop the infant mind, and it seems…very poor policy to pay a man 20 or 22 dollars a month, for teaching children the ABCs, when a female could do the work more successfully at one third of the price.” — Littleton School Committee, Littleton, Massachusetts, 1849
So when we talk about there being a difference in the way or frequency with which women are suggested to teach as opposed to men, the difference is real, historical, and well-documented. It may be easier to deny it from certain perspectives, when one can chalk it up to a certain profession or has not experienced it with such frequency (sorry gents, I am in fact referring to you, no hard feelings).
The “feminisation” (inclusion of more women) of teaching has long been tied to lower social status for teachers and for women (historically, though I would argue that this is still an issue today considering certain blatant imbalances of power). If you want to ruffle someone’s feathers, you ask them if they’re going to teach — to many it implies either that what they’re pursuing is so useless that’s all there is to do with it, or that they’re not good enough at what they’re studying to do anything else. There’s a
Men DO end up in secondary and upper-level math and sciences teaching positions in higher numbers than women — but this should be taken with the same imbalanced numbers in most math and sciences professions across the board. I mean, come on folks, someone had to publish a study in 2012 — 2012 — that stated that boys are not born with a higher aptitude for math. We can look at numbers that tell us that women are actually beginning to dominate higher education in terms of sheer number, but if we look at a closer evaluation, you’ll find that they’re still underrepresented in STEM careers, including as teachers, for a whole host of reasons; this article breaks them down, and examines specific issues regarding the division in teaching (only for Higher Education, however; secondary data wasn’t available at the time).
So, I guess if it’s suggested that a gentleman should teach math or science instead of going into a STEM “career” they’re still one step above women, who face an implicit bias in these fields, period (noted in the above-linked article on page 28).
Most people, especially people in a country that operates on the ideals of (theoretical) equality, don’t want to believe that we still have such basic, historically-rooted issues with gender, let alone that these issues and ideas manifest in actual bias. If they don’t see them first-hand, it’s easy enough to attribute them to anything else. But this is something that happens. Knowledge is power, etc.
And in the end, I have to agree — the best option is to ask your students what THEY want to do, and, in addition, introduce them constantly to the wide and varied world of professions from which they can choose, all as important as the other, all equally valid.
Using this in my Genetics presentation tomorrow… Gotta love xkcd <3
I love when teachers use things like this in their presentations.
When I was doing a presentation to peers in college about the evolution of Ancient Egyptian religion, I used a clip from The Prince of Egypt, and when everyone stopped laughing at the fact that I’d used it there was little stress left over the potential complexity of the topic.
Who else uses comics or jokes or less-than-informative video clips to kick off a lesson?
When I become a high school English teacher, I will assign my students to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I do not care if its inappropriate or whatever. I heard worse things my freshman year than the things written in this book. At my…
You realize I’m only a 16 year old girl, yes? That this post was not at all serious. Thanks for ruining my self esteem, though.
I can only speak for myself here. I did not realize that, and if I came across as harsh I do apologize. But what I will say is that I love that you’re excited about the possibility of teaching, if that part was at all serious, and that if you’re that passionate about a book that speaks to students’ experiences I would definitely encourage something in the education field — but that the advice I gave still stands.
If you do become an English teacher, I would want you to spread that love of a book, the kind of enthusiasm that makes you write that post, joking or no.
It might also be noted that often, when someone gives a response on the #education tag, it isn’t just to that one person but to anyone who may have those same thoughts. So if somewhere there’s a teacher who sees your post and thinks, ‘Yes, this is exactly what I want to do,’ this would be advice to them also.
The intention was certainly not to damage your self-esteem. And I haven’t read this book yet, but honestly, with a post like yours, I feel like I ought to give it a try myself.
And I apologize if this did, and certainly hope that something like this didn’t, “ruin [your] self-esteem.” Maybe that was an exaggeration, it’s hard to read tone in text. But I promise you that somewhere along the line, if you do want to be a teacher, you will deal with many things that challenge your self-esteem and self-image — difficult students, difficult administrations, difficult parents, hard or long days, hurdles that some students will be able to jump and some may not be, clueless politicians, a critical public, many things that will make you feel like you have failed. But the fact that you even started this conversation is a good thing, and you are in fact “a girl who has a voice,” and should be proud of that, even if it brings constructive criticism.
When I become a high school English teacher, I will assign my students to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I do not care if its inappropriate or whatever. I heard worse things my freshman year than the things written in this book. At my high school, if you asked 10 students if they have ever drank or gotten high, 8/10 would say yes. So. It’s nothing that kids don’t know about. I won’t assign chapters, or a certain amount of pages you have to read. Either you read it, or you don’t. Simple.
How do you intend to pay for copies of the text if the school won’t fund them?
How will you tie it to an educational outcome?
For the kids who read it, what will be the reward? The reward can’t simply be, “But they read it.”
Our job as English teachers is to guide readers as they think deeply about a text, interpret it, use it as a springboard into something else. To hand a text to a child and not offer them a bridge to cross or a soundboard to bounce off is irresponsible, especially with a text like “Perks.”
How will you handle students who will react negatively because you handed them a book without giving them a trigger warning?
How will you handle students who will react positively in learning to cope with inner demons?
What guidance and services will you offer them? Will you make sure the school guidance counselor is on board?
Teaching the art of reading s is not as simple as “You either read it or you don’t.”
If that is your philosophy, then don’t become a teacher.
This is what recommended book lists are for, not assigned readings.
Assigned readings are to help students grow as readers, writers, students, and people.
Consider how much your students already need to read, for tests they’re constantly under pressure to do well on. Imagine being told you NEED to read something with absolutely no guidance on when or how much just to find that you’re not even necessarily using it in class?
In college, this is the kind of thing that automatically made me frustrated and lose respect for a professor.
Suggest this book to your students. Know them well enough to know who the book may be good for and who it might not be good for. Tell them about the contents so they’re prepared ahead of time — BECAUSE there may be issues they’re already dealing with in their own lives.
Required reading for no reason other than you like a book is a good way to make students dislike reading altogether, and potentially lose their trust in you as someone who’s supposed to guide them academically.
School starts in two days. I just found out I’m teaching Psych and Sociology in ADDITION to my other two classes.
SCHOOL STARTS IN TWO DAYS!! What in the hell am I going to do?
I’ve never taught ANY of the classes I’m about to teach. I am extremely stressed about this.
If ANYONE out there has ANY experience in psych or sociology, PLEASE help me out. I am desperate.
I took psych in high school, but remember little of it. I do remember studying key psych theories and watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Anyone else have suggestions?
I’ve got one foot in Education and one foot in Psych. I’m not familiar with the necessaries that you need to touch on, or whether there’s any pre-existing syllabi for the psych end, or whatnot. If there’s anything specific I can help you with, or you just need to talk about ideas in general, please message me — I’m currently unemployed and have plenty of time to help you out however I can help. I can also give you my email from there.
So, as might be visible in that last photo, I had my hair cut pretty short. My kids at the last program, when I told them I was going to cut it that short (they haven’t seen it yet), called it “boy hair.”
Today at my non-education-related job, at which I wear mostly men’s clothes because it’s easier to find the ones I need for the blue-collar work in men’s or unisex than women’s, I was called sir.
By three different people in three different locations.
So now I’m worried. I’m worried that if I go to a job interview in a pants suit it will be “obvious” who and what I am — or, that without seeing my name, I’ll be confusing. I’m worried that if I wear a skirt I’ll look like a gentleman in a skirt.
This isn’t something there’s really any answer to, and it’s just a moment of concern and that will pass. But it’s one I’m airing so that it WILL pass. And were it not something I thought would potentially affect my job search, it wouldn’t matter to me at all.
But there’s no TL;DR version, so if you want to ask specific questions and get the short version for those, that works too. My ask box seems to work most of the time.
I received the following in my e-mail today:
Hello PPT!My name is Matt and I’m currently a pre-service teacher in the Los Angeles area, hoping to go into high school science. I’m currently on a great track at a great university and receiving a lot of praise for my tutoring and teaching as an instructor for SI courses. However, there’s one issue that I’m trying to figure out and I’m not comfortable talking with my education professors about it: my homosexuality.While I’d love to be a good role model for the queer students and be able to talk about such issues openly (even if I am in science, where there’s less room for discussions of those topics), I also have to consider how parents would respond to such openness. I’ve only heard horror stories about how gay teachers are fired, harassed, etc. While I would definitely prefer to be more open about it as to be a good role model, the other side of the coin scares me. While I’m currently very passionate about getting my job and teaching, I’m worried the other side might be too much to handle.My question is what sort of experiences and/or do you have regarding these issues in the field? Is there any advice you could impart on how to deal with these circumstances?Thank you for any response! Feel free to post this publicly on your PPT blog to start discussion if you wish!-MattBefore I begin I need to give two things to the people reading this.One, I still have a horrible migraine, but felt this topic was very important and deserved a timely response.Two, I’m straight, and don’t pretend to represent the GLBT community in any way. I wouldn’t attempt to tell any racial minority how to handle injustices they face, so I am treading carefully on this topic out of respect. If I state anything incorrectly, or insensitively, please let me know.
PPT gives some very good advice here as a prelim of what to consider while you’re considering this issue. I’m just tossing my two cents in as an educator from the LGBTQ group. There’s a lot here because I’m just writing anything I can think of that might be helpful to know beforehand, and please, this goes for everyone, don’t hesitate to ask me more about it or about something I didn’t include.
I told my mother I was considering staying on another month, if I find no job to go to, with my current program — the summer ends a few days after my lease does, but I feel like it would be better for them to have someone familiar help lead them into the new school year, especially since much of my focus with them is on homework and tutoring during school months, than for me to leave and “let a chapter close” with the end of the summer programming. I came during the school year and instilled some good attitudes and habits, that’s how I want to go.
My mother asked, “What are you doing with your degree?”
She expressed that she is worried that I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.
She is concerned that I am “wasting the degree [I] worked so hard for.”
I told her that I don’t know what more she wants from me if no one hires me, that it was a short-term, potential, if-all-other-things-don’t-work-out decision — she is convinced that I am going to “work a part time job for the rest of [my] life.”
And I hate to admit it, but that attitude has been looming as I search and apply for jobs, as I try to make life decisions, and when I go into work every morning and come home every night.
It is not a good feeling, and I don’t know how to get rid of it.
I make much deeper connections with students at the middle school ages than I ever have with students at the early elementary ages. It isn’t that I don’t still have meaningful interactions with younger students, or that I put any less value on my relationships with them as a teacher, mentor, or whatever capacity in which I interact with them. But it seems like I’m more usefulto students at that particularly tumultuous age — I don’t know if I’m explaining this very well. Does it make any sense?
So this is good in that I might be able to redirect myself. There isn’t much better a time than when nothing is working in the elementary direction. I can work toward extending my certification to the middle grades.
But…there’s one big issue.
I LOVE ALL THE SUBJECTS. I’m just as ridiculously enthusiastic about creating stories as I am about experiments. There’s a slim chance of my ever picking favorites between maps and graphs. One of my favorite things about lesson-planning is making everything connect, building interdisciplinary units, showing students that things overlap.
…so…aside from having my own kids, what’s a rounded geek to do?