Repeat after me: I am unstoppable.
That statement has power. Even just uttering the words makes me feel courageous, ready to take something head-on and tackle it with everything I’ve got. It’s passion and bravery and strength and endurance–everything we want to be.
So something this powerful should probably be taught in a classroom, right?
And it is–sort of. I’m proposing a question regarding this statement that may be hard to stomach, but needs an answer:
Do we limit girls?
Do we tell girls they’re not unstoppable? To not go after things? Watch this video to hear the powerful reality.
Now tell me: Do we limit girls?
If the answer is yes, then we need to change–not just for the sake of gender equity, but for the sake of our students, our daughters, our friends. We want empowered citizens, and that starts in the classroom.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but awareness is the first step in encouraging our girls to be bold and persistent, especially in the field of science. Here are just a couple tips:
- Give girls leadership roles as often as boys. Whether it be leading a group project, leading a presentation, or leading a lab activity, make sure girls and boys get to be leaders equally. The goal isn’t to get girls into MORE leadership than boys; it’s to make all our students feel like they have no limitations.
- Encourage nontraditional careers for girls and boys. Jessica wants to work for NASA? Go for it. Benjamin wants to be an early childhood educator? Go for it. Just because society says something is a “girls” job or “boys” job doesn’t mean we should perpetuate that stigma. Encourage students to pursue whatever it is they’re passionate about.
- Encourage girls to take upper-level math and science classes. Encourage boys to take upper-level English and history classes. Often, we tell girls that they aren’t as good at math and science, and tell boys they aren’t good at writing. But we should really be encouraging students wherever we see even an inkling of potential, which means if Samuel wants to write poetry, he absolutely should. Breaking gender stereotypes in classes is what will allow us to break gender stereotypes in the workforce.
- Have zero tolerance for teasing. If you hear anyone making fun of a girl or a boy for a decision they made regarding their class choice or extracurricular choice, stop it as soon as possible. Make the classroom a place where students can explore their interests freely, with no criticisms based on what society determines as “girls” and “boys” interests. Which means letting Mike try ballet and letting Brittany play fantasy football.
Repeat after me: we are unstoppable.
Boys, girls. Teachers, students. Moms, dads. Dancers, scientists. We are all unstoppable, and it’s about time that we told each other that. Encouraging equity in the classroom is a huge leap in the direction of erasing gender stereotypes, and it will impact life outside of the classroom, too. We want students who are dreamers, who grab their breakfast and head out for the day ready to take on the world. We want workers who are the same way.
We want students who are unstoppable.