A Thank You to Teachers

Dear Second Grade Teacher and Kindergarten Teacher,

Today you allowed my little girl to shine, and for that I am grateful. While she is a wild woman in situations where she feels comfortable, she has a lot of anxiety around school and specifically speaking in front of groups of people. Today you adjusted schedules and allowed her to walk down to her little brother’s kindergarten room and read to his class about a mouse who makes a mess in the kitchen.
Today was about more than just reading a story. You also helped her heart grow two sizes bigger, and while I appreciate the math problems and spelling words, it is the heart stuff I value the most. Because she’ll forget how to spell a word or what 9 x 8 is (who ever uses that one?), but she won’t forget the people who allowed her to do the things that made her feel brave and become bigger than her worries. That isn’t on any test and you won’t get the much deserved pay raises for it, but many times in life the best taught lessons cannot be quantified and because you are teachers I suspect you already know that.

So thank you, from the mom of a very proud second grade girl.

The post below has been shared over 1 million times this week and you’ve probably already seen it. But I wanted it to be a part of our community because it is just so, so good. If you’ve ever loved a teacher, if you’ve ever reached out to the lonely kid, or if you were the lonely kid, read this. And share it. Because this is the good stuff right here. This is what makes us better as people.

http://momastery.com/blog/2014/01/30/share-schools/ by Glennon Doyle Melton


Twelve Year Old Girl Schools Her Teacher With Horrible Assignment

Love this, sent in last night….SMART girl! Hopefully her answer makes her teacher rethink this ridiculous assignment!

“My daughter was asked whether she would like to be smart and ulgy, or pretty and dumb in a class assignment. After telling the teacher neither answer was correct, she wrote, ‘EVERYONE is pretty in their own way and SMART in their own way. Stupid and ulgy are words ignorant people use to try and put someone down so they can feel better. And if you have to give up all your smarts to find a companion, they don’t deserve to have you.'” –PPBB Community Member Breann Allin, about her 12yo daughter

Trouble With Gender in the Classroom

“I have a classroom related issue that you and your readers might be able to help me with. My daughter is in preschool and up to now has had girl and boy friends in class. Just this morning she told me the name of a friend that is a girl, but said, “but not the boys. I don’t like the boys. Neither does my teacher.” I’ve also noticed in the past couple weeks that when she plays “school” at home and she is the teacher, she scolds the boys for being noisy. There are other gender dividers in the classroom that make me uncomfortable as well (girls on one side of attendance chart, boys on the other, teachers are always complementing the girls on their clothes, etc.) We’ve tried so hard to not have gendered toys/colors/attitudes for her and her younger brother but I don’t know how to succinctly explain why it is important. Do you have advice? A good article I can share with the teacher?” -PPBB Community Member Victoria


My response:

Hi Victoria –
I’ll put this out on the page tomorrow to see what other advice people have, but your daughter is exhibiting all the behaviors research has shown us kids will pick up on in gendered classrooms. That classroom sounds highly gendered, by the way, so I think you are right to be concerned.

I think as far as what you tell your daughter – stick to easy concepts like boy and girls need to be friends so they know how to be buddies in school, at work, and as grown ups. You can start to teach her the idea that we judge people by the content of their character, not their skin color or religion or gender (to combat the “noisy, misbehaving boys” stereotype). Set up some playdates or park dates for her to enjoy the company of a boy friend (or cousin) one on one because when we reduce a stereotype down to an individual level we quickly see they are not always true.

Here are some links you might find helpful:
1. “When Teachers Highlight Gender, Students Pick Up Stereotypes”
2. “Letter To Teachers” Printable from Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies
3. “One Teacher’s Approach to Preventing Gender Bullying In The Classroom”
4. “How To Talk To Little Girls”

I would approach the teacher first by scheduling an appoint and have points written out or articles ready. I also recommend meeting face to face, this is a touchy subject that may not go well over phone or email. And I think that meeting is as simple as sharing the message you wrote to me and then presenting the articles about why gender should not be salient in the classroom.

I hope all of this helps, let me know how things go!