Perspective is very important, as I’ve been learning. With all the different students from different socioeconomic levels, cultures, and more, there’s something that half the class will be (unless it’s an all boys/girls school); half the class is female and half is male. Maybe I’m just stating the obvious, but it really makes a difference in how you teach. It’s important to note, as an aside, that along with race, you don’t want to be gender invisible. It’s another community with which we belong. It must be respected, but that isn’t to say that women and men aren’t each capable in their own right. Women mustn’t be ignored with regards to maths and sciences. But I, being male, must also understand how women see themselves. It’s an age old idea that men never ‘get’ women, that we can’t ever really understand, but I believe that false. Of course, I don’t know, but I can listen, be attentive and try to understand. It’s a time when students are developing so rapidly. We’re prepping them for their lives. They need to understand that gender can’t keep them down. That there are women scientists, famous, like Marie Curie, that have changed how we think about the world. But we’re still not a gender invisible world – it’s about opportunity, not outcome. We want to give everyone the chance to succeed, but it doesn’t mean that we treat everyone alike.
Girls will have to deal with their body image, boys will have to deal with their self image. I titled this ‘Gender and James Bond’ to give an open thought. Women have their heroes, men have theirs. James Bond is a prototypical male hero. Is he what it is boys want to emulate? Gender differences must be respected. But I still want to see the girls in my classroom want to be video game engineers, or the boys be elementary school teachers.