What is Educationland?
Public education is a trip. It’s really as easy as that. I came into this world of education as most do, naïvely. My third week in college I get an email that has forever changed my life. I had a job offer from Girl Scouts offering me a position with up to eight hours a week at fifteen dollars an hours. My interest was peaked. So I sent my résumé (which is packed full of scouting experience) and then the phone call came and I had a job. Nothing in life is that perfect. There had to be a catch. Well, of course, there was. It turns out that Girl Scouts was not my employer but the school district was. I knew this could set me up for failure. School districts and I never really got along. In fifth grade I helped start a petition to get a substitute fired and in high school I went to school board meetings over policy in the school and made the paper. The school board and I have never really been friends.
I figured it was time for me to take a chance and leap into the rabbit-hole of education. As I’ve gotten further and further into Educationland I can say that it is a whole other world. The school must be hyper sensitive to parent’s requests and will do anything to avoid offending. . How do you explain female exploitation when you cannot talk about women being sold into prostitution or show the detriments of hip-hop’s attitude towards women if you aren’t even allowed to show the video that you refer to? This creates hoops for me to jump through that force me to have to choose between being a strong 10-foot tall teacher or the meek six-inch tall teenager that happens to teach.
Teaching middle schoolers is hard. There is no way to deny it. But what is even harder is trying to instill some kind of self-confidence and self love within these girls while conforming to the rules of public schools. Trying to show these young women that they are beautiful no matter their race, background, income, or the neighborhood, or showing them that even if their parents work a dead-end job they still have the ability to do anything that they want.
The choices that go into my lessons are hard and always a perilous balance. I can choose to teach something controversial that these women will remember for the rest of their life or I can bring a craft paper and we can cut out hearts and make Valentines.
These beautiful young women are missing major parts of their education that plays into them learning about the gender differences and disparities in society. No one warned me that I would be perceived as less competent because I am female. No one really ever hit the nail on the head when it came to what bullying is and how to stop it. No one ever told me that I’m not your mom or teacher so if you ever need anything you can talk to me.
This website is my way of imparting this “wisdom” that I feel is some of the most important things for young women to know. The school has blocked some of the things I’ve tried to say and paperwork has made some discussions impossible. At the end of the day the school is far happier to see me teaching the girls to sew then talk about how they are beautiful and deserve the chance to get anything they want.
The entire purpose of this website is to chronicle my, irreputedly, feminist thoughts on the things these young should be concerned about or things that we have talked about as a class fleshed out in depth with references and multi-media surrounding it. This website will go down the rabbit hole and chronicle what I find in Educationland.
For an easier read this is why I made this site in pictures.