A Reflection on Women’s History Month
March 1, 2022
Women are often the pillars of their communities and families. This rings true for the women educators who build and maintain their schools. Whatever role a woman educator is involved in, whether in the classroom or administration and operations, she gives every part of herself to connecting with the hearts and minds of students.
There is great necessity in the effort women educators put into their jobs daily. We are poised at a watershed, opportune moment to combat previously embedded, gendered hierarchies, normalized by the superstructures that govern education. Though we cannot heal the ills of the past, we can certainly take steps to rebuild for the future.
Women teachers today are speaking up about the multiple burdens they take upon and are fighting for a safe, inclusive, and progressive environment for both teachers and students alike. The vision of a truly inclusive school is one where all students feel empowered and have the tools to speak up for themselves, confront bigotry, and gain an exemplary education.
I see this reflected in the women educators who take the time to account for student’s traumas in their pedagogy, the women educators who gently and firmly reiterate boundaries and respect for all students (incorporating gender and other identities), and the women educators who take the time to teach not only academic skills but also values of compassion and acceptance.
Within my own classroom, I too try to bestow such values and tools upon all my students, whereby they can hold crucial conversations with each other and learn and grow together. At times, such conversations might be difficult to handle, especially for women educators, who despite working in a field with plenty of other women, are still expected to normalize existing gendered hierarchies and the ways they manifest as insidious bigotries that permeate the environment. However, breaking the barrier of fear and leaping ahead is crucial to move forward, especially for women educators and the students they serve.
As such, I want to impress upon my fellow women educators, and educators as a whole, to take the time to appreciate the role of women in education, the sacrifices women educators make, and the toll of the labor women perform even in the realm of education to make these spaces safe, inclusive, and empowering. I would also like us to continue the task of confronting hierarchies, healing, restoring, and building structures whereby all students can flourish and blossom, and the women who build said structures can take pride in the legacy they leave behind.