How did you come to be aware of your own gender? In the post, discuss what difference your understanding of your own identity/positionality might have for you as a becoming teacher.
I can easily recall the day I became more aware of my own gender. When I was in elementary school, guessing about grade one or two, I was outside during afternoon recess with my close group of “girlfriends” at the time. The girls began to talk about another one of our classmates negatively, so I removed myself from the situation and walked over to the group of my male classmates playing soccer across the playground. I was curious as to what they would say if I asked if I could play with them, but I decided not to worry and walked towards them anyways. When I reached the area where they were playing their game, I called over to my friend Jack and asked if I could play. The response I received from one of the males in the other class is something I will never forget. Jack answered, “yes, of course,” but then Ben said to Jack, “why are you letting her play? She’s a girl.” At that moment, I became agitated and wondered why I was being excluded from the game.
It took me a while to realize why I was excluded from the game, I then realized that it was because of my gender. It was all male students playing soccer, so they didn’t want to have a female involved in the game.
As I was doing the reading from this week, I found that I was able to relate my story to the statement from page 108 that states, “but what is emphasized between boys and girls varies.” I realized that sports were always something that was always emphasized with the male students I went to school with, but never the female students. It helped me understand why the boys were so uncomfortable with me joining their game as the only female player.
Another statement that I was able to relate to my story is the one from page 103 that says how the “water is difficult to see while we are swimming in it.” When Jack gave his response to Ben, I was quite upset at what he had said at the time. Now that I am older, I have learned that there may have been a reason for him to say what he had said. Maybe that is all he knew, or perhaps that is how he had been brought up? It may have been hard for him to realize that what he said was wrong because that is maybe all he knew.
In terms of what difference my own understanding of my own gender will be for me as a teacher, I now know that everyone has different experiences that allow them to understand their gender in different ways. It is important that I as an educator am accepting of all of my students and their learning experiences. Just because I learned about my gender one way, doesn’t mean that all my students are going to have the experience like I had. It is also crucial that my students know that I will always be a set of ears and a voice for them always.