I love my teaching job and I have been doing it since 1992, so I am pretty confident (without sounding obnoxious) that I know what I am doing and that I am a pretty good teacher, but every now and then a kid comes along and challenges me. Yesterday a little boy in my class asked me a question, that actually made me question(doubt) that what I am teaching my class is the right thing.
I have always tried to cultivate an atmosphere of gender equality in my classroom. I teach that girls can be engineers, pilots etc and boys can play with dolls and so on.(who knows they may make great dads one day) So imagine my surprise when a kid asks me something so trivial yet it makes me think twice.
Yesterday, just before outside time, I announced, like I always do: "Alright girls go put your message book in your bags, then go outside to play" Once all the girls have gone, I always let the boys do the same. Then just after my announcement one of the boys put his hand up and asked: "Teacher, why do you always let the girls go first?" .....stumped.....
I never really thought about it before, it was just the way I always did things. I looked at him, at a loss for words and suddenly thought; am I cultivating a sexist environment?
I turned to him and replied: "Well because it is the polite thing to do, by letting the ladies go first you are showing that you have good manners." He responded by saying; "Ok"
Now I know this may seem trivial and my answer was good enough, but it got me thinking. I have to be so careful of my actions as a teacher, what I do impacts these little lives so much ( I have always known this) but never questioned it before. I also don't want women to be seen as the weaker sex, but am merely teaching my class to respect women.
I have since then decided, that he has a valid point and that from now on, I will alternate, by allowing girls first one day then boys first the next. After all, I do try and teach equality as much as I can.